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What Book Are You Reading This Summer?

By Charlene Lattea, WVU Online | Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Business Administration Degrees: A Brief Overview

Summer reading is special, whether you’re doing it at the beach, by the pool, in bed at night under the covers, or while lounging in your backyard. Summer days are longer and slower, and maybe you have some time off to get interested in a really good book, or to catch up on readings for a class or that research project you are working on.

Summer reading gives you not only pleasure, but adventure, discovery, laughter, and a special insight into the lives of other people and what they are thinking.

Looking for something to read this summer? We asked our WVU Online faculty what they were reading and got some very interesting responses. Here are some of the books they are picking up this summer, and a little bit about why you might decide to pick one up as well.

Doug Barkey with his family at a summer wedding.

Doug Barkey
Teaching Assistant Professor
Coordinator of Game Design
College of Creative Arts

I am reading Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard, because I am interested in learning more about the author’s premise and research findings that trees communicate with each other through an underground network of fungi.

Photo: We asked Doug for a “summery” photo and he provided this one with his family. What could be more summery than a summer wedding?

Aimee Morewood standing in front of a white brick wall.

Aimee Morewood
Professor of Literacy Education
College of Applied Human Sciences

This summer I plan to read, Building Vocabulary with Greek and Latin Roots by Timothy Rasinski, Nancy Padak, Rick M. Newton, and Evangeline Newton. This text is one I will be using with some West Virginia high school English teachers later this summer and I’m excited to read it and work with these teachers as they continue to learn and grow as professionals in the area of reading and writing instruction.

I also plan to use the information from this text and working alongside these teachers to continue to provide rich examples for the candidates in the Literacy Education program. Working with practicing teachers is one of the best parts of my job and seeing them in my M.A. with Reading Specialist courses or working with them through different professional development opportunities always sparks my professional interests and keeps me learning from those in the field!

Photo: We were unable to use the photo of Aimee in sunglasses that she provided, but this one looks summery too!

Brad Price with his kids.

Brad Price
Associate Professor, Business Data Analytics
Department of Management Information Systems
John Chambers College of Business and Economics

Right now, I’m reading Help the Helper by Kevin Pritchard and John Eliot. It was recommended to me by a friend who leads an organization that works with and recruits college students every day. He said he found some of the things they discuss very useful, so I wanted to make sure I spent some time with it this year. I typically like getting ideas about how organizations run and also how to better support people to grow in what they do.

I’m also reading Introduction to Statistical Learning with Applications in Python, which is a new version of a book I use in all my courses that I’m really excited to integrate on top of the existing books I have.

Photo: Brad’s kids picked this summery picture!

Alison Dagen holding books on her porch, along with sun block.

Alison Swan Dagen
Assistant Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs
Professor of Literacy Education
College of Applied Human Sciences

Education is my field, and as a learner, I always select summer reads to expand my professional knowledge. The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession, by Alexandra Robbins, is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding what teaching looks like, post-Covid and amid a national teacher shortage.

This book, a well-written ethnography, is told chronologically while following the experiences of an elementary, secondary, and special education teacher. It provides a front-row seat to schools and teaching and is an excellent read for those in education who are working to improve the conditions, as well as those outside of education who need to understand how challenging teaching can be.

I’m also reading Faithfull: An Autobiography, by Marianne Faithfull with David Dalton. Each summer, I read at least two or three biographies or autobiographies on musicians or the music industry. These are always part of my summer reading for enjoyment. I love listening to almost all genres of music, and as much as I enjoy the sound of the songs, I appreciate learning the stories behind the music –the artist’s motivation for a song. Maryanne Faithfull is a female rock legend, and this autobiography shines a spotlight on her life and her music. It’s a must-read!

Photo: Alison took a break from her reading to show us her summer essentials – books, sunglasses, and sunblock!

France Weaver smiling with her husband in NYC.

France Weaver
Director, Master of Health Administration (MHA) program
Associate Professor
School of Public Health

I’m reading Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, by Leah Dickerman and Elsa Smithgall. My husband and I went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City this summer. There, I discovered "The Migration Series," painted by Jacob Lawrence. It consists of 60 small paintings depicting the "Great Migration," which is the large movement of black Americans from the rural south to the urban north in the first half of the 20th century.

Half of those paintings are displayed at the MoMA and they are amazingly beautiful and powerful. I fell in love with them! I am currently reading a book presenting the Great Migration along with each of the 60 paintings. I highly recommend it!

Photo: France and her husband in New York City this summer.

Sean Bulger profile image.

Sean Bulger
Associate Dean for Online Education & Technology
Professor, Physical Education Teacher Education graduate program
College of Applied Human Sciences

I am reading The Lucky Thirteen: The Winners of America's Triple Crown of Horse Racing (2019) by Edward Bowen.

In more than one hundred years of American Thoroughbred racing, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown—horse racing’s most prestigious prize—which includes the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. The author of this book is a racing historian who takes readers through the rich history of the sport, covering the trainers, owners, and jockeys, as well as the "lucky thirteen" who captured all three jewels of the Triple Crown.

I am reading this because this summer marks the 50th Anniversary of Secretariat's historic Triple Crown Win! What better time to take a closer look at the history of one of America's oldest sporting traditions in thoroughbred horse racing? I am also in the process of re-working an undergraduate course in American games and sport that we teach online, so there is a connection back to work as well.

Photo: Sean outside enjoying a sunny day on the WVU campus.

Suzanne Kitchen out in a city.

Suzanne Gosden Kitchen
Department of Management and Industrial Relations
John Chambers College of Business & Economics

I am reading Promise Boys by Nick Brooks, a murder mystery described as "The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying." I’m in a local Morgantown book club, where we read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books, then meet up at local eating establishments to discuss the book we read and to enjoy each other’s company.

Other recent books we’ve read include: The Echo of Old Books, Deacon King Kong, When Breath Becomes Air, and How Not To Drown In A Glass of Water.

Photo: A candid shot of Suzanne, whose fun Morgantown book group also enjoys mimosas in the summer!

Amy Root laying in bed reading a book.

Amy Root
Director, School of Counseling and Well-being
Professor of Child Development and Family Studies
College of Applied Human Sciences

I am currently reading American War by Omar El Akkad. This book is different from my typical read, because it is a little heavier. However, it made my list after I heard the author interviewed on the podcast "Throughline," and it sounded like an interesting, emotional read.

The book follows Sarat Chestnut, who is six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. Her home state of Louisiana is half underwater, and unmanned drones fill the sky. Then her father is killed, and her family is forced into a camp for displaced persons, where she begins to grow up shaped by the events of a deadly war and making decisions that have tremendous consequences.

Photo: Amy’s son took this photo of her reading American War.

Alan Goodboy with his son.

Alan Goodboy
Peggy Rardin McConnell Endowed Research Chair of Communication Studies

I’m reading two statistics books this summer because I’m a stats nerd and it helps me with my social science research. These books are new for this summer and focus on structural equation modeling which I use to analyze data and explain how people communicate with each other. Currently we are modeling romantic partner’s stressors in their daily life over the course of a month.

I’m reading Principles and Practices of Structural Equation Modeling (5th edition, 2023) by Rex Kline and Machine Learning for Social and Behavioral Research (2023) by Ross Jacobucci, Kevin J. Grimm, and Zhiyong Zhang.

Photo: Alan with his young son, taken during a visit to Cooper’s Rock near Morgantown.

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