Book Recommendations from Upper School Teachers

Skylar Boggs

By Skylar Boggs ‘18, Lifestyle Editor

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Christiansen, Mrs. Dunn, and Mr. Black, I have compiled a list of reading recommendations. Reading books for fun is not for everyone, but some people enjoy it, such as myself. Sometimes it can be hard to find a good book to read when you have some extra time on your hands.

Mr. Christiansen’s favorite book is “Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.” He provided a short summary of the book: “This book was an interesting read on the ideas of philosophy, the development of civilization and personal development.  It is written from the perspective of a nameless narrator who answers and add for a teacher seeking a pupil and the communication between these two are wide ranging and deep.” When asked what books he would recommend, Mr. Christiansen said Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan.  Mr. Christiansen explains, “This book, written by a former Google engineer who now holds the title of Jolly Good Fellow of Google (seriously, at least that is what it was a few weeks ago), examines how he incorporated mindfulness into the Google corporate culture and the benefits that he company saw.  It is both an exploration of one of the more fascinating corporate cultures and a guide book to personal development and self-care.” Another book he mentioned was The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. He described it as, “Simply put, one of the coolest books I have ever read.  Follow the adventures of Thursday Next as she works to rescue literary characters who have been kidnapped out of books before they are gone forever and the books implode.  The story is from a perspective I never expected and the playfulness of the characters and the intricacies of the story lines make it hard not to pick up the next book in the series Lost in a Good Book.  Note: after the fourth book, Something Rotten, the series goes downhill fast, so if you get addicted, like I did, just stop there.  Trust me on that one.”

Mrs. Dunn commented on the fact that her favorite book is A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.  She said it was a “Beautifully written account of a WWII bomber pilot’s life, before and long after the war. But a beautiful piece of meta-fiction, which you only discover at the end.” The two books that she recommended for students were One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad & All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Mrs. Dunn described One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway as an “account of the life of the man (and some of those he killed) who set off a bomb and then massacred 69 children on a political retreat.” She also described All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr to be about “the lives of a blind French girl and a reluctant Nazi [that] finally converge in the bombing of St. Malo, France at the end of WWII.”

Mr. Black explained that his favorite books are his recommendations. The four books he mentioned were Hardy Boys series, the original story Bambi (not the Disney version), The Lord of the Rings, and Walter Moers, The City of Dreaming Books. He commented on the fact that all four of these books have multiple factors in common making them his favorite books and recommendations. The things he said that they had in common were that “they are stories of hidden worlds—worlds that yield their secrets to those motivated by curiosity and sustained by the author’s powers of imagination and truth-telling.”

Mrs. Christiansen was clear on the fact that her favorite book is Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. She summarized it as “the life of a woman who is stolen from Africa to be a slave as a child and her goal of returning (I can’t say much more without spoilers).” Some of the books she recommended for the students were The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, & The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) by John Vaillant. She summarized The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot as “the story of a woman who dies of cervical cancer but the doctors find that her cells will keep dividing.  It also talks about what happens as her family finds out that her cells are kept in a lab alive.” She also described The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures) by John Vaillant as “the story of a tiger and his interactions with people in Siberia.  It also talks about the politics between Russia and China and how it affects the lives of the tigers in the area.”

Although many of you may not have heard of these books, just from the summaries that they have provided, even I am interested. I would recommend that you take some time to look into some of these books and even read them if you think you can.


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