Favorite books come to life in RU READS campaign


[img src=]4890Brooke Blanks
Brooke Blanks on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: "I love Betty Smith's wonderful novel about Francie Nolan, a young girl for whom books, and reading, and school are escape hatches from the complications of her every day life. I have read this book at least once each summer since I was nine years old. Every year I have the familiar feeling of coming home, yet I always find something new to enjoy."
[img src=]920Candice Benjes-Small
Candice Benjes-Small on The Hunger Games: "A fierce heroine, a plot that sucks you in on page one and doesn't let go, and ethical dilemmas galore - what's not to love?"
[img src=]850Jerry Beasley
Jerry Beasley on 21st Century Warriors: " 21st Century Warriors" is a cutting-edge look at the evolution of martial arts in America, introducing today's top competitors in the sport. The author, Jason McNeil, graduated from RU with a degree in English and minor in Asian Martial Arts and now works in TV and film choreography and acting in the LA area."
[img src=]790Richard Bay
Richard Bay: "Her aesthetic is one of joy and the celebration of discovery! I love her books!"
[img src=]770Roann Barris
Roann Barris: "My favorite books have always been about art and the struggle to create it. One book which takes a more fantastic approach to this theme is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov."
[img src=]790Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson on Ethan Frome: "I am obsessed with this book and I read it every winter. It was one of the first books that really captured me as a reader by its fascinating characters and language. I have recommended it to past students and certainly to all my friends as a book that haunts but inspires! It's just amazing!"
[img src=]770Suzanne Ament
Suzanne Ament: "As a member of the Bahai faith, the prayers are very sustaining. I also like to read prayers on behalf of others. I very much appreciate reading the prayers in Braille as it feels more like it is from my own heart and soul. Mostly, I read by listening - novels, mysteries, etc. - but actually physically reading the Braille prayers makes them so much more meaningful to me."
[img src=]610Bruce Blaylock
Bruce Blaylock on The Hydroponic Garden: This book opened my eyes to a much more sustainable way of raising crops on our farm. The idea of growing bigger, better, healthier plants without soil was almost magical -- I had to know more."
[img src=]550Tod Burke
Tod Burke: "An easy read complete with interesting stories that are both morbid and funny. Enjoy!"
[img src=]570Molly Christopher
Molly Christopher on And Then There Were None: ""I discovered this book in middle school and it was the first book I read that had challenged me to a new level. I love the way the detail of the story kept me on the edge and always guessing what would happen next. The mystery and suspense kept me interested but also ultimately led to my decision to be a Psychology major."
[img src=]440Rodney Clark
Rodney Clark: "Everyday my granddaughters and I go on an adventure. We share a book! With words and pictures, we explore old worlds and discover new ones."
[img src=]500Angela DeVore
Angela DeVore: "If you feel something inside bigger than yourself just waiting to soar….read often and begin your journey to great leadership."
[img src=]490Renee Dickinson
Renee Dickinson: "It is an adventure to read."
[img src=]530Elizabeth Dore
Elizabeth Dore on The Sixth Man: "Thrilling! Exciting!! A surprise on nearly every page! Never know what will happen next!"
[img src=]490Farrell Doss
Farrell Doss on The Little Prince: "As a child, we often enjoy books for their illustrations and magical tales. Only as an adult do we discover the true meanings locked inside. I have enjoyed reading The Little Prince for many years, and each time I read it again, I discover new meanings and truths about life and society."
[img src=]440Jonathan Dove
Jonathan Dove: "The Bible is not just an old collection of writings, and reading it is not just a duty. The Bible is where God makes himself known to man. It is where we can delve joyfully into the infinite goodness of God and hear of the immeasurable riches of His grace toward us in Christ Jesus. The Bible is truly a satisfying meal to all followers of Jesus."
[img src=]420Matt Dunleavy
Matt Dunleavy on The Power of Myth:: "Reading The Power of Myth forever changed my perspective on reality and humanity's universal quest to seek truth through stories and symbols."
[img src=]430Tolga Durak
Tolga Durak on Kitchen Confidential: "This is probably one of the few honest memoirs of the culinary world. Bourdain is a former chef who is considered morally suspect and a sellout with a different perspective by some. But, his fame comes from his unique outlook, which is very colorful, real and brutally honest at all times. His passion for good food as his humor is unparalleled to other celebrity chefs. I think it is a must read for all foodies."
[img src=]360Deneen Evans
Deneen Evans on The Bluest Eye: "The Bluest Eye examines how the ideologies perpetuated by the dominant groups and adopted by the marginal groups influence the identity of the black women. I was introduced to the story in a high school American Literature course and then again as an undergraduate in a English Literature course. It was through the lens of Toni Morrison and other similar writers, who validated the feelings of the marginalized, oppressed and muted in our society, that I began to find my voice and place in society. My commitment to social change and social justice will always begin with me being a transparent 'mirror' for girls like Pecola to see their potential and likeness through."
