The Heights | Faculty & Staff Picks

Faculty & Staff Picks

Heights faculty and staff members recommend these books for parents’ own reading lists. These titles can be found on display in the Living Room.


Joe Bissex
The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
About the incredible power of words and stories to fight evil and find true friendship.

David BrownLeisure, The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
In this restless world of ours, Leisure, The Basis of Culture presents us with the virtues of leisure, wonder, and contemplation of the few things that truly matter in life.

Joe CardenasAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
What it means to be a man.

Rebecca ConatyKristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Set in 14th century Norway, my husband and I have found that reading this well-written historical epic to each other has affirmed our love for the richness of Catholic teachings.

Alvaro de VicenteLife of Johnson by James Boswell
James Boswell opens a window into one of the greatest minds in English history. Pick up this book and take a peak. You will learn, laugh, ponder, and grow.

Dave FornaciariChesapeake by James Michener
Chesapeake take one on a journey of the Chesapeake Bay from the time before Europeans arrives to the early 1970’s. The story follows one family through the changes the Bay goes through over hundreds of years.

Colin GleasonThe Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
A perfect book for all boys (and alumni) of the Valley. The novel encapsulates adventure, natural history, poetry, friendship, and virtue all in one incredibly well-written story. And it features a beautiful father-son relationship to boot!

Rob GrevingEmma by Jane Austen
“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chuses (sic), and that is, his duty; not by maneuvering and finessing, but by vigour and resolution.”

Eric HeilThe Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori
In the words of Margaret Elizabeth Stephenson, “[t]he secret of childhood is the secret of life itself – the creative force guiding the human organism from the moment of conception.” This is a breathtaking look into the life of a child.”

Michael HernandezQ.E.D. by Burkard Polster
The word Mathematics conjures up thoughts of Arithmetic. However, the underlying foundation of mathematics is proof: the validity of a statement in an axiomatic system. And what is more satisfying than stamping Q.E.D. at the end of an argument telling the reader “Quod Erat Demonstrandum” (what had to be shown). This little monograph illustrates the beauty in mathematics though visual proofs of truths. And Heights man can appreciate these nuggets – one bite at a time.

Michael HudeNicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
For those interested in learning how to live the good life.

Larry KaiserThe Writings of Charles De Koninck (vol. 1) by Charles De Koninck
De Koninick’s attraction lies in his status as a layman, a rather “observant” Thomist, and a philosopher who didn’t shy away from tackling prickly philosophical issues of the day (e.g. evolution) from an Aristotelian/Thomistic perspective.

John Paul LechnerKidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
A great story of a young lad who, by his adventures in the wild Highlands of Scotland, matures as a man, learns a bit of what it means to be a gentleman, and develops a rather beautiful friendship with a Highlander much different from himself.

Pat LoveThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A short masterpiece of literature, which through a simple narrative, sheds light on the essential elements of human existence and relationship. The acceptance of mystery, the need for friendship and love, the merit of sacrifice, the uniqueness of each soul, and the importance of memory all come together in the persons and characters met in The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery pleasantly startles us out of our everyday view and represents the simple necessities of life in an attractive and convincing fashion. A great read for all ages!

David MaxhamHappiness and Contemplation by Josef Pieper
This book explains our final cause; That which we all seek. It explains the teachings of St. Thomas and his interpretation of Aristotle.

Phil McGovernTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This novel explores the conflicts we face when confronting evil, in this case the evil of racial prejudice. Narrated through the eyes of an innocent nine year old girl, we witness the goodness of one humble man, Atticus Finch, and his powerful influence on the hearts of others. In my mind, Atticus Finch is a true Heights man.

Dr. Matthew MehanThomas More: A Portrait of Courage by Gerard Wegemer
Cicero once explained the key to becoming a good man: “Work out your own ideas and sift your thoughts so as to see what conception and idea of a good man they contain.” Where leadership is concerned, without detailed knowledge of Thomas More, that sifting could prove fruitless.

Michael Moynihan The Idea of a University by John Newman
This book is the single greatest work ever written on liberal arts education: what it is, why we should passionately seek it, and how it relates to full human development.

Jim NelsonThe Founding of Christendom by Warren H. Carroll
A favorite of mine, that I have read many, many times. Carroll combines encyclopedic knowledge, rock-solid Catholic faith and sensibility, and an ability to tell a very complex story in a (dare I say it) a very entertaining way.

Michael Ortiz The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy by Etienne Gilson
Gilson carefully explores the heights and depths of the Christian soul in its journey through God’s beautiful, broken world, and gives us reasons for hoping beyond all hope that Love will have the last word.

Michael OrtizOld School by Tobias Wolff
For many student, Old School helps them enter the world of literature, a world that is funny, moving, wise, and endearing, and return to their lives refreshed and enlightened.

Tom RoyalsThe Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
An outstanding historical fiction narrative from the Battle of Gettysburg that makes me think I may be living in the wrong century.

Dr. Kevin StrotherThe Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark
It tells the story of a boy becoming a man with the help of his Grandfather’s tutelage through hunting, fishing and camping throughout North Carolina, my home state.

Stefan SyskiCitizenship Papers by Wendell Berry
This was my first real introduction to Wendell Berry, who speaks in an American voice of the divine value hidden in ordinary relationships and work done well.

Peter VitzDeath Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
This book beautifully captures the sporting spirit, strength of will, and unshakable faith of the Church in its infancy in North America. It presents us with a model of the great adventure open to all of us by following God’s will.

Dr. Lionel YaceczkoThe Eye of The World by Robert Jordan
A story-teller with a breadth and depth of vision to rival that of J.R.R. Tolkein, Robert Jordan produced in The Wheel of Time series the essential American fantasy epic. In this series, Jordan drew from all the different nations that came together to make America, and imagined a world somehow at the same time in the distant future, and also a potential origin, of a melting-pot nation. Robert Jordan was the pseudonym of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., a graduate of The Citadel who was born and died in Charleston, SC.