Summer Reads: Vol. 3

whose names are unknown

Our summer reading series continues with creative suggestions from three more Pitts staff members:

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, then Special Collections Reference Assistant Debra Madera has the book for you. She’s just finished reading Whose Names Are Unknown, by Sanora Babb, a novel based on the author’s personal experience of living in the Dust Bowl (specifically Oklahoma) during the Depression. Debra says that Babb “writes eloquently and with empathy, painting a vivid picture of the many struggles faced by displaced farmers who were forced to move West and become migrant workers.” The intriguing title comes from a 1930’s legal eviction notice addressed to “John Doe and Mary Doe Whose Names are Unknown”—a poignant reminder of the difficulties inherent in farming arid, government-owned land.

As Debra notes, although this book had been accepted by a publisher in 1939, it was then shelved due to the “perceived market saturation” caused by John Steinbeck’s wildly popular Grapes of Wrath. Fortunately, Babb was encouraged by a friend to revisit the manuscript—which was published in 2004, when she was 97 years old.

night valeIf you’ve got a road trip (or summer exercise plans) ahead, we also have a few podcast suggestions for you: Brandon Wason, Curator of Archives and Manuscripts, suggests the hilarious and captivating “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast. Set in the small desert town of Night Vale, these podcasts are billed as “twice-monthly updates” from a community that often experiences….mysterious events. Listen to find out more!

hardcore history

If you’re in the mood for something more dramatic, Bo Adams, Head of Public Services, suggests Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” podcast. In this series, Carlin comments creatively on a wide array of historical people and places–  ranging chronologically from ancient Persia to World War II. Dive in for a fascinating (if somewhat in-your-face) take on some of history’s most memorable events!

Posted in Books | 1 Comment

Summer Reads: Vol. 2

As the Atlanta temperatures begin their ascent, we at Pitts try to embrace summer possibilities like The Great Gatsby’s Nick Carraway: “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. There was so much to read, for one thing.”

51Ajxb4YL-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Since there is so much to read, we continue our summer reading suggestions with advice from circulation guru Myron McGhee and Interlibrary Loan genius Anne Marie McLean. In addition to his famous photography skills, Myron also reads widely, and his suggestions reflect that variety. First, for sports fans and anyone interested in the industry that has arisen around professional athletics, Myron suggests Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media (University of Illinois Press, 2014) by Travis Vogan. Myron says this fun summer read “provides a spot on description how of NFL Films founders, the father son duo of Ed and Steve Sabol propelled American football’s popularity far and above any other sport in America.” This book is both “a fascinating history of the NFL” and a reminder of the “music, images, and mystique created by the films whose techniques have revolutionized sports broadcasting.”

levels1Second, passing on the suggestion of an Emory faculty member, Myron also recommends two works by Julian Barnes: Levels of Life (Vintage, 2014) and Nothing to Be Frightened Of (Vintage, 2009). Myron explains that Levels of Life walks the line between memoir and fiction, exploring “the early history of ballooning and aerial photography and a fictional encounter between British Army officer Fred Burnaby and French actor Sarah Bernhardt, which leads to a reflection in response to the untimely death of the the author’s wife, Pat Kavanaugh.” Along the same lines, Nothing to be Frightened Of is a memoir/essay on mortality, “written in the author’s humorous and cynical style.” Myron believes that both of these works offer “an intriguing balance of history, deep personal reflections, humor and cynicism.”

41EDQ203oQLAnne Marie’s suggestion comes out Dr. Carol Newsom’s “Bible and Care of the Earth” course, and she highly recommends Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow (Counterpoint, 2000). The book follows the life of man who has dropped out of seminary to contemplate the “big questions,” and it includes his reflections on “life in a small, rural town as the industrialization of farming starts to break up families and communities.” Anne Marie says the story is sprinkled with questions of eco-theology– for her, reading this book “was much more powerful than any Al Gore documentary.”

We can think of no better way to celebrate the glory of an Atlanta summer!


Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Summer Reads: Vol. 1

Congratulations to the Emory and Candler communities for finishing the year on a high note — and particular congratulations to students in the Class of 2016! Whether you are headed to a new job, further education, or the perfect (much deserved) vacation, Pitts Library staff members have put together a list of our favorite books to keep you company.

bernadetteIf the beach is in your near future, Circulation Specialist Hannah Parks has the book for you! According to Hannah, Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go Bernadette” (New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2012) is the perfect summer read: a screwball comedy about a plucky teenage girl and her eccentric mother as they navigate the ridiculous world of private schools and pushy parents.

