By Nia Henderson
Something you may not know about Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford is that he loves to read. Reading has been a big part of his life and even though he is often on the road working he still finds time to read for pleasure. His love for reading was cultivated by the environment he grew up in. “There were always books around our home, and we spent a lot of time in the public libraries in St. Louis,” Crawford said.
The women in his life were instrumental in making his love for reading flourish. His mom, aunt and grandmother all enjoyed different genres of literature. “[my] mother was fond of biographies, my aunt enjoyed romance novels, and my grandmother read the Bible and books on spirituality,” Crawford said.
The first book President Crawford recalls falling in love with as a child is the psychological thriller “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. At the age of 10 or 11 he was captivated by the plot twists and having to problem-solve. This is one of the only books he has read twice.
Due to his busy life as president of the University, airplanes are where he does most of what he describes as his pleasure reading. “When time permits, I enjoy mystery and spy novels. I love the character development, intrigue/suspense, plot twists and the exotic/international settings in which the stories are set,” he said.
Although he loves the thrill of sci-fi novels, President Crawford is also a self-described Jane Austen fan. He said “I enjoy the arch dialogue and humor of her characters, and her insightful commentary through them about class, culture and the human condition in Britain during the 18th century.”
His favorite authors include Patricia Highsmith, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dan Brown, John le Carre, Dashiell Hammett, Scott Turow, Ken Follett and Stieg Larsson.
Here are six books President Crawford suggests you read while in college:
Our Kids: The American
Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam
Putnam, a humanist and scientist, published this book in 2015 and examines the growing inequality gap in America.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Coates writes this book as if it is written as a letter to his teenage son. It illustrates the feelings, symbolism and realities of being black in the United States.
1984 by George Orwell
This book is a dystopian novel that takes place in Airstrip One (better known by the reader as Great Britain) in a world of government surveillance, war and public manipulation.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … And It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
As the title suggests, this book is about how to keep little bumps in the road of life from driving you insane. It offers tips on how to calm down while going through a stress-filled life.
Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
“Nickel and Dimed” illustrates what “prosperity” looks like in low-rent America. You will never look at your daily life the same way again.
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
Friedman analyzes globalization in the 21st century. He alludes to the shift required to remain competitive in a global market.