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Falcon's Bookshelf

The Lone Star College-CyFair Library book blog. Discover the great books our LSC-CyFair faculty and staff are reading!

October 2022 • Dr. Matthew Dempsey, Vice President of Instruction

Do you have a guilty pleasure book?

The Harry Potter Series. I’ve been through them several times. There is a certain nostalgia remembering waiting in anticipation for each one to come out.   

hunger games book coverWhat is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?

Dystopian fiction is my favorite genre. I believe reading Huxley’s Brave New World, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Orwell’s Animal Farm, John Christopher’s Tripods series and to some extent Wyss’ Swiss Family Robinson as a kid laid a foundation that has persisted. My favorite modern dystopian fiction titles are Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games as well as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. My favorite element of dystopian literature is the eventual realization that starting over doesn’t necessarily mean better. I really enjoy rooting against homogenization and the spirit of the rebels against the empire, which would explain why I am also a huge Star Wars & Marvel fan. I avoid nonfiction literature because when I do have precious time to read, it’s to escape reality.   

What is a book you dislike/hate that everyone loves? Do you remember the last time you put down a book without finishing?  

I rarely put down a book, even one that I do not like. When I was studying literature at UCLA, there were two books that I distinctly remember closing and defiantly not finishing: (1) To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and (2) The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. The irony about the Red Badge is its such a short book, but for some reason its an albatross for me. I have started it three times. Maybe when I retire, I can revisit them both anew.   

What book is currently sitting on your nightstand?  penderwicks on gardam book cover

That’s complicated because it's never really a single book. I am currently finishing up (for the third time) Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.   I’m on the 7th novel of this series. I am also starting the 2nd book in the Penderwick Series, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Despite my preference to keep my reading fictional, I also try to read to help me improve my leadership skills. My current title along those lines is From Equity Talk to Equity Walk.

Are there any classic novels you read recently for the first time?

I am so embarrassed to say there are two major classics that I found myself getting into very late. I consider myself a late adopter to the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. However, I redeemed myself by reading the entire book series for each and they are among some of my favorite books of all time. 42!  

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, what, where how).  

I am an audiobook listener. Ideally, it's while I am in the car. Fortunately/unfortunately, my new work commute isn’t long enough to sustain audiobooks. So, I try to catch up on audiobooks while walking or jogging. I used to love having large swatches of time to immerse myself in a book, but for the time being I will enjoy the small parcels of time I have with literature.     

saving fish from drowning book coverDo you have a favorite book no one else has heard of?  

I don’t even remember how I heard of it, but I really enjoyed David Howarth’s We Die Alone. To what extent it’s unknown I am unsure, but I don’t know anyone who has read it. The book was recommended by the library since I had just finished Unbroken. Like Unbroken it’s a story of resilience against the odds. I know most people have heard of Amy Tan from The Joy Luck Club, but my favorite book of hers is Saving Fish from Drowning. That book had a Don DeLillo and Flannery O’Connor sense of absurdity that was just a joy (pain!) to read.      

What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?  

This summer when we were on our road trip, the family listened to The Penderwicks and that book is a roller coaster of good laughs. The book was fantastic for the whole family.      

Do you prefer books that reach you emotionally, or intellectually?  

Emotionally and it's not even close. I’ve had audiobooks reach me on a level where I had to pull over to get my head on right.   

What book might people be surprised to find on your bookshelf?  anne of green gables book cover

I absolutely love the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. Anne Shirley is a magnificent character and her spirit for life, her imagination, and her resiliency are an inspiration.    

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?  

Insatiable reader. My dad likes to tell the story of when I was a kid, I used to check out large stacks of books and the librarian used to be in disbelief that I could read as many titles as I did. Finally, the librarians relented, and I guess that’s how I managed to get an adult library card at a very young age …to help the circulation desk.   

What do you plan to read next?  

After reading Daryl Woodruff’s Falcon Bookshelf post, I hope to add the Hebert’s Dune series to my reading list. However, I do have to finish up the Penderwick series. As far as leadership books, Dean Fay Lee recommended the books of Adam Grant, so I have those earmarked for my next reading. Sure would love to read The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring by George R.R. Martin, but alas we wait.    

one and only ivan book coverWhat book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV series that hasn’t already been adapted?  

For my youngest daughter – the Warrior Cat series by Erin Hunter. She loves those books. After reading the first novel and seeing how many volumes there are, the only way I am getting through that series is if they make it into a movie or TV series. My eldest daughter introduced me to Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and the movie adaptation was fabulous. So naturally we are looking forward to a film adaptation for The One and Only Bob which we all listened to on our road trip this past summer.  

What’s the last book you read that made you cry?  

Besides the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation? – Just kidding. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 - no spoilers. King’s11-22-63-book-cover character development is phenomenal, and that book is a serious investment in time and emotion. I was listening to it in an audiobook, and it was too slow to finish. I owned a hard copy and switched over to finish the book.      

Where do you find your books? Where do you look when you’re searching for your next great read?  

I get a lot of recommendations from friends and family. Leah Stark at the library has been such a great source for books for my girls. I also love the feature on the HCPL app that shows me what is currently being checked out. I have been loving these Falcon Bookshelf posts to see what my colleagues are reading. 
 

Dr. Matthew Dempsey, Vice President of Instruction