NYU Loyal Summer 2021

The NYU Loyal Bookshelf is a list of recommended reads chosen by NYU staff and faculty, curated especially for supporters of NYU Loyal. NYU Loyal supporters are integral in helping NYU uphold its academic mission and continued excellence. Thank you for your continued generosity and for being part of the NYU community!

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David Yermack, Albert Fingerhut Professor of Finance and Business Transformation, NYU Stern 

Out of the Ether by Matthew Leising is a well-written account of financial intrigue and sabotage involving a famous attack on the Ethereum blockchain in 2016 and the subsequent "hard fork" that was implemented as a recovery strategy.

These events have become important due to the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi), Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other applications that are hosted by Ethereum, a platform central to the growth of cryptocurrency and digital assets. In my opinion, this represents the leading edge of development for financial markets today.

Amal Shehata, Clinical Associate Professor of Accounting, NYU Stern

I have always been an avid reader but in recent years, I have not had as much time to read. During the pandemic, I rediscovered reading in a big way! Reading became my relaxation and unwinding time.

One of my recent favorites is Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain, a historical fiction novel about a dark period in US history. It is a story of hope as two women from completely different socio-economic backgrounds connect with each other. I fell in love with the protagonist who followed her instincts and defied everyone around her to do what she felt was "right." I simply could not put it down.

Dean Jelena Kovačević, Tandon School of Engineering

While my “to-read” pile is still towering, I highly recommend The Other Black Girl, a timely new novel by Zakiya Dalila Harris, and The Plot, a thriller by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

As far as nonfiction, if you love languages as much as I do, I also recommend Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard. Spoiler alert: I was amazed to learn there are people who can speak more than 70 languages!

Allan B. Goldstein, Senior Lecturer, Tandon School of Engineering

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers. Who knew trees talk to each other?

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. Who knew octopuses are affectionate?

Fred and Me: a Willowbrook Survivor's Story. My memoir is a love story showing that institutionalization dehumanizes and that people living with intellectual disabilities want the same things as everyone else: work and love.

Allan's reading habit: I need one, as I don't get much time to read during the school year—no matter how many books pile up on my nightstand!

Erich Dietrich, Clinical Professor of Higher Education and International Education, NYU Steinhardt

The Merit Myth by Anthony Carnevale, Jeff Strohl, and Peter Schmidt brilliantly analyzes how our nation’s increasing inequality and growing polarization are reflected in higher education. Even more importantly, it gives a road map for change, outlining real policy interventions that can help make higher education the engine of social mobility that we all want it to be.

Another recommendation is a classic, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room. One can't understand Baldwin as a writer, intellectual, and social critic without reading Giovanni's Room. Many people know it as one of the first major novels with gay central characters, but it's really a story about the tragedy of not being able to love. As Balwin said, "The trick is to love somebody…if you love one person, you see everybody else differently."

Erich's reading tip: After reading, let yourself daydream for 10 minutes to give your mind time to process what you've read. Look at the clouds, peer out the window, or just stare into space...your creativity and intellect will thank you! 

Jerry Heverly, Librarian for Classics, Hellenic Studies, Religion, Philosophy, Bobst Library

At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell presents difficult ideas in a very accessible form. Bakewell chronicles the rise of existentialism, one of the 20th century's most significant philosophical developments, by focusing on the lives of leading existentialist thinkers. This combination of biography and deep thought makes the pages fly by. Anyone looking for a solid introduction to existentialism or perhaps a refresher will find the book engaging, informative, and well written.

Jerry's reading tip: Try reading a book about deep ideas with a reflective friend or two; the discussions you have will be amazing.

Lauren Kehoe, Accessibility and Accommodations Librarian, Bobst Library

We have all found ourselves away from our homes and in need of a public toilet, with not so great--or no--options for our needs! As an accessibility advocate, I spend a lot of time thinking about the built environment and our access to and engagement with facilities (not just bathrooms, although I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about access to toilets), especially in public. We should all have access to clean, safe, and accessible bathrooms when we need them. 

No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs by Lezlie Lowe does a wonderful job of making the case for access. It also provides some wonderful contextual history, social commentary, and interesting use cases of towns and communities that are making bathrooms available for their residents and visitors!

Lauren's reading tip: I like to browse book displays at my local library for reading suggestions. Independent bookstores do this too, which I love, and always find books I might not otherwise consider through these displays. I still love roaming the stacks to make discoveries that just aren't as easy to do online.  

Hari Kunzru, Clinical Professor, Creative Writing Program

I’d like to recommend some recent work by faculty and alumni of the Creative Writing Program at NYU, three very different novels all well-suited to summer relaxation:

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura has been highly praised and tells the story of an interpreter at a war crimes tribunal in the Hague. Barack Obama chose it as one of his summer books!

Luster by Raven Leilani (GSAS '19) is a wonderful debut novel about a young woman making her way financially and sexually in New York.

The Queen of Tuesday by Darin Strauss (GSAS '97 and long-standing professor at the Creative Writing program) is a riotous and genre-bending novel about the comedienne Lucille Ball.

Hari's reading habit: I always have several books in progress, one or two that I'm marking with a pencil, something complex I'm reading for pleasure, and one less complex that I read when too distracted to read anything else. My memory isn't nearly as good as I think it is, so I've developed a system for marking up books to find references. A tip: reading a few things carefully is always more worthwhile than skimming many things.