Inspired by the Book is a series of interviews with Connecticut College folks about their literary lives. Inspiration comes from The New York Times Book Review series called By the Book.

An interview with Michael Dreimiller, who manages the Digital Scholarship & Curriculum Center. Mike has been at Connecticut College since 2000. Mike’s hobbies are playing vintage base ball and genealogical research. Mike’s doctor prescribed reading every night to manage a problem with his back. Mike has a Goodreads profile.

What books are on your night stand?

For Black History Month I’ll be reading “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story”, “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition”, and “The Negro Leagues are Major Leagues: Essays and Research for Overdue Recognition”. Up next after those is “The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity” before I move to my pile of baseball-related books for baseball season.

What’s the last great book you read?

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” by Robert A. Caro (1974).  I shouldn’t have waited so long to read it.

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?

From “The Elements of Eloquence”: Adjectives in English have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose Noun.

Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? Any which you avoid?

Early baseball research, historical nonfiction (Erik Larson), math, genealogy, and science (genetics, medicine, astronomy). I have to force myself to read at least one fiction book a year.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

In grade school I read every biography in the school library and my family’s World Book Encyclopedia (1970) set. In middle school I read Alistair MacLean and Agatha Christie. In high school I read science fiction – Isaaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Frank Herbert.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap” by Mehrsa Baradaran (2017)

Who is your favorite novelist of all time?

I rarely read fiction now but I make an exception for Andy Weir’s books (“The Martian”, “Project Hail Mary”, “Artemis”). I enjoy his scientific realism.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

A Short History of Drunkenness: How, Why, Where, and When Humankind Has Gotten Merry from the Stone Age to the Present” by Mark Forsyth. (I don’t drink alcohol.)

Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

I finally read “The Phantom Tollbooth” after the author, Norton Juster, passed away last year.