[img src=]330Timothy Filbert
Timothy Filbert on Walden: ""This book offers beautiful descriptions of a simple life in nature and wisdom to consider for our time. Thoreau is out to find what is essential for a good life and finds his 'fronting only the essential facts of life' at Walden Pond, that life’s finer fruits are not the material objects that are the products of our labor and life-energy. Rather, these fruits are contemplation, observation, reading, Nature. And it’s interesting in that Gandhi was deeply influenced by Thoreau."
[img src=]300Sharon Gilbert
Sharon Gilbert on Do You Know How Much I Love You?: "I love this book because of the pictures and the message!"
[img src=]270Rosemary Guruswamy
Rosemary Guruswamy on The Great Gatsby: "A must read for anybody interested in America, its past and its future."
[img src=]300Katherine Hawkins
Katherine Hawkins: "Extraordinary fiction transports the reader. It fires the imagination. Immerse yourself in a great story and you can be anyone, anywhere, anytime you like."
[img src=]300Steve Helm
Steve Helm on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: "This book resonates with me on many levels. Pirsig contemplates the nature of quality, both in conduct and engineering, presents layers of dualities, and struggles with his past, within a seemingly simple narrative of a father and son motorcycling across the great American landscape. I love this book!"
[img src=]380Katie Hilden & Elizabeth Altieri
Katie Hilden & Elizabeth Altieri on Out of My Mind: "The faculty who teach our fall cohort of Field Experience students work collaboratively – we plan and brainstorm together the best learning experiences for our interns. We decided to read Out of My Mind together to see if we wanted to use the book with our students in the future. We loved the book and the issues it raised about disability and personal power and voice and inclusion and belonging – we want to recommend it to our entire School of Teacher Education for a book study!"
[img src=]400David Horton
David Horton on On Her Majesty's Secret Service: "Ian Fleming’s James Bond takes me to thrilling places in search of great adventures. Through Fleming’s visceral descriptions, I’ve been around the world and back again encountering some of the most colorful characters in history. Bond is a modern knight on a quest for Queen and Country with dashes of technology and the bizarre thrown in for good measure."
[img src=]370Brianna Kirker
Brianna Kirker: "Reading is an outlet for me. It allows me to become a new character, escape to new places, and it inspires me to begin my own adventures in life."
[img src=]290Dante Lavendar
Dante Lavendar on Norman Mailer: "The book captures the idea of Norman Mailer and his works, which is of high intellect and controversy. Even though I may not have always agreed with his ideas and arguments, I respect his brilliance and his passion."
[img src=]290Cassidy Lawson
Cassidy Lawson on To Kill a Mockingbird: ""I love the book because the story is so original and powerful. I love how Harper Lee mixed Southern charm with an air of broken innocence and mystery as well as the historical context."
[img src=]360Raymond Linville
Raymond Linville on <i>Arrowsmith</i>: "Sinclair Lewis foretold comflicts that continue to face medical researchers today including ethical dilemmas, contagions, and the conflict of balancing a personal life with the demands for becoming a leading scientist. Martin Arrowsmith made decisions that both tormented him and resurrected him. His story taught me lessons about life, loving, and learning."
[img src=]480Keelia McCaffrey
Keelia McCaffrey on <i>The Naming</i>: "This book is important to me because it was the first book that I read for enjoyment. In high school. I was always a library aide. I tried to read, but I could never really pick up a book and start reading it without getting bored. <i>The Naming<i> was a book I picked up out of complete boredom and began reading. I think that it was this book, along with the Pellinor series that it belongs to, was what made me a reader. I truly love this book."
[img src=]330Sam Minner
Sam Minner on <i>The Summer He Didn't Die</i> by Jim Harrison: "He writes beautifully and his themes connect with me in a powerful way."
[img src=]230Blaine Morgan
Blaine Morgan: "<i>Redwall</i> was the book that transformed my childhood, and allowed me to understand that with dedication, near perfection is possible. Without the works of Brian Jacques, I would not be the reader and student I am today."
[img src=]230Teresa O'Bannon
Teresa O'Bannon on <i>Watchers</i>: "I love escapist literature and dogs, so Dean Koontz is a perfect fit! I started reading Koontz in the late 1980s, with <i>Watchers</i>, and quickly became enchanted with his writing style and story lines. Over the years, I’ve trawled used book stores to find things he wrote in the 60s and 70s, books written under his pseudonyms, and editions in foreign languages. Some of his early work is science fiction and very different from what people connect him with today. I’ve enjoyed collecting his work, in its many forms, and am proud of the Koontz library in my family room!"
[img src=]280James Pennix
James Pennix on <i>The Bible</i>: "‘My whole life changed when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. Reading God’s word, <i>The Bible</i>, has been my greatest resource to growing in my faith walk. I have found <i>The Bible</i> to be enlightening, comforting, and refreshing. <i>The Bible,/i> is the best book that I have ever read and the gift that keeps on giving."
