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What I'm Reading: Donna M. DeCarolis

July 30, 2013

Donna DeCarolis

There’s nothing better than a good book on the beach—at least in Donna Marie DeCarolis’ eyes.

DeCarolis is the founding dean of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship at Drexel University. Her leisure reading typically strays far from her field of expertise, as she is drawn to suspense in the summer’s hazy days.

Right now DeCarolis is reading “The Fifth Assassin” by Brad Meltzer, a fiction page turner that is keeping her on her toes.

What types of books do you typically like to read?

I tend to read a few books simultaneously and typically a combination of fiction and professional/business. Mystery novels are my favorite—I enjoy the anticipation, the guessing, the weaving together of seemingly disparate facts to solve the mystery. I am particularly fond of mysteries that incorporate history. And I am particularly fond of reading mystery novels on the beach.

Tell me about “The Fifth Assassin.”

“The Fifth Assassin” is a mystery about the four assassins, from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, that revolves around the idea that they were secretly working together. A new killer in Washington, D.C., is discovered trying to recreate the crimes of these four men to kill the current president. It is interesting to learn about the details of the original assassinations, how meticulously some of them were planned and the very different circumstances of each. Meltzer overlays a fictional plot of connection and copycat assassinations embedded in historical context. I chose this particular mystery novel in part because of the recent movie “Lincoln” and the popularity of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book.

So far, has Meltzer’s work lived up to your expectations?

The book is not the best mystery I have read; it is the first novel I have read by Meltzer and I am a bit disappointed in the writing and unfolding of the plot. I wouldn’t say that he is on par with other mystery and suspense writers such as John LeCarre, John Grisham, Ken Follett or Mary Higgins Clark. In fact, once I finish “The Fifth Assassin,” I will pick up “Hidden Order” by Brad Thor.

What other reads followed you on vacation this summer?

I just finished reading “The Icarus Deception” by Seth Godin, a book about pursuing your dreams—or your “art” as he characterizes it—and not settling. I gave this book to my children and frequently share with colleagues. It should be mandatory reading for every college student as they embark on their careers.

Is there a quote or passage that you find particularly interesting in Godin’s book?

Godin urges us to not fly too low; to move out of our safety zone. He says, “Art is who we are and what we do and what we need. …Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.”
I found this particularly relevant in light of the establishment of the Close School of Entrepreneurship—a school born from principle that every student should have the opportunity to dream big and pursue their passions, or in the words of Godin, their “art.”