By Rebecca Edwards ’21

Kelly MacGregor is a geology professor specializing in glacial geomorphology. 

Any standout books you’ve read recently? 

I just finished a book called Hidden Valley Road, by Robert Kolker, about a family in Colorado where half of the children ended up having schizophrenia. It’s also really an interesting history on how we have diagnosed and understood mental health challenges over the past century.

What’s one of your all-time favorite reads? 

I have four answers, and that’s because I have favorite books that made a big impression on me at different times in my life. When I was a child, my parents gave me a book for Christmas called The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel. In college I read On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. When I was a graduate student in the field working on glaciers in Alaska, I read Going to the Sun, by James McManus. And then one of my favorite books of all time is Straight Man, by Richard Russo. 

What book is crucial to understanding your academic niche? 

I assign The Control of Nature, by John McPhee, in most of my classes. I study surface processes on the planet, and the book is three stories about different ways that humans interact with the geological world. 

Any guilty-pleasure reads? 

I would say that 90 percent of my reading is guilty-pleasure reading, and most of that is young adult fiction. I love The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. The Passage, by Justin Cronin, is more dystopian and a little darker than my normal reads, but it was super compelling. 

What book would you recommend to everybody at Macalester? 

Educated, by Tara Westover. It describes a dramatic example of a troubled upbringing told by a woman who grew up in a large family and was basically responsible for her own education. And then it describes how she made her way through getting into college, and pulls back the veil on what education—and especially higher education—is all about, from the perspective of somebody who didn’t grow up in a family where that was the norm.

July 26 2021

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