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Community Reading List: 2022 Complete List

Each year the library compiles reading recommendations for the Winter Break.

Barbara Alfano

Director of First-Year Forum and Faculty - Cultural Studies and Languages

Noah Coburn

Associate Dean for Curriculum and Pedagogy

Camille Guthrie

Director of Undergraduate Writing Initiatives

John Hultgren

Faculty - Society, Culture and Thought

While not exactly a light holiday read, this all-too-timely work examines the linkages between the climate crisis, fossil fuels, and resurgent right-wing politics in Europe, the U.S., and Brazil.

Sherry Kramer

Faculty - Drama

Alfredo Medina Jr.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and College Diversity Officer

Mirka Prazak

Faculty - Society, Culture, and Thought

Carly Rudzinski

Associate Registrar

Harrowing read about the oxycontin/heroin epidemic and how Big Pharma promoted the spread

Intimate portrait of an Indian family coping with life issues

Memoir of a Dublin woman - loves, education, and Irish family.

Donald Sherefkin

Faculty - Visual Arts

Fascinating exploration of Frederick Law Olmsted's journey from the 1850's (before his career in park design)

Debbie Warnock

Faculty - Society, Culture and Thought

Oceana Wilson

Dean of the Library

Benjamin Anastas

Faculty - Literature

A short, savagely perceptive novel about rich expats in France in the 1920s by a well-known gay American writer from the 40s and 50s who has been largely forgotten. New York Review of Books has reissued the book beautifully.

There is nothing else like this satiric novel about Oreo's heroic journey through New York City to discover her birthrights as a biracial child of Black and Jewish culture--it's wild, funny, and so forward looking that it stumped everyone when it was first published in 1974.

Jared Della Rocca

Director of Library Services

Rage Hezekiah

Assistant Director of Academic and International Student Services

Mary Lum

Faculty - Visual Arts

Vanessa Lyon

Faculty - Visual Arts

I'm not saying grad school is (always) evil for BIPOC--but it's not (always) *not evil.

Bracket the so-called tragic Mulatta trope and revel in the gorgeous imagery, fearless dialogue, and ubiquitous queerness of this Harlem Renaissance novel--then maybe watch the Netflix adaptation.

Perhaps never-more-relevant-than-here-and-now literary criticism engaging canonical writers such as Melville, Cather, and Hemingway from the late, incomparable, writer and novelist.

Jean Randich

Faculty - Drama

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." --Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, 13th century. This book is a guide to that field. Indispensable. Rich. Personal. Political. How to get out of our traps.

No hidden secret, this bestseller won the Pulitzer Prize. But if you love enchanting fables to lead you into the mysteries of the visible and invisible world that surrounds us, read "The Overstory." It will change your life.

"To heal was to be familiar with what destroyed." --Ray Young Bear, Meskwaki poet. This gorgeous and painful meditation on the trails of tears blazed by the indigenous peoples as they were driven from their lands is a guide to our history and the roots of our plundering the continent. Joy Harjo opens up the trails for you. Read a poem a day and then go on a walking meditation. Harjo connects the systematic expulsion of the indigenous peoples with the waves of migration hitting our southern border today. Read her words. Open your eyes. Find a way to help us all come home.

"Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was and become part of it." I know so many Bennington students who have felt that way. Sally Rooney articulates it so clearly that reading this book I felt I could breath under water. She finds shimmering mystery in the ordinary and a toughness about class struggle that exists on a cellular level. Page turner with staying power.

Wade Simpson

Acquisitions Coordinator - Crossett Library

Laura Walker


Tom Bogdan

Faculty - Music

Very unusual format and very moving.

Li-Chen Chin

Dean of Student Life

Sarah Harris

Dean of Faculty

Dina Janis

Faculty - Drama

Rich prose and characters

Pure fun in Three Pines

Super fun and surprising

She is a terrific writer

Ann Pibal

Faculty - Visual Arts

Sue Rees

Faculty - Visual Arts and Drama

Stephen Shapiro

Faculty - Cultural Studies and Languages

Michael Wimberly

Faculty - Music

This is an interesting read especially because William Parker will be a visiting faculty member for the first 7 weeks this coming spring. William is a composer and acoustic bass player who is very prolific in his compositional output. He's been here in the past with Bill Dixon, and will teach courses on the philosophy of music, improvisation, and his own discography through a listening course, which is voluminous.  

June Dunbar's book on the great modern dancer/choreographer who was at Bennington, Jose Limon, consists of a series of essays by those who have worked with, or teach Limon's dance techniques.

I first encountered Sue's work through First Year Forum some years ago when we were teaching about microaggressions and biases. Perhaps there are some lessons that can support our work towards antiracism.