Jennifer Corbin, MLS, Library: Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor
Book: Roll With It : Brass bands in the Streets of New Orleans by Matt Sakakeeny, illustrated by Willie Birch
The book I selected is one that gave me a deeper understanding of New Orleans music and musicians — Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans by ethnomusicologist Matt Sakakeeny. When I moved to New Orleans in 2007, I was familiar with the second lines that follow funeral processions but I had limited knowledge of New Orleans Brass Band traditions. The book outlines the role of brass bands, jazz funerals, and second lines in New Orleans culture. It describes the tension between bands that have a more traditional approach and those that are incorporating hip-hop, R&B, and funk into their compositions. It provides insight into the lives of musicians who face structural racism, poverty, and violence before and after the levees broke in 2005. This book has enriched my experience listening to and watching brass bands at second lines. The author’s website includes videos, reading guides, and more to explore.
Randall Croom, PhD, Management: Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor
Books: The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein and Marvin and the Man by Randall Croom
I have to choose two. The first is The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein. It’s the first book I ever gave my girlfriend, who is now my wife, freshman year at Florida A&M. It’s a book that helps you love others, love yourself, and keep moving forward. It’s classified as a children’s book, but don’t worry–it’s written so simply that even an adult can understand it. The second is Marvin and the Man, by me. I’d read about a great writer working on what he knew to be his last book: he was terminally ill, with months to live. Yet he described those painful last days working on his opus as being full of life. Writing Marvin helped me understand: living feels different when you know the reason why. When I was writing, I felt like the work and the living I did every day meant something. I wanted to keep feeling like that. That’s part of how I ended up doing the work I do now. it feels like it’s part of my life’s purpose, and I believe the key to living well is living on purpose. Everybody procrastinates on something, but procrastination about your life’s purpose reflects an arrogant belief that you will be given tomorrow to do what you know you ought to be doing today. Because while we may not all be ill, we’re all terminal. Might as well get to the work that means something to us, and both of these books have helped me do that by influencing the direction and intensity of how I live, love, and work.
Michael Eskenazi, PhD, Psychology: Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor
Book: The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
Though I’ve read hundreds of academic articles and books in my career, not one of them sticks out as an answer to this question. Oddly enough, the first book that came to mind was Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece. There are many important life lessons packed into this short children’s book, but the main one that has stayed with me is that there is an incredible amount of joy and excitement in searching for something. As researchers, we are focused on searching for answers, but whenever we find an answer, we find even more questions to pursue. This results in a life and career spent continuously searching, much like the missing piece. From a young age, my mother read this book to me frequently and instilled in me a joy of searching that I have carried over into my research career. So thanks to my mom for reading to me and indirectly showing me how much fun research can be.
Holley Lynch, PhD, Physics: Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor
Book: Biological Physics of the Developing Embryo by Gabor Forgacs and Stuart A. Newman
In graduate school I took an interdisciplinary, cross-listed course that used this textbook. Through that course, I saw how researchers trained in different disciplines didn’t just bring different tools to studying a complex process like development, but also were interested in asking and exploring different questions. This cemented my interest in interdisciplinary research. This book continues to be an excellent tool because it provides an overview of some of the most relevant information from different fields for key processes during early development.
Steven Smallpage, PhD, Political Science: Tenured and Promoted to Associate Professor
Book: The American Voter Revisited by Michael S. Lewis-Beck et al.
This book radically changed my trajectory as a graduate student. When I entered graduate school, I wanted nothing to do with either quantitative political science or the study of American politics. Then I was assigned this book in one of my graduate seminars. The first thing that struck me was the ease with which the authors built the case for understanding the social-psychological mechanisms that drive American voters: partisanship isn’t something that one can easily pick up or put down; it is an affective attachment to the Party. And, the simple, yet decisive, use of quantitative evidence to support their arguments convinced me that quantitative evidence doesn’t have to be overly complicated or aloof. Entering graduate school, I assumed that I knew how Americans thought about politics. But, thanks to this book, I left graduate school with a drive to understand, in new ways, that which I assumed I already knew.