Justice Education

Good Reads

We asked our authors to recommend a book they had read over the past couple of years. Here is what they said:

A Severe Mercy

by Sheldon Vanauken

In A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken guides us into the depths of human love and grief. He shows us that, remarkably, everything is gift—and that our greatest loves and most painful losses are equal channels of grace, mercy, and connection. —Kelli Reagan Hickey

The Covenant of Water

by Abraham Verghese

A magisterial tale set across three generations in Kerala in South India. Verghese is a master (as in his earlier novel, Cutting for Stone) at weaving medicine’s progress into cultural and religious sensibilities and political complexities across the world, while beautifully narrating dynamics within and across families. —L. Gregory Jones

The Excellent Mind

by Nathan King

King writes about the character traits of excellent thinkers and how important these traits are, not just for academics but in everyday life. He also tells the stories of people who embody traits such as intellectual courage, perseverance, and charity. It is an enjoyable, edifying text. —Sabrina B. Little

The Day of Shelly’s Death

The Poetry and Ethnography of Grief

by Rosaldo Renato

This book expresses the journey of grief and mourning over the tragic death of the author’s wife in an accident in a remote village while on their anthropological research trip. He pens mainly poetry and two brief essays to do so. It’s compelling because it engages something all humans endure—loss and grief. —Luke A. Powery

People Love Dead Jews

by Dara Horn

Dara Horn has a PhD in comparative literature in Hebrew and Yiddish, and her thoughts about how Jews understand themselves in literature as well as figure in popular discussions is insightful, right, and, to that extent, tragic. The chapter on Varian Fry, rescuer of artists in the Holocaust, could be the foundation of an ethics class. —Jesse S. Summers


Activate Your Heroic Potential

by Brian Johnson

The book offers astute psychological and philosophical guidance for developing one’s full potential, and does this with a clear moral compass throughout. —Bill Damon

The Bee Sting

by Paul Murray

My latest recommendation is Paul Murray’s The Bee Sting—a tragicomic tale of one Irish family’s drama from the banal to the serious. Read on a very long flight, I love how, in this equally long book, Murray juxtaposes the prosaic and the profound to illustrate how easily real life challenges interfere with our grand life plans. Purpose needs constant updating. —Suzanne Shanahan

Spring 2024

From the Editor


Suzanne Shanahan

Part I: Pursuing Virtue

Sabrina B. Little

Kelli Reagan Hickey

Blest Be the Ties that Bind: Remembering a Purpose of Religio in Higher Education

Luke A. Powery

Interlude: Purposeful Pursuits

Part II: Pursuing Vocation

James Coleman, Jr.