Professor Karl Martin is a Point Loma Nazarene University alumni and faculty member in the LJWL department (Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages) with a Ph. D in American Studies. For this week’s issue, Professor Martin shares his top five books of the summer with The Point.
“Adam Bede” by George Eliot (1859)
My wife and I had the chance to spend a couple of weeks in England this summer, and I wanted to take along an English novel to read while traveling. Eliot’s novel was a great choice. She sets the novel in England during the rise of Methodism and writes a wonderful love story between two people who only eventually find one another.
“There There” by Tommy Orange (2018)
Set in Oakland among an Indigenous community, the novel does a great job of displaying the complexity of holding on to cultural identity in a multicultural society. It was fun to read a novel set in my native Bay Area.
“Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
A lot of my summer reading time is spent trying to keep up with 21st century American fiction. I have been trying to find time for this big novel for awhile. Eugenides tells both an immigrant story about a Greek family’s journey to America and also a story of a transexual coming to terms with their identity. It is a very moving novel. And the Nation of Islam makes an unexpected appearance as well.
“Best American Short Stories 2021”
On my annual reading list is the collection of twenty stories published each year. I finished the 2021 volume this summer and discovered some short story writers I’ll be tracking in the coming years.
“Film as Religion: Myths, Morals, and Rituals” by John Lyden (2003)
I traveled to Amsterdam to attend an international conference on Religion and Film where I presented a paper on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Lyden was the keynote speaker, so I wanted to read his book before hearing him speak. I’m glad I did. He does a nice job of detailing the central role that moviegoing plays in the lives of so many in contemporary America.