This summer is already looking very different from the summers of other years. Whether you’re missing a great vacation adventure that’s been cancelled due to the pandemic, or missing participating in the Leatherby Libraries Community of Readers, diving into some summer reading can be a great way to go on an adventure of the mind, distract yourself from your quarantine worries, or learn about something new. To help you get your summer reading list ready, we’ve compiled a list of five books with connections to Chapman University. Please let us know if there are any others we should add to the list! Although the Leatherby Libraries’ copies of these books are currently physically unavailable, all of the books are available on Amazon.
Author: Jack Lindquist with Melinda J. Combs
Summary: Jack Lindquist enjoyed the ballet with the Shah of Iran, convinced Gene Autry to sell the Anaheim Angels to The Disney Company, and was gently reprimanded by Imelda Marcos. Throughout his thirty-eight year career with The Disney Company, starting out as the first advertising manager of Disneyland just months after its opening to ending his career as the first president of the park, Jack took risks some successful, some not so successful but always with his characteristic humor and joie de vivre. Disneyland and Walt Disney World serve as the backdrop for Jack’s experiences, as he established himself as a maverick and helped form a large slice of Americana dominated by Disney. When Jack wasn’t rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of every decade that he worked for the Disney Company, he was busy creating Disney Dollars and Date Nite. He recounts all of this and more, including his humorous mistakes, in this touching memoir, In Service to the Mouse.
Connection to Chapman University: Jack Lindquist was a Chapman University Trustee Emeritus. One of his most notable contributions to campus can be found on the third floor of the Leatherby Libraries, in the Jack and Belle Lindquist Dream Rooms and the collection of Jack’s memorabilia, donated to Chapman University, just outside the rooms.
Author: Rand Boyd
Summary: The magic doesn’t maintain itself. At Disneyland, skilled mechanics, engineers, and other craftsmen work around the clock to keep Walt’s park working to pixie-dust perfection. This is their never-told story. Rand Boyd put on his ears in 1983 and went to work in one of the Disneyland warehouses. From there, as a full-fledged Teamster, he transferred to Maintenance Services, where his job took to him to every nook and cranny of the park, at all hours of the day and night. From painting the Matterhorn to rescuing horses that had fallen into the feed trough at the Circle-D Ranch and could not get out, no job was too big, too small, or too unusual for Disneyland’s maintenance workers. In Elbow Grease and Pixie Dust, Boyd immerses you in this essential but little-known aspect of Disneyland. But he tells another story as well—a love story, the Disney-like tale of how two kindred souls in Disneyland’s maintenance department fell in love and went on to live happily ever after.
Connection to Chapman University: Rand Boyd is the Special Collections & Archives Librarian for the Leatherby Libraries and the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives.
Authors: Anna Leahy and Douglas R. Dechow
Summary: Anna Leahy and Douglas R. Dechow were children when Apollo 11 took humans to the Moon and were in college when the Challenger launch ended in tragedy. As Leahy and Dechow fell in love with each other at the National Air and Space Museum, millions of Americans in the generation that came of age with the space shuttle program continued to witness impressive innovations in space exploration. In 2008, serendipity took the couple to California for a new chapter in their lives and to follow the end of the US Shuttle program. GENERATION SPACE: A Love Story is the story of their life together and a love letter to the Space Age.
Connection to Chapman University: This one’s a double header! Dr. Anna Leahy is a Professor of English and Director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman. Doug Dechow is the Engineering, Science, and Digital Humanities Librarian for the Leatherby Libraries.
Author: Tracy Walder (MA ’07) with Jessica Anya Blau
Summary: When Tracy Walder enrolled at the University of Southern California, she never thought that one day she would offer her pink beanbag chair in the Delta Gamma house to a CIA recruiter, or that she’d fly to the Middle East under an alias identity. The Unexpected Spy is the riveting story of Walder’s tenure in the CIA and, later, the FBI. In high-security, steel-walled rooms in Virginia, Walder watched al-Qaeda members with drones as President Bush looked over her shoulder and CIA Director George Tenet brought her donuts. She tracked chemical terrorists and searched the world for Weapons of Mass Destruction. She created a chemical terror chart that someone in the White House altered to convey information she did not have or believe, leading to the Iraq invasion. Driven to stop terrorism, Walder debriefed terrorists—men who swore they’d never speak to a woman—until they gave her leads. She followed trails through North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, shutting down multiple chemical attacks. Then Walder moved to the FBI, where she worked in counterintelligence. In a single year, she helped take down one of the most notorious foreign spies ever caught on American soil. Catching the bad guys wasn’t a problem in the FBI, but rampant sexism was. Walder left the FBI to teach young women, encouraging them to find a place in the FBI, CIA, State Department or the Senate—and thus change the world.
Connection to Chapman University: Tracy Walder earned her Master’s degree in teaching from Chapman in 2007. Earlier this year, she came back to campus as one of the keynote speakers for the 4th Annual Women’s Leadership Forum.
Author: Dick Immel ’56
Summary: For Dick and Kathi Immel, life was changing at an uncomfortably fast pace. The Immels had started a family soon after Dick completed his service in the Korean War, then took a job as the director of housing at Chico State in Northern California to be near Dick’s parents. Now it’s 1966 and they discover that they are not prepared to let go of the “Father Knows Best” approach to life that the students in Chico have so unceremoniously shoved aside. Situations like student protests and drugs abound. Dick has not been trained to deal with these issues, and Kathi, prone to psychological breakdowns, can’t deal with the constant stress. A switch to teaching at a junior high school calms things down. But then dread sets in when Merreli, their ordinarily cheerful fifth-grade daughter, comes home one day disturbed about peer pressure to try drugs. Looking for an escape to a place where good old-fashioned family values still thrive, Dick becomes interested in the “back-to-the-land” movement advocated by the new magazine Mother Earth News. Before they know it, the whole family of five is packed into the Plymouth station wagon and heading to Maine. The next decade is filled with life lessons – some humorous, and others, deadly serious – as the young family discovers that the “simple life” is not quite so simple after all. Although the Immels are dubbed “Damn Californians” by the neighbor who helps them out of one predicament after another, they learn what granite strength of character it takes to survive the severe winters and thrive on the rocky land so far away from California’s sunny shores. Dick Immel’s matter-of-fact tone, down-to-earth sense of humor, and gifted story telling combine to make his memoir a delightful read celebrating the pioneering determination that is one of America’s most enduring strengths. It’s inspiring, for if this bunch can start a new life and overcome so many unforeseen obstacles, so can you!
Connection to Chapman University: Richard “Dick” Immel is a Chapman alumnus, having graduated in the class of 1956.