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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Professors give book recommendations for students

The Antelope Vol. 4


I remember when I was twelve or thirteen years old and my only friend was Nancy Drew. I averaged one Nancy Drew book every day until I finished all 64 books. I sobbed in my room the summer I finished the series because it felt like I lost all of my friends. This was my life as a homeschooled middle-schooler. 

Fast forward through high-school and college and I’ve often complained to my friends about how I feel like school has taken the fun out of reading for me.  I can barely interest myself over the newest best-selling novel in between the heavy-academia reading I cram during college. Usually a good story with some freshly hot brewed tea was the perfect night-cap but during the semester, I can barely muster up enough brain cells at night for any extra reading. 

But alas! I am graduate as of this December so I thought now would be more appropriate than ever to start my reading list for next year. Thus, I emailed a handful of UNK professors on their book recommendations for students. I asked them to recommend a book they think would be a great read for life in general- fiction or non-fiction. To my delight, they were eager to respond.

Dr. Annarose Steinke and Dr. John Falconer surprisingly gave me the same book recommendation. Dr. Falconer is the Director of the Honors Program and Dr. Steinke is an Assistant Professor of English. Her specialty is Modernism and her favorite literature is a novel. 

“I often find myself thinking about certain characters as I’m going through my day, wondering how they’re doing and what’s going to happen next. And when you finish, it can seem like saying goodbye to a close friend whom you won’t see for awhile (until enough time’s gone by to read it again!)” she says in her email to me. 

Hmmm… sound familiar?

Both Falconer and Stienke recommended the book “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Stienke praises the authors writing. She’s funny, ironic, poignant, and profound. The novel itself deals with so much that is relatable to college students and young people everywhere. The book moves back and forth between Nigeria and the U.S. relating to what people in their teens and 20s are facing: financial struggles, mental health, family drama, and relationships. 

Dr. Jake Jacobsen recommends the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Jake has served as a professor in the Communications department for 26 years. She says whenever students stumble into her office respondent and confused, asking her advice on what they should do with their life, she reaches to her bookshelf and hands them this remarkable book. She claims it will open your eyes and make you think outside yourself. 

Dr. Gene Fendt, a professor of philosophy, recommends “The Last of the Just” by Andre Schwartz-Bart. He claims that while it is probably too long for most attention spans- it begins with an old Jewish legend that the world is allowed to continue because it is (speaking spiritually, not literally, as Augustine would explain) borne upon the backs of 12 just men. No one really knows who they are; they themselves might not know; they are born and die because they are just ordinary men who sometimes are doing some extraordinary thing. Fendt ended his email saying, “It (the book) will break you in half; I am afraid to start it again. It is in our library, if you dare.”

Other professor book recommendations:

Dr. Denys VanRenen: “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf

Prof. Bambi VanHorn: “The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior” by Jonah Berger

Dr. Bailey Kochw: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Sww

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