What’s On Eastern Teachers’ Nightstands?

Featuring selections from English teachers Ms. Mancinelli, Mrs. Pomerantz, and Mrs. Steller!


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We are bringing back the “What’s On Your Nightstand” column. We will feature, on a rotating basis, each department at Eastern. This column features a paragraph or two about the books Eastern’s English teachers are reading. This project will allow people to expand upon the genres they’re reading, appreciate the love of reading, and encourage them to read even more. 

   I would like to share Chanel Miller’s Know My Name. In 2015, Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner on the campus of Stanford University. In all of the court case documents, she was known as “Emily Doe.” Her victim impact statement was published by BuzzFeed and garnered millions of views and responses. After that, she came forward with her memoir and revealed her name to the world.

   This incredible memoir shares her life story as well as the trauma that she endured. She shares intimate details of the physical, emotional, and mental anguish that she experienced. She also tells how she began to put the pieces of her life back together and reclaim her story. Overall, the book is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Chanel Miller demands that the world know her name and her story because it is important for survivors to be heard. 

– Ms. Jacquelyn Mancinelli, English & ESL Teacher



   I just finished Hillary Rodham Clinton’s & Louise Penny’s State of Terror, which is an action-packed high-intrigue book about the threat of nuclear bombs in the hands of terrorists. I am an avid fan of Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache mysteries which are set in an idyllic fictional town in Canada near the Vermont border. I love her characters and stories. State of Terror is not a genre which is normally my cup of tea but there was enough Penny toward the end! The book was an entertaining distraction because I found myself imagining the real-world people on whom the Clinton/Penny characters are based!

   I am beginning The Personal LIbrarian, co-written by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. It was recommended by a friend so I am reading it! I don’t usually read co-authored books, so it is weird that this is my second in a row! I am not far enough into it to have feedback yet, but I am looking forward to this piece of historical fiction that tells the story of a black woman who “passed” as white and served as J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian. So far, I love the characterizations.

– Mrs. Susan Pomerantz, English & ESL Teacher



   At any given time, I have a stack of books on my nightstand in heavy rotation. I cannot resist the urge to buy books (forgive me, Ms. Sobel) as soon as someone recommends one to me; student recommendations go straight to the top of my list. Like leaves on a succulent arranged in a Fibonacci sequence, my future book selections spiral out of current ones. Thankfully I have settled on one at the moment.

   I am currently reading The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl. You may recognize the name Dave Grohl; he is the incredibly talented lead singer of the Foo Fighters and former drummer for nineties grunge band Nirvana. I have always loved the Foo Fighters, and nineties alternative rock plays on the soundtrack of my post-collegiate memories. Additionally, I have always been amazed by the energy, charisma, and musicianship of Dave Grohl, so as soon as I heard he was releasing a book,  I quickly preordered it on Amazon. Since this is a memoir, rather than presenting a completely linear biography of Grohl’s life it is written in the form of vignettes and snapshots of his influences and experiences; think of flipping through an old yearbook or photo album and sharing stories evoked by the pictures. Grohl writes in a casual conversational style, like a friend sitting next to you telling you a funny story. 

   Despite his enormous achievements (the Foo Fighters were just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Grohl remains humble and appreciative of his success, much of which he attributes to luck, coincidence, and good timing. This makes me like him all that much more; it is evident that no one so talented and driven by their passion for music could be that lucky. I relate to Grohl’s connection to music since it has always been part of my life; my earliest childhood memories are set to the big band sounds of my parents’ era and seventies soft rock of my sister’s adolescence. Grohl describes a fascinating array of his musical influences from jazz to punk rock that set him on his trajectory to stardom. If music grounds you, inspires you, or connects you to your deepest roots, you will love this supercharged yet accessible memoir. 

– Mrs. Patrice Steller, English Teacher