Spring 2015 Recommendations

Spring 2015
All the Names

Jose Saramago (1922-2010, Portugal) is the only Portuguese-language author to win a Nobel Prize in Literature (1998). His novel All the Names treats the life of Senhor José, a low-level clerk at the Civil Registry of Births, Marriages, and Deaths in an unnamed, unspecified city in Europe. Whether through happenstance or fate, Senhor José finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue, peril, and duplicity as he follows clues to uncover the life of a mysterious unnamed woman. In some ways a modernized recasting of the story of Adam and Eve, All the Names emphasizes the importance of recognizing and remembering the influence others have on our journey through life. margaret Jull Costa provides an excellent English translation that preserves the disorienting yet highly readable oral narrative style.

-James R. Krause, Assistant Professor of Portuguese

Mind over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos

What do botulism, music, and sand castles have to do with black holes, cell membranes, and quantum mechanics? In Mind over Matter: Conversations with the Cosmos, award-winning science writer K.C. Cole invites us to eavesdrop on a series of fascinating discussions with the universe. Each three-page essay examines common aspects of the physical world through diverse disciplinary lenses and offers unexpected existential insights into human conditions such as imperfection, humility, resistance, and uncertainty. Surprisingly accessible to the average reader, this intriguing collection of musings challenges us to let go of fears, failures, and insecurities, always remembering that “we are formed from the same stuff as stars” (p.23).

-Cherice Montgomery, Assistant Professor of Spanish