NYU Loyal Bookshelf Summer 2023

The NYU Loyal Bookshelf is a list of recommended reads chosen by NYU staff and faculty, curated specially for members 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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Faculty-Recommended Reads

Jin Bae, J.D., M.PH., Visiting Associate Professor, NYU School of Global Public Health

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon 

Choosing one favorite book to recommend is like choosing a child, it's impossible. But if I were to pick two that I come back to over and over again, "Heavy: an American memoir" by Kiese Laymon was so honest, vulnerable, incredibly layered, and insightful that I did not want it to end. I intentionally read it very slowly, taking in every word and sighing at every page, marveling at how beautiful and painful it all was. The book is about living as a Black man growing in Mississippi while wrestling with weight, family relationships, racism, and violence (both physical and structural), but so much more. I think it should be a required book in every American school. 

Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner

I also love "Crying at H-Mart" by Michelle Zauner, which I gifted to at least five people. Having your home country observed by an outsider (even if the person is a second-generation Korean-American) can be a very tricky experience. There's a deep part of the country invisible to someone who's just visiting every summer (thus completely lost in this type of observation), and there's part of that person's life and perspective that locals may not understand or accommodate. Yet, Zauner makes it work. Even though the book does not shy away from its observation of poverty, internalized racism, and other not-so-pretty aspects of the society she observed, it is such a honest and passionate love letter to her mother's home country that I can't help but cry at the end and call my parents (it also really makes me crave Korean food-- don't tell me I did not warn you).

Jin’s reading habit: I have a 5-year-old at home, which means finding a designated chunk of time to quietly sit down and read is almost impossible. So my reading habits changed-- I just carry a book with me everywhere and try to read anytime I can. That means reading on a subway platform, in a train car, or at a cafe while waiting for my coffee to be made. It also means I am a little more impatient with my book-- Mo Willems said, as a reader, we should all give ourselves permission to quit, and I 100% agree. Life is short.

Jesse Bransford, Clinical Associate Professor of Visual Arts, NYU Steinhardt 

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume 

Hume has been strangely seminal in my art and it’s deep investigation into traditions of magic past and present. For me his thought represents the most reasonable of the empiricists, and his realism grounded in skepticism has underlined my investigations and helped steer them in useful directions. What might surprise readers (as it did me when I first read his works in my undergraduate days) is his unilateral distrust of systems of any kind. This grounding in doubt is lost in many of Hume’s inheritors, but I have found it so useful to come back to as I have danced around ideas of competence and expertise, and what can ground knowledge in my own work.

The Mabinogion

Whenever I travel to a new place I like to read some of the literature from the region. A research companion and friend invited me for a week to the far north of Wales (Cymru) and this demanded a re-read of the ancient literature of that land. Tales of love, love lost, magic, and adventure abound here, and characters we all know give weight and humanity to these timeless tales. Talesin, Rhiannon, and of course King Arthur and his retinue all share versions of their stories in ways that stoked my imagination as I traveled through their lands this summer.

Nancy Deihl, Chair, Department of Art and Art Professions, NYU Steinhardt 

Unfolding the Past by Elizabeth Wilson 

My recommendation is Unfolding the Past by Elizabeth Wilson.  It's a recently published memoir by an important historian of fashion - one of the founding scholars in my field!  Wilson has always approached fashion with thoughtfulness and humor and I'm looking forward to how her story "unfolds."

Division of Libraries 

Recommended books by NYU Division of Libraries staff!

Daniel Hickey, Head, Business and Government Information & Librarian for Business and Economics 

The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh, Jacob B. Melnick Professor, NYU Stern School of Business

Fantastic read on inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and accessibility. 

Finally: an engaging, evidence-based book about how to battle biases, champion diversity and inclusion, and advocate for those who lack power and privilege. Dolly Chugh makes a convincing case that being an ally isn’t about being a good person—it’s about constantly striving to be a better person.

— Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B (with Sheryl Sandberg)

Dolly Chugh applies the power of a growth mindset to work on equity and inclusion at a time when it is much-needed. The Person You Mean to Be is essential reading.

