Around The World In Books

Looking for a good read from Switzerland or a book recommendation about Chinese culture? We’ve got you covered. Duke faculty, staff, and alumni from around the world share their favorite books that provide insight into the culture and history of their region.


Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke

Chosen by Beth Holmgren, Duke Professor of Polish and Russian Studies

“This book is a fascinating mystery enriched by the troubles of its detective protagonist — Black Texas Ranger Darren Mathews — as he re-examines his marriage, the racists he deals with in his job, and the people he looked up to during his childhood in East Texas.”

Beth Holmgren


People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn

Chosen by Joyce Gordon, Duke Director for Jewish Life

“Horn examines how the capturing the stories of Jewish communities in various places and moments in time is an exercise that is much-lauded (and sometimes becomes an engine of tourism, such as the Jewish memorial site in Harbin, China), but that is not often investigated. The “People Love Dead Jews” of the title refers to society’s fixation on the Jews of the past – the communities and artifacts that Jewish people left behind – rather than an exploration of why Jews left communities, synagogues, and artifacts behind in the first place. The answer, sadly, is antisemitism, violence, and bigotry.

Joyce Gordon