[img src=]250Ashley Petersen
Ashley Petersen: "I enjoy reading <i>The Bible</i> because it gives me perspective on my life and God, that He is great and I am not."
[img src=]200Michele Ren
Michele Ren on <i>Henry and Beezus</i>: "I will always credit this book with inspiring my love of a good novel."
[img src=]220Orion Rogers
Orion Rogers on <i>The Descent of Man</i>: "I chose <i>The Descrnt of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex</i> by Charles Darwin because it is a timeless scientific classic. Darwin altered the course of history and the understanding of biology with his writing, and human evolution is as provocative today as when <i>The Descent of Man</i> was first published in 1871."
[img src=]240Joe Scartelli
Joe Scartelli: "In God's Jury we see how the Dark Ages practice of inquisition continued to exist throughout history to present day."
[img src=]270Rebecca Scheckler
Rebecca Scheckler: "When I was a graduate student, nothing inspired me so much as Artificial Knowing by Alison Adams."
[img src=]240Fritz Schindler
Fritz Schindler: "Peterson's characters, storyline, and artful writing of this book are magnificent!"
[img src=]260Mark Shanley
Mark Shanley on The Little Prince: "Through these travels, the Little Prince learns the secret of what is really important in life."
[img src=]280Patricia Shoemaker
Patricia Shoemaker: "I think of Proust---'The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.' It is difficult to ‘see’ past our experiences, expectations, habits, prevailing systems, toward better ways of learning for individuals and organizations. The book is one of several that explore what learning organizations are like, and how they create working environments as human communities---places where we can build our capacities as individuals, and thus create the kinds of organizations that provide opportunities for meaningful work."
[img src=]250Jane Swing
Jane Swing on The Secret Garden: "Growing up in a rural area, I understood the cycles of birth, life and death. I loved how all of these were represented and intertwined in this book. As Mary said: 'The secret garden is always open now. Open, and awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.'"
[img src=]220Daniel Testerman
Daniel Testerman on Turnaround: Turnaround tells a story of how a patrolman straight out of the academy grew to become the commissioner of one of the largest and most diverse cities in America, New York City. Even though he faced many obstacles and had many hardships, he was able to overcome them and was able to alleviate the crime epidemic in New York. The reason I love this book so much is because I strive to be as successful as William Bratton in my lifetime. This book has shown me that even though you may start at the bottom, if you work hard at it you can finish on top."
[img src=]220Amanda Vosloh
Amanda Vosloh: "The Harry Potter series brought me closer to my mother, inspired me to overcome my multiple learning disabilities, and represents the beginning of my reading journey. Without a doubt, these books changed my life."
[img src=]280Claire Waldron
Claire Waldron on Team of Rivals: "Civil War buffs, political scientists, linguists, and anyone interested in media and social networking should curl up with this rich dense Pulitzer Prize winner during the 2012 presidential election. Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln perfectly illustrates how 'all politics is personal.'"
[img src=]310Jolanta Wawrzycka
Jolanta Wawrzycka: "Reading Ulysses is an immensely gratifying activity, as some of my students here discovered."
[img src=]260Erin Webster-Garrett
Erin Webster-Garrett on Frankenstein: "When I was 15 and realized that Mary Shelley was just a few years older than myself when she wrote Frankenstein -- the story that some consider to be THE modern myth -- my world opened up and I began to think seriously about what it might mean to be a writer."
[img src=]320Geoff White
Geoff White on The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote: "We all know how the story ends, but that's not the point. Shelby Foote's magnum opus is fascinating; full of colossal and yet immensely human characters. Reading Foote's narrative is more like losing yourself in a novel than reading a military history."
[img src=]230Michelle Whitman
Michelle W hitman on Dead Men Do Tell Tales: "This is my favorite book because each chapter is a forensic case that William Maple has worked and his stories are true to the job of a forensic anthropologist. It's a perfect mix of a popular crime novel with reality."
[img src=]250Kirnelius Williams
Kirnelius Williams on <i>The Fountainhead</i>: "It's a really insightful book that deals with the philosophy of Objectivism created by Ayn Rand and conveys the idea that the pursuit of one's own happiness is the only thing that's morally important in life. Your values and my values should be tailored to specifically to meet our own tastes and interests and is essential to your survival as a human being. It had a profound impact on me because it goes against so much of what we're taught growing up, and I took an interest in the perspective it presented through the various characters in the book."
Inspired by the American Library Association’s popular READ celebrity poster series, Radford University launched RU READS in March.  RU READS is an initiative featuring dozens of colorful posters displayed across campus. Each poster portrays a student, administrator, faculty or staff member in the context of her or his favorite book.

