Skip to Main Content

Community Reading List: 2023 Complete List

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

Benjamin Anastas

Faculty - Literature

I don't think I've ever seen such a euphoric reaction to the announcement of the National Book Award winners than I have this year. Imani Perry's speech is already an online legend, and I'm going to start my FWT reading with "South to America," which was inspired, at least in part, by Albert Murray’s 1971 travelogue “South to a Very Old Place.” Good preparation for my spring term class on Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man."

This year's winner in the fiction category.

This year's winner in the literature in translation category.

And the winner in poetry.

Camille Guthrie

Faculty - Writing

Winner of the International Booker Prize 2022!

Rage Hezekiah

Associate Director of Academic and International Student Services.

This book made me think and feeling deeply about what it means to come of age. It rattled by brain and my heart in the best way.

I'm grateful Ada Limon recently became Poet Laureate. Her poems do all the things the best poems do, and this book is lovely.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book and it made me sob in my car. I've loved Amy Bloom's books for decades, and I'm so grateful she gave voice to this story.

Ross Gay gives voice to gratitude, joy, and abundance like no one else and I am fully here for it.

Jen Liu

FORTHCOMING 2023 Selections to look forward to...

Farhad Mirza

Faculty - Visual Arts

Sue Rees

Faculty - Drama and Visual Arts

Allen Shawn

Faculty - Music

Reading these spare, unexpected stories you start to forget you are reading at all. You simply start to experience the things Banana Yoshimoto's characters experience, and become one with her exceptionally subtle outlook on life. You close the last page with regret, realizing you were very lucky to have found this book.

Oceana Wilson

Dean of the Library

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

Visiting Faculty - Drama

Offers valuable self-defense advice for artists navigating educational institutions.

Traces the idea of psychic trauma from its emergence in the late 19th century to current day uses and abuses.

Presents history from the perspective of stateless people, explores the pliability of ethnic identities and looks at state-making as a form of internal colonialism.

Jared Della Rocca

Director of Library Services

Maurice Hall


Yoko Inoue

Faculty - Visual Arts

Japanese Science Fiction: The eponymous heroine of Tsutsui's novel is the alter ego of brilliant and beautiful psychotherapist Atsuko Chiba, one of the leading brains in the Institute for Psychiatric Research. When treating private patients, Atsuko transforms herself into the guise of Paprika to mask her true identity. Components in the academic field of Psychology in this novel is fantastic, which is not captured in its Anime version.

The DVD to go with the novel recommended.

Annette Lawrence

Visiting Faculty - Visual Arts

Vanessa Lyon

If you know me, you know I think this exquisitely crafted, hard-won, heartening, and profoundly queer memoir is all that writing a life can be.

Poet Savage, a Minnesota daughter, writes of entwined environmental and personal tragedies, living and losing on stolen land catastrophically desecrated by Superfund pollution. If it sounds heavy, it is, but also brave and full of beauty; a book to mourn and learn with.

With Chee editing, this year's collection is jaw-droppingly un-put-downable. It's also diverse in the many ways anything "American" should be. If you don't think essays are for you, something, and probably many somethings, in these pages will change your mind and stay with you forever.

Ann Pibal

Faculty - Visual Arts

Corinne Rhodes

Technical Instructor in Printmaking

Donald Sherefkin

Faculty - Visual Arts

Chapter 1, "The Meaning of Mother Goose" is remarkable.

Short Stories, a section titled "Impossible Architectures" especially "The Other Town"

Candy Cuthbert

Registrar's Office Assistant

The story of a young refugee woman who left Somalia and traveled through South and Central America and the US, eventually reaching a remote monastery in Vermont. She requests sanctuary during a blizzard, before going on to Canada. The intersection of the lives of Sahro, Brother Christopher, and Teddy, an Afghan War veteran, and how each struggles to respond to this situation, makes a fascinating, memorable read. Although fiction, the book relies on extensive personal research conducted by the author into the lives of refugees in Vermont.

Annabel Davis-Goff

Director of the Prison Education Initiative

Michael Dumanis

Director of Poetry at Bennington, Faculty - Literature

A singular tour de force collection of epistemological, metaphysical poems about summers and daughters and being and despair that seamlessly navigates between English and the poet’s native Swedish.

An exceptional highly lyrical and philosophical, deeply questioning debut poetry collection by the Kyiv-born poet and translator.

This is an amazing, formally innovative new book of wild, discursive post-confessional poems, each written in three skinny adjacent columns juxtaposed on each page. Sandra is visiting faculty at Bennington this year.

I am personally so excited to read this latest, brilliantly titled book of poems by the always engaging, startling, and audacious poet and new Bennington literature faculty member Franny Choi!

Dina Janis

Faculty - Drama

The latest in the Slow Horses Series which is just plain fabulous and addictive and laugh out loud funny.

Fascinating historical fiction that is as usual, brilliantly crafted by a true master.

Great characters, great story- interesting premise and much fun.

Well- so beautifully written as always investigating such intimate and internal lives lived.

Wanda McEwan, '25

Andrew McIntyre

Faculty - Science and Mathematics

Lua Piovano-Marcotte, '23

This book made me feel like a child engrossed in a fantasy novel.

This book has everything! Necromancers, lesbians, comedic narration, swordfighting, and more!

This and the other two books in the Southern Reach trilogy are really amazing works of weird ecofiction. Come for things like the dolphin with human eyes and stay for the rather beautiful commentary on being human in a rapidly changing environment.

Fantastic book on the phenomenon of autistic "masking" (subconsciously or consciously hiding one's autistic traits). An enlightening read for autistic and allistic people alike. 

Carly Rudzinski

Associate Registrar

This book is so fun and innovative; it takes a look at tale of the Odyssey from the point of view of Penelope, Odysseus' wife. I'm not a huge Atwood fan, but I really enjoyed this - it's a quick and easy read, and very entertaining.

Non-fiction memoir from an incredible author that chronicles the deaths of five young men, including her brother. Ward tackles identity, and how the places we are from ultimately affect the choices and opportunities we have in life.

Harrowing true story of a nurse in NJ/PA that messed with patients' drugs and eventually ended up implicated in the deaths of more than 400 people. It's fascinating and frustrating to learn how he continued to get hired at hospital after hospital, and the bureaucracy that prevented him from being caught far earlier than he was.