by Natalie Romero

We asked our faculty, staff, and students to share what they are currently reading. To see the additional recommendations printed in the Fall 2020 issue, please visit

Black Enough, Edited by Ibi Zoboi (2019)

A compilation of short stories written by black authors about issues faced by teens in today’s society.

The stories are raw and real. This book celebrates diversity from the perspective of black teenagers (in the age range of our students).” 

Erica Garcia, Departments of English and Criminal Justice


The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen (1992) 

After Henri Nouwen had a chance encounter with Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son” he penned this beautiful analysis of the parable—an exploration of the transformation each person can experience thanks to the love of God. 

“This book will calm your soul in the midst of a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. I like what he has to say about joy in pages 114-118. ‘God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end…No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found. What I am called to is to enter into that joy. It is God’s joy, not the joy that the world offers. It is the joy that comes from seeing a child walk home amid all the destruction, devastation, and anguish of the world..’” 

— Liz Won, Departments of Biology and Music

Wonder, Fear, and Longing by Mark Yaconelli (2009

A book of stories, poetry, meditative practices and prayerful imaginings that encourage hearts into prayer. It reminds us to stop and listen, turn and welcome the love of God.   

I enjoyed the soulfulness of this book. It is a small book, with sections easily divided for daily readings, yet I never wanted to put it down.” 

Daphne Thomas, Social Work

Debt 101 by Michele Cagan (2020) 

 The key to borrowing, managing, and paying off debt is understanding what it is, how it works and how it can affect your finances and your life.

“When I was looking for something that would help me understand all the mumbo jumbo about investments and financial obligations, this book was there at the right time and the right place.” 

— Kyle Bugayong, SALSU

How Dead Languages Work by Coulter H. George (2020) 

From Latin and Greek, to Sanskrit and Old Irish, this book will captivate anyone interested in the linguistic history of the way people thought and wrote.  Each chapter surveys the unique grammar and syntax of a different ancient language.  

It is fun to see how different languages work and express ideas, and have influenced the modern languages of the world.  I enjoyed seeing the distinct features of each language illustrated in excerpts from actual texts (translated) that really gave a sense of how that language conveyed information and how different that could be from modern English.” 

Kent Bramlett, Biblical Studies and Archaeology (HMS Richards Divinity School)

The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White (1890) 

This book is about the controversy between Christ and Satan, and how our world (and each individual person) fits into that scene.   

“Although the book covers some historical content and object lessons, it still had a theme that was conveyed throughout its entirety, just like any other book. As someone who is very picky about what my mind consumes, this book was so beautiful in emphasizing the need for us individually, and as a world, to uphold the Word of God instead of relying on man’s interpretations and theories. Without the Word of God, we will naturally repeat the tragedies committed in past ages. ” 

Cathlyn Junio, SALSU

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson (1997

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is full of inspiration for everyone. It contains practical lessons about life, especially not allowing small things to overpower you.   

This book is very easy to read and full of psychological reasoning. I found great lessons on how to nurture and be of great support to oneself and to others.” 

Audrey P. Gaspard, Student Financial Services

Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill (1937) 

One of the first self-motivation books ever published, “Think and Grow Rich!” has never been out of print. This exploration of personal success emphasizes that through commitment, visualization, and persistence you can change your life.

“One of my favorites! Great for personal and career development!” 

— Alexander Alonso, Physical Plant (Facilities)

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (2017) 

The book focuses on how ownership in one’s actions as a leader leads to fruitful and successful teams, from the military to family.  

The book emphasizes how leaders must be humble and accept ALL responsibility. Our own ego makes us point the blame towards unsuccessful outcomes to others, when in reality, we should all align ourselves with a culture of ownership for our actions as well as the actions of our team.” 

Alan Cortez, SALSU