— Carol Dweck, bestselling author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most by Adam Alter 

Almost everyone feels stuck in some way. Whether you’re muddling through a midlife crisis, wrestling writer’s block, trapped in a thankless job, or trying to remedy a fraying friendship, the resulting emotion is usually a mix of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, anger, and numbness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Anatomy of a Breakthrough is the roadmap we all need to escape our inertia and flourish in the face of friction.

— Adam Alter (author)

Charlotte Priddle, Director of NYU Special Collections

To Make Negro Literature: Writing, Literary Practice and African American Authorship by Elizabeth McHenry

This book has won the 2022 Delong Book History Prize, presented by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), and was co-winner of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize, awarded by the Bibliographical Society of America. Not only that, but it is a great read, and delves deeply into archives and special collections it uncovers a hidden genealogy of Black literature. 

(I was lucky enough to be invited by the English department to read a section of the book and reflect on it at the book launch, and it was such an honor! Liz is the current chair of the English department, and she is just a brilliant colleague). 

Carol Kassel, Director of Digital Library Technology Services 

Grabbing Tea: Queer Conversations on Identity and Libraries edited by Shawnta Smith-Cruz and Sara A. Howard

This book centers queerness in library practice and features several members of the NYU Division of Libraries!

Ryan Gentleman, Librarian for Performing Arts

Disappearing Rooms: The Hidden Theaters of Immigration Law by Michelle Castañeda, Assistant Professor in Performance Studies, NYU Tisch School of the Arts 

This book uses a performance lens to bring readers into the hidden theaters of immigration courtrooms and reveal the violent, absurdist dynamics that shape these spaces.

School of Law

Recommended books written by NYU School of Law faculty and alumni!

Bonfires of the American Dream in the American Rhetoric, Literature, and Film by Daniel Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation 

Undermoney by Jay Newman (LLM ‘81)

Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice by Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law; faculty director, Roger Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and David Glasgow (LLM ‘14), Executive Director of Meltzer Center 

Legal Mobilization for Human Rights by Gráinne de Búrca, Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law; Faculty Director, Hauser Global Law School; Director, Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice 

Litigating the Climate Emergency: How Human Rights, Courts, and Legal Mobilization Can Bolster Climate Action by César Rodríguez-Garavito ed., Professor of Clinical Law; Chair, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice; Director, Earth Rights Advocacy Clinic; Director, Future of Human Rights Practicum

Democracy Unmoored: Populism and the Corruption of Popular Sovereignty by Samuel Issacharoff, Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law

Rory Meyers College of Nursing 

Recommended works written by NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing faculty and alumni!

Lifestyle Nursing by Gia Merlo, M.D., M.B.A., Clinical Professor of Nursing

Someone to Watch Over You: Finding Your Strength Within by Ellen Reed ‘72

If My Mother Never Left  by Burak Yilmaz ‘18

School of Professional Studies 

Recommended works picked by NYU School of Professional Studies staff!

How Basketball Can Save the World by David Hollander 

Humans at Work: The Art and Practice of Creating the Hybrid Workplace by Anna Travis 

The Serendipity Mindset: The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck by Christian Busch 

Voracious Violets Online Book Club 

A list of titles alumni have been reading together in the NYU Alumni Voracious Violets Online Book Club!

May-July 2022, Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond

Aug-Oct 2022, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb

Oct-Dec 2022, Klara and the Sun by Kazu Ishiguro

Jan-Mar 2023, The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

March-May 2023, On a Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark


2023 Alumni Summer Reading List 

Get ready to explore identity, culture, and social consciousness as you dive into these powerful works by NYU alumni that help pave the way towards a more equitable and inclusive world. 

Learning to Disclose: A Journey of Transracial Adoption by Joni Schwartz (STEINHARDT '85) and Rebecca Schwartz (SPS '13) 

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour (CAS '12)

Solito: A Memoir by Javier Jose Zamora (GSAS '14)

The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop by Clover Hope (CAS '05)

BLACK FOOD by Briant Terry (GSAS '01) 

Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present by Jamia Wilson (GSAS '09)

The American Way: A True Story of Nazi Escape, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe by Helene Stapinski (WSC '87) and Bonnie Siegler 

No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminilizes Immigrants by Alina Das (LAW '05)