Summer Reading: Margaret Schaus

Our lead research and instruction librarian suggests three books that feature individuals taking action in difficult times.

Summer Reading is a series that asks Haverford’s librarians and library staff for book recommendations that will enlighten, entertain, and educate during this vacation season. Take these titles to the beach, on a plane, or just enjoy them indoors with the fan on. 

This week: Lead Research and Instruction Librarian Margaret Schaus suggests three books which feature individuals taking action in difficult times.


War in Val d’Orcia: A Diary by Iris Origo:

This Anglo-American author documents life in the Tuscan countryside during World War II.  Origo provided care for orphans, Allied prisoners, and partisan fighters while her farm was bombed and depleted of food.  She notes throughout the selfless acts of individuals who rescued people from imprisonment or death.  As events unfold, the narrative is full of suspense.

Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics edited and translated by Richard L. Kagan and Abigail Dyer:

In something of a paradox, Spanish inquisitors invited prisoners to make a full autobiographical statement for the record.  Among the accounts here we learn about a sculptor interested in Protestantism, a man deported as a Muslim who returns to Spain, and a transgender man who married a woman.  The speakers are forthright about what they have done and believe they are right.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

In this eloquent essay, the prize-winning novelist (and recent Haverford honorary degree recipient) argues for a new commitment to equal opportunities for girls and women.  Adichie’s personal experiences bring an immediacy to her words.  Read this out loud to a friend or family member and share these smart, inspiring ideas.


Photo: Cole Sansom ’19