Alumni Recommended Reading


Recommended Reading

Dr. Jean Lutes

Associate Professor, Department of English

Director of Academics, Gender and Women's Studies

Team-teaching "Faulkner and Morrison" this semester in Honors with Dr. Crystal Lucky

portrait of a lady

Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (1881) 

This is just a beautiful novel, which follows a smart, idealistic, and stubborn young American on her first trip to Europe—and through a string of male suitors. James’s prose is simply spectacular; Portrait features some of his most memorable characters and some of his most moving scenes. Isabel Archer (the young American) is a heroine not to be missed. 

olive kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge (2008) 

This Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories is stunning in its depiction of its larger-than-life title character, a retired math teacher who lives in a small town in Maine. Strout’s generous vision invites us into the entire community. These interrelated stories—often dark, sometimes quite funny—feature an extraordinary array of regular folks, from a shy pharmacist to a hard-drinking lounge singer, from an anorexic teenager to a middle-aged man in love with the idea of love.

Dickinson poems

Emily Dickinson, Selected Poems 

You can’t read Emily Dickinson too many times. Memorize a few and let them roll around in your head. You won’t be sorry. 


Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987) 

Morrison is, without doubt, one of the most important American novelists ever, and this is one of her absolute best novels. It’s a hard read, because the narrative unfolds in an unpredictable way, moving between past and present without warning at times. But the rewards are enormous. The story Morrison tells—about surviving slavery, about living with loss, about the power of love—is extraordinary.

Dr. Lucky, who is co-teaching a course on Faulkner and Morrison wtih Dr. Lutes this semester, also highly recommends this text!

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