New Faculty Spotlight: By the Book with Traci Groff-Jones

Editor's note: Traci Groff-Jones recently joined Lighthouse to teach fiction (welcome, Traci!). Keep an eye out for her upcoming classes. In the meantime, she generously put together a list of some of her more recent, memorable reads below.

I generally read fiction, but on the rare occasion will venture into the nonfiction realm if a subject interests me. Below are some of the books I either always recommend when asked or give as gifts to another reader. I’ve also added a couple of non-book related things that I love.

  • The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon. I love the shifting perspectives she used in this book. It is a YA book jammed packed with romance, science, immigration, and a multiracial perspective of youth in America.
  • Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood PalChristopher Moore. Writing humor is hard and Christopher Moore has it down to a science. His snarky, bawdy humor isn’t for everyone, but it tickles me. I chose Lamb because it was the book that lead to me to his other novels. It’s sacrilegious, silly, weird, and funny - just like all his other books. He’s one of my automatic buys (see below).
  • My must buy Fiction Authors (aka authors whose books I pre-order) Lee Child – Love the recurring character in his thriller books (ignore the gross miscasting of Tom Cruise in the movies), Ruta Sepetys – captivating historical fiction novels.  I love learning about small aspects of history through the eyes of her characters – highly recommend between Shades of Grey or Salt to the Sea. For romances – Stephanie Laurens, Jasmine Guillory, and Julia Quinn. For YA – Sharon Draper and Tiffany D. Jackson. For Adult Fiction – Terry McMillan, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, Lisa See, and Amy Tan.
  • Born A Crime:  Stories from a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah. Funny interesting read from a funny, intelligent man.
  • Becoming – Michelle Obama.  Because Michelle Obama.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration – Isabel Wilkerson. Captivating prose gives life the story of the Black migration north and west. It’s a little told piece of America history that is an educational and interesting read.
  • Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s a work of genius. Genius!
  • Ragtime (Broadway Play) – Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens – Set at the turn of the century, this play combines fictional characters with historical figures. The intertwining story of two Latvian immigrants, an African American pianist and his girlfriend and a wealthy New York family is told using haunting melodies with incredible voices singing beautiful songs.
  • Other Broadway Musicals I love: Book of Mormon, Chicago, Waitress, Singing in the Rain, and Into the Woods.
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