Among poster subjects are Katherine Hawkins, dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, seated amid spider webs and candelabras to capture the essence of her favorite vampire story, and Mark Shanley, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, standing atop the world like the title character on the cover of his favorite book, The Little Prince.

“We wanted to focus on nonvocational reading,” said Steven Helm, dean of McConnell Library, which designed and implemented the project. “Everybody in the faculty and administration reads lots about higher education and his or her field, but we wanted to focus on what you read in your spare time for fun, what transforms your life or makes your life better. We want to show that people from all walks of life are avid readers.”

Helm describes RU READS as “a poster series that celebrates the joys of literature and reading. The posters inspire people to read, and that’s a wonderful thing,”

The initial idea came from Provost Sam Minner, who proposed it to the McConnell Library Advisory Committee in fall 2011. “Colleges and universities are all about learning, and reading has been and continues to be at the heart of formal and informal learning,” said Minner, who is featured on a poster with his favorite book, The Summer He Didn’t Die.

To find poster subjects, organizers sent notices across campus asking people what they like to read. The result was 60 posters being showcased on RU’s digital signage system and displayed on easels in a rotation system. (Posters are currently displayed in McConnell Library, Heth Hall, the Bonnie, Peters Hall, the Walker Technology Lab, Preston Hall, Martin Hall, Dalton Hall, Young Hall, and Waldron Hall, as well as on the tv screens in McConnell Library and in the photo gallery accompanying this post.)

And what is the library dean’s favorite book? “It’s like asking which of your kids you like better,” Helm said. For his poster, he finally settled on Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

“Pirsig’s poignant book resonates with me on many levels,” Helm said. “He contemplates the nature of quality, both in conduct and engineering, presents layers of dualities and struggles with his past within a seemingly simple narrative of a father and son motorcycling across the great American landscape. I love this book!”

For more information about RU READS, contact Bethany Mott.

story by Keith Hagarty, Public Relations Coordinator, University Relations, Radford University


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