Summer 2022 Reads: Two LU professor dish on their favorite books of the summer

Looking for a good book to wrap up the summer? Two Lamar University professors –– Dr. Rebecca Weinbaum and Dr. Adrienne Starnes –– dish on their favorite reads of the summer. 


Dr. Adrienne Blackwell-Starnes
Dr. Adrienne Blackwell-Stanes, associate professor of English

Adrienne Blackwell-Starnes, Ph.D.

Tell us about a particular book on your shelf right now:

The one book on my bookshelf that says the most about my collection is a battered copy of Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway." I have at least three copies of the novel between my house and my office, but the one with character is the one I bought as an undergraduate for the literature course that introduced me to Virginia Woolf. That copy has been read, reread, annotated, and used to write my master's thesis, a doctoral paper, a journal article and currently is nearby as I am drafting a monograph about the novel. 

What books are currently on your summer reading list?

I am currently reading Hanya Yanagihara's "A Little Life," a beautiful novel about friendship and trauma. I am looking forward to reading Kia Corthron's "The Moon and the Mars" and Anthony Doerr's "Cloud Cuckoo Land" before summer ends. Corthron is a new author for me, but I've heard incredible things about her first novel, so I'm excited to read her work. I read Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" years ago, and I appreciated his historical storytelling, so I am looking forward to this new speculative novel. Finally, Briana Scurry's "My Greatest Save" is probably my most anticipated read for the summer, and if I'm being honest, this will be what I pick up when I finish "A Little Life." I grew up a huge fan of Scurry on the U.S. Women's National Team, and I have been anxious for her to write a memoir for decades.



Dr. Rebecca Weinbaum

Dr. Rebecca Weinbaum, associate dean of the College of Education and Human Development

Rebecca Weinbaum, Ph.D.

Tell us about a particular book on your shelf right now:

A particular book from my shelf that speaks to my profession as a professional counselor, is "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath. It discusses how to change things on multiple levels, such as systemic, organizational, relational, and personal. The authors use a metaphor of an elephant to represent emotional change, and a rider of the elephant to represent cognitive, rational change. If you simply reach a rider about change, the person will not be motivated, as it is the elephant that feels. Only reaching the elephant brings motivation for change. So, we try to direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape a path, or recognize if it is a situation that needs changing. The authors use an example of a company who wanted to change their purchasing habits. The authors talk about how they selected one thing: work gloves. They learned that each of the 400 employees was buying their work gloves anywhere between $5 and $40. The authors purchased the same work gloves –– well over 400 of them –– and attached big white price tags on each and put them on a table in the conference room. When the board met, they were taken aback about how much waste was going into purchasing so many higher priced gloves; gloves that were no different than the lower priced gloves. The visual display spoke directly to their elephants.
Anyway, really interesting book both professionally and personally!

What books are currently on your summer reading list?

My summer reading list is really pretty fun. My daughter bought me a "blind date" book (wrapped in white paper as a mystery) from B&N, and it turned out to be "Home is Where the Heart Is" by Billie Letts. Fast and entertaining. I am also reading "A Time for Mercy" by John Grisham, which is great –– as most Grisham books are. I picked up two new hobbies this summer, which prompted some "how-to" reading. I began to crochet and I began roasting my own coffee. Who knew a manual could be so inspiring!