Stocking stuffers for book lovers
With the holidays upon us, we asked an interesting cross-section of Holy Ghost Prep faculty and staff members to name one book that people should buy for a friend or family member on their Christmas shopping list and to cite a short reason why that book would make the perfect gift.
Here are the stocking-stuffer ideas they had for the readers and book collectors in your life.
Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories, by Tobias Wolff
“This is a great collection of stories from one of my favorite authors. I use a number of them in my English classes. The students like his work.”
Gerri Carmine, dean of studies and math teacher
The Cicero Trilogy, by Robert Harris
“I highly recommend the Cicero trilogy by Robert Harris: Imperium, Lustrum, and Dictator. I just finished the third book (Dictator) and it was a great read, historical fiction that comes alive with contemporary themes.”
Steve Stunder ’98, director of counseling
Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom
“I know that this book usually ends up on most people’s ‘book bucket list,’ but as a teacher, seeing the value of what you can do for a student, and how one should look at their own life, and the lives of others, is always a great lesson. This book is also a very quick read, mostly because you cannot put it down. This is a great book of reflection, empathy, and self-understanding.”
Dr. John Scanlon '01, social studies and world languages teacher
The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
“On its own, The Colour of Magic earns high praise for its satiric romp through fantasy cliches. Even better, however, is the fact that this book is the first in Pratchett's award-winning Discworld series. What begins as a simple send-up of the genre becomes, over the span of his 40+ book corpus, a unique setting dynamically evolving alongside an ever-growing cast of unforgettable heroes and ne'er-do-wells.”
Dana Brown, coordinator of advancement services
A “One Story” subscription
“While not a single book, I recommend a “One Story” subscription. Check out the website, https://www.one-story.com, for more info, but basically, they send one story a month. Stand-alone literary fiction pieces that are previously unpublished. Some you'll like, some you won’t. But you get to hear from new authors, read many styles, and if you only have time for a short story, then it's a perfect fit. Plus it’s cheap!! $21/year.”
Tony Figliola, English teacher and forensics moderator
The Humans, by Stephan Karam
“Though it's best experienced performed by its brilliant cast, this Pulitzer Prize drama winner, set in a Chinatown apartment during Thanksgiving Dinner, depicts a Scranton family struggling to find what to be thankful for. The dialogue is side-splittingly funny but there are hurts that cut as deep as a sharp knife into a turkey carcass. The work is written by Stephan Karam, former forensic national champ from Scranton Central High School, and a friend of our team back then.”
Jim Stewart, religion teacher and director of athletics
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown
"You don't need to like anything about sports to enjoy this book. It's a story about pride in our country and the will to succeed."
Mark Whartenby, director of campus ministry and service
No Man is an Island, by Thomas Merton
"One of my favorite books that I have read a few times is No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton. It is a book of spiritual reflections that talk about our true nature and how we find happiness and live a life of value. I think there are a lot of ideas that one can reflect on and add to how they live."
Patrick McGhee ’03, English teacher
Marathon Man, by William Goldman
“Thomas Babington ‘Babe’ Levy, a Columbia Ph.D. student and marathon runner in training, leads a simple life, coping with his father’s suicide and his brother’s frequent absences from his life. Every other chapter, the story shifts to another character’s point of view, a spy named Scylla, who is in the middle of an espionage plot that he does not fully understand. The stories tie together when Babe’s brother shows up at his door mysteriously shot. Babe is pulled into Scylla’s world, running for his life rather than a marathon. Set in 1970’s New York City, this novel takes you through diamond smuggler deals, aging Nazi SS officer activity, and dentistry that will make nine out of 10 people cringe next time they see their DDS.”
Bill Doherty, director of communications
The Tender Bar, by J.R. Moehringer
“In this superbly written memoir, Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing in 2000, fondly recalls growing up without a father in Manhasset, Long Island, a hometown that he says was famous for producing a ‘disproportionate number of superb lacrosse players and a still-greater number of distended livers.’ Because his father left before he had spoken his first word, J.R. turned to the neighborhood bar—where his Uncle Charlie was a bartender and where all sorts of men gathered to tell their stories and forget their cares—in search of male role models.”