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Murray Library Staff Offer Diverse Summer Reads

Madeline Crocenzi
Summer Director

Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. After packing up those textbooks, it’s tempting to take a few months off from reading. However, the staff at Murray Library has some great summer reading recommendations you don’t want to miss. From memoirs, to fiction, to graphic novels and comics, they have the perfect literary mix that guarantees something for everyone.

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Public Services Coordinator Lawrie Merz

Lawrie Merz 

Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home by Jessica Fechtor

“The author, Fechtor, suffers a brain aneurism as she’s about to begin working on her doctoral dissertation. She mixes that with her love of food. She talks about cooking and she gives recipes. It’s an easy read. It works and she does it really well. I would definitely recommend that one.” –Merz

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“It’s set in Nigeria during the Biafran War. Evie Telfer and I read it together this summer. I just gave it to a friend because it’s really good. It’s not easy, it’s hard, but it’s good.” –Merz

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

The Lemon Tree takes a look at the Palestine-Israel conflict. In 1967 a twenty-five year old Palestinian goes to Israel to see the house with the lemon tree behind it that he had to flee years before. At the house, he meets a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student whose family fled to Israel after the Holocaust. The two begin an unlikely friendship in the wake of war. The book’s blurb says it is “tender and insightful” and “brings the realities of the Palestine-Israel conflict down to a personal and profound level.”

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Work Study student Nathan Fleming

Nathan Fleming 

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose

Fleming says the book follows author Kevin Roose, a student at Brown University, as he decides to spend a semester undercover at Liberty University. “I liked it because it’s honest. I anticipated it being a roast of the conservative right wing branch of Christianity and it wasn’t. He made real friends. He was undercover, but he made real friends and after he was done with his experience at Liberty he told his friends that was what he was there for.” – Fleming

Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel by Gaile Parkin

Fleming says the main character is a woman named Angel who bakes cakes. The book discusses the different stories Angel hears from the members of her community. “It could be a Messiah College summer reading because it’s about reconciliation in Rwanda.” –Fleming

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Work Study student Courtney Skinner

Courtney Skinner

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith by Shane Hipps

“It’s about how technology influences our faith. I liked it because it talked about how technology affects how we communicate with one another a lot. It wasn’t talking about how technology was negative. It’s talking about how it’s a bigger resource to connect people.” – Skinner

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Serials Technician Sharon Berger

Sharon Berger

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vonn

Y: The Last Man is a graphic novel series. “It’s about a man who was on the phone with his fiancé when suddenly every male human and mammal on the planet dies at one time. What if you really were the last man on earth? What would that do to our entire culture? It’s really interesting. It’s a commentary about culture and religion and what society does when catastrophe hits. It’s a really good kind of fiction and adventure. It’s gritty. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s beautifully written.” – Berger


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 by Juan Diaz Canales and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido

“It’s fun. It’s a crime noir but the main characters are all animals. If you like noir, if you like that genre, I highly recommend it. The art is really amazing.” – Berger

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura

“It’s originally intended for a younger audience but I think it’s ageless. On one hand it’s not as serious as the others I recommended. It’s about a little girl who’s wrestling with the fact that her mother is very sick. She’s created this kind of fantasy world for herself as a protection. We get to see life through her eyes and these characters and monsters that she has to overcome both in fantasy world and in the real world. It’s beautiful and poignant.” – Berger

Berger also encourages students to visit the graphic novels room for more comics and graphic novels. “It’s constantly growing. We have comics from all different genres,” she says of the collection in Murray Library. “There is something for everyone in comics. It’s a really fun new way to read and experience literature if you haven’t picked up a comic book.”
If you haven’t read any of these great titles yet, you can find many of them at Murray Library or your local library. Also check back for more summer book recommendations by the Murray Library staff next month.

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