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Our Avid Readers Make Their Summer Selections
What do JHM’s bookworms have on their nightstands? We reveal what they’re reading and why.

Hilary Sporney
practice administrator, JH Community Physicians
I grew up in England, where my parents took us to the library every Saturday. By age 9, I had read everything in the children’s library. Now I rarely go anywhere without a book. Lined up for the summer are Betrayals by Charles Palliser, Umberto Eco’s Baudolino, The Fourth Inspector Morse Omnibus by Colin Dexter and a couple of Ian Rankin’s. I like my books to be at least an inch thick—coming to the end is like losing an old friend.

David Hellmann
chairman, Department of Medicine, JH Bayview
Now that I can download books to my iPod, I’m able to “read” for nearly an hour a day as I drive back and forth to Bayview. I enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, so I’m looking forward to reading his newest book, Collapse, in which he explains why some civilizations and countries have failed. As a history buff, I’m also eager to read David McCullough’s 1776.

Diana Gumas
medical informatics manager, JH @ Eastern
Reading is a guilty pleasure—I’m happy to read three books in a weekend. This summer I’ll focus on China and Tibet as I prepare for a three-week dream trip. I’ll be reading River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze; Encountering the Chinese: a Guide for Americans and Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. Plus, as manager of the electronic patient record, I’ll check out Modernizing Legacy Systems and Leading Geeks. And I’m currently fulfilling a personal life goal: reading the Bible from cover to cover.

Crystal Simpson
assistant dean for student affairs, School of Medicine
I’m reading The Scalpel and the Silver Bear by Lori Alvord, a memoir about integrating Navajo approaches to healing with high-tech medical procedures, so I can increase my cultural competence about Native Americans. Also on my list is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, to understand what’s necessary to create a change in culture.

Rodney Marshall
HVAC controls mechanic, JHH Facilities
I didn’t really start reading until I was in my 30s, when a friend recommended Yeager, the autobiography of fighter pilot Chuck Yeager. Since then I’ve gobbled up all of Stephen Coonts’ works of military fiction (just finished his latest, America) and all of the Harry Potter series, swapping with my youngest daughter. Right now I’m reading Broadway: The American Musical, companion to the PBS series, to learn more about my girlfriend’s theater profession.

Christine Umstot
director of business development, Bayview
I started a book club, “Read between the Wines,” where we read a book, then gather to discuss it over thematic food and wine. For Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, we did Italian food; for Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, South American. Ribs and chicken wings nourished us for The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (sick, huh?). Right now we’re reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which will go with Middle Eastern food. I also plan to read Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje and The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant.

Kate Oliver
associate director, communications, Welch Medical Library
Growing up, every corridor of our house was lined with bookshelves, and every week we’d file out of the public library, books stacked to our noses. My list this summer consists of books that have languished, unread, on my bookshelves for months and years: Richard Preston’s The Demon in the Freezer and The Hot Zone; Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird; Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex; Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: Funny Women Write from the Road; and Caravaggio, by Helen Langdon.

Sharon Krumm
director of nursing, Kimmel Cancer Center
My first summer reading goal is to finish The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Jose Saramago, author of Blindness. In the wings are Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles; Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead; David McCullough’s biography of George Washington (1776); and Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat.

David Chang
research program coordinator, Surgery
Next to my bed is The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine. At a place like Hopkins where we are a bunch of overachievers—where we have to strive to work less than 80 hours a week—we’re quick to judge others as being “lazy.” This book makes the point that everyone wants to be a productive member of society. It’s just that some people have “output failure,” much like a machine stuck in gear. So instead of “laziness” being some intrinsic trait with a bad connotation, the author argues that it’s really more of a certifiable handicap.

Donna Milligan
career services associate, JHH/JHHSC Human Resources
I love mysteries, romances and books about spiritual growth. On my summer list are Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Joel Osteen, James Patterson’s 4th of July and Sandra Brown’s Chill Factor. It’ll be like a vacation—without having to fly.

Lynn Shepke
executive assistant, client relations, JH HealthCare
I’ve been reading since I was able—usually about two books a week. I only buy hardbacks and have a collection of nearly 500. Started off reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz but went to mysteries as I got older. Now I’m a big fan of authors such as Patricia Cornwell, Tess Garretsen, Sue Grafton, Tami Hoag, Kay Hooper, Alex Kava, Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter.

Emilio Williams
director, JHM Interactive, Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care
This summer’s reading is inspired by business trips to Dubai, Singapore, Lebanon and Mexico. Working at Hopkins, I can relate to American Mania’s thesis that our immigrant society has pre-selected entrepreneurial, hyperactive individuals. Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat seems appropriate now that Hopkins is getting involved with up-and-coming superpowers India and China. Finally, there’s Visión de Nueva York by Carmen Martin Gaite, 20th century Spain’s most important female writer, an unedited diary found among her papers when she died in 2000.

—Compiled by Lindsay Roylance




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