Caroline Saxton ’16T, circulation student assistant and recent Candler alum, also recommends reading books that are fun and enjoyable, alongside the more “serious academic stuff.” She says “pleasure reading is what got me through seminary. In the midst of all of the reading I had to do, I made time to read things that I wanted to read. Fiction and novels, non-fiction and biography, whatever you find enjoyable is worth reading–and even re-reading!”

bondiOn Caroline’s list for summer 2016 are “Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song” by Brian Wren (Louisville, Ky. : Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), as well as Houses: A Family Memoir of Grace” (Nashville, TN : Abingdon Press, 2000) by Roberta Bondi, Candler Professor Emerita of Church History. Caroline also suggests  “Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life” (New York : Riverhead Books, 2008) by Kathleen Norris, and “Bay of Sighs,” one of the books in Nora Roberts’ “Guardian’s Trilogy.”

Stay tuned throughout the month of May for more great reading suggestions from Pitts staff members– and don’t forget that we are open during the summer for in-person reading recommendations!


Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Summer Hours Have Begun

As of Wednesday, May 4, Pitts is operating on summer hours. This means we are open Monday through Friday, 7:30am-5:00pm, and closed Saturdays and Sundays. If you have any questions about Pitts hours or programming during the summer, please visit or contact a reference librarian. Happy Summer!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extended Hours for Finals, Lecture Hall Open, but…Shhhh!

The Pitts Theology Library is pleased to extend our hours for reading days and finals. Starting Friday, April 22, and running through exams (May 4), the Library will remain open an extra 2 hours each day, until 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm Sundays-Thursdays. For full details, visit We will also be opening the Lecture Hall (360) as an open study space. During this time, though, we will be a completely silent library, so please take all conversations and phone calls outside of the library, or in the study rooms. Good luck with finals, and Congratulations graduates!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alumni Services at Pitts

Congratulations to the class of 2016! Pitts Theology Library is here for you now, and will continue to be here for you after you graduate.

Did you know that, as a Candler alum, you can:

All are welcome to join us for coffee and tea at the library entrance this Thursday, April 21 from 2-3 pm to find out more. We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Digital Resources at Pitts

Did you know that the Pitts collections extend far beyond the books you see on the shelves? Even though we love seeing you here in the library, we work hard to make materials available to you, wherever you are in the world. For a small sample, check out our digital collections site (, the Digital Image Archive of over 55,000 images from our rare book collection (, our online exhibits page (, and our digital teaching tools site ( You can also access our research guides (, including the online guide that helps you find online resources (how Meta- is that?: And if you’re ever interested in the digital humanities or the process of digital curation, we’d love to talk to you about how we go about creating and curating digital content. As always, if you have questions about this material (or anything else), please Contact a Reference Librarian.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Save time, ask a librarian!

Do you need help finding sources? Organizing a research paper? Formatting citations? Pitts Reference Librarians are here to help mitigate the flood of finals-related stress! No question is too large or too small– we would love to put our nerdiness to work for you. Stop by the reference desk anytime from 8:30-5 (M-F), or contact us via email at theologyref [at] emory [dot] edu,

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exhibit on Passover Haggadah

Each year at the Passover Seder, Jewish families read from the Haggadah (“telling”), a book that tells the story of deliverance from slavery in Egypt. In 2007, a Jewish rabbi and Emory College alum named Rabbi David Geffen offered his collection of Haggadot to the Pitts Theology Library. We were surprised and delighted at this generous offer, which would lay the foundation for a new direction of collecting for the library. To build a collection of Haggadot at Emory would enable faculty and students from across the university to explore this religious observance and how it has been adapted for and nourished faith communities across the globe. Rabbi Geffen donated his 99 Haggadot to the Pitts Library, forming “The David Geffen Haggadot Collection.” As word spread in the Jewish community, Lauren Azoulai contacted the Pitts Library about her father’s collection. Richard K. Goldstein was a Jewish social worker, who for 30 years had been collecting Haggadot, enlisting family and friends in his efforts. He decided to donate 579 Haggadot to Pitts, forming “The Richard K. Goldstein Haggadah Collection.” Since these two gifts, several others have donated Haggadot to the Pitts Theology Library, and so the library continues to be blessed.

To commemorate the beginning of Emory’s Haggadot collections, the Pitts Theology Library has found an ally in the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, and the two will mount an exhibit on March 7 – June 30, 2016 in the new exhibition gallery of the Pitts Library. Curated by Adam T. Strater, the exhibit, “Reading the Telling: The Passover Haggadah Across Time and Place,” is open to the public at no charge, during regular library hours. Free tours will be offered on select Friday afternoons. Register for a tour at:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pitts Theology Library Good Friday/Easter Hours

In celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the Pitts Theology Library will be closed on Friday, March 25 – Sunday, March 27. The library will resume its normal business hours at 7:30am on Monday, March 28. For questions about Pitts hours, visit or contact a Reference Librarian at theologyref [at] emory [dot] edu or 404.727.0645.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment