Board of Visitors Reading List

The Board was established in the fall of 1999 and has eighteen members. It meets twice a year in Madison with the Department Chair, selected members of the faculty and staff, and some students for one day. Board members majored in English or studied literature and language. The BOV has an abiding interest in and commitment to English literary, writing, and language studies. As a result of that interest and commitment, the Board reads and discusses an assigned book by the English Department Chair at its meetings. 

  • Book Cover for "Anil's Ghost"

    Anil's Ghost

    Michael Ondaatje



    Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the modern world by the ravages of civil war.  Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to her homeland as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island.

  • Book Cover for "Breath, Eyes, Memory"

    Breath, Eyes, Memory

    Edwidge Danticat



    At the age of twelve, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished village of Croix-des-Rosets to New York, to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, and a legacy of shame that can be healed only when she returns to Haiti – to the women who first reared her.

  • Book Cover for "The Crying of Lot 49"

    The Crying of Lot 49

    Thomas Pynchon

    Harper Perennial


    Oedipa Maas is made the executor of the estate of her late boyfriend, Pierce Inverarity. As she diligently carries out her duties, Oedipa is enmeshed in what would appear to be a worldwide conspiracy.  In this highly original satire, Oedipa meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge.

  • Book Cover for "Democracy"


    Joan Didion



    Set in Hawaii and Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam War, Joan Didion's fourth novel tells the story of Inez Victor, the wife of U.S. Senator and one-time presidential hopeful Harry Victor, and her enduring romance with Jack Lovett, a CIA agent/war profiteer who dies shortly after extricating Inez’s daughter, Jessica, from Saigon where the girl had incautiously ventured.

  • Book Cover for "The Dew Breaker"

    The Dew Breaker

    Edwidge Danticat



    Edwidge Danticat’s brilliant exploration of the “dew breaker” – or torturer – is an unforgettable story of love, remorse and hope; of personal and political rebellions; and of the compromises we make to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. It firmly establishes her as one of American’s most essential writers.

  • Book Cover for "Driftless"


    David Rhodes

    Milkweed Editions


    Driftless heralds a triumphant return to the midwestern landscape Rhodes knows so well, offering a fascinating and entirely unsentimental portrait of a town apparently left behind by the march of time. At once intimate and funny, wise and generous, Driftless is an unforgettable story of contemporary life in rural America.

  • Book Cover for "The Echo Maker"

    The Echo Maker

    Richard Powers



    National Book Award Winner and Pulitzer Prize Finalist

    On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter has a near-fatal card accident. His older sister, Karin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when Mark emerges from a coma, he believes that this woman – who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister – is really an imposter.

  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

  • God of Small Things

  • The House on Mango Street

  • Housekeeping

  • Howard's End

  • Netherland

  • Never Let Me Go

  • Please Don't Come Back from the Moon

  • Remains of the Day

  • The Road

  • Saturday

  • Tinkers

  • Tracks

  • You're Not You