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December 7, 2001

Recommended Reads

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book II) by J.K. RowlingI read the first after all the neighbor kids read it, but just haven't had the time for a bit 'o more Potter fun.John Adams by David McColloughI've heard so much about this, I want to see what it's all about.Eleanor Lewis, Editor, Online NewsI usually read three or four books at a time poetry, nonfiction and fiction so I can't get them confused! My poetry workshop has decided to discuss the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy at our January meeting, so I'll be reading his Collected Poems, and I'll probably begin rereading Forms of Verse, a wonderful textbook on traditional verse by Baltimore poet Clarinda Harriss and Sara DeFord. I've wanted to read The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles for some time, so I think I'll read that as well. I'm also hoping to have time for The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood.Charlie Melichar, Director of Media RelationsI've been on an "old and new" kick recently. Over the Thanksgiving break I gave The Great Gatsby another read and picked up Motherless Brooklyn, a new take on the detective novel (the Mafia, Buddhism and Tourette's who could ask for more?) by Jonathan Lethem. I'll keep with the old and new theme over the winter break by reading Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Emergence, a book about "swarm logic" by Feed magazine founder Steven Johnson.Chip Rose, Assistant Director of Media RelationsTo compensate for my customary total lethargy during the holidays, I will be doing a lot of vicarious living dangerously through some action-packed reading this season. Although my body will be snoozing by the fire with a belly full of eggnog, my mind will be risking life and limb at every turn.Fire by Sebastian JungerThe author of The Perfect Storm takes readers on a travelogue through some of the most dangerous places and professions on Earth. From the hellish battlegrounds of Kosovo and Afghanistan to the frontlines of the worst wild fires in U.S. history to a tiny Caribbean island where the last living harpoonist still hunts whales with his bare hands, Junger delivers the goods in globe-hopping essays. This book got some bad reviews but my theory is that those critics, who will remain nameless here, were simply not man enough to handle this modern-day journey in the tough tradition of Orwell's war correspondence and Hemingway's travels.War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars edited by Andrew CarrollAfter September 11, this haunting and hard-hitting collection of letters from American vets from the Civil War up to the Persian Gulf is made even more relevant. My grandfather worked as a hospital ship medic in World War II, treating GI's wounded on the bloody sands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Through this remarkable collection, many of them stunningly insightful, touching and well-written, I hope to better understand his experiences. If you haven't already seen it, don't miss the companion documentary film produced by PBS -- but be sure to have plenty of Kleenex on hand.Band of Brothers by Stephen AmbroseThis is the sole reason I have HBO (OK, "The Sopranos" too.) This is #1 on my Christmas list. I can't wait to learn more about the stories told so well in HBO's epic miniseries about the men of Easy Company, true American heroes of the Great War. There is a reason this is the top selling paperback in the country now that it's finally back in print. Anyone searching for the perfect gift for the man in their life, look no further.Killing Pablo by Mark BowdenMy favorite contemporary writer returns with another slice of intrigue and danger, this time a riveting chronicle of the international manhunt for cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Bowden also wrote the magnificent Black Hawk Down, the true story of the 1993 firefight between U.S Delta Force and Army Ranger troops and forces loyal to Somali warlords in the streets of Mogadishu. Bowden's account of the battle, the bloodiest for U.S. armed forces since Vietnam, has been described as the most accurate and visceral depiction of combat ever written. Don't miss the movie of Black Hawk Down directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator) coming to theaters in January.Have a favorite book (or CD, movie, website, etc.) you'd like to share? EmailInsights@umbc.edu. Please include a digital photo of yourself if available.

Posted by dwinds1 at December 7, 2001 12:00 AM