What We’re Reading


UNP staff members are always reading new books, both within our list and outside of what we publish. Here are some of the books our noses have been buried in.



Marathon WomanRunning the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports

by Kathrine Switzer

“Meeting her at the Des Moines Marathon expo was exciting and energizing. She’s one of my running heroes, and it’s inspiring to read about how she brought women into the sport.”—Joeth Zucco

revolving door

The Revolving Door of Life (44 Scotland Street Series)

by Alexander McCall Smith

“I’ve read and liked his other titles in the 44 Scotland Street series. They are interesting morality tales with unexpected human twists, and the series characters are fun to spend time with as they develop with each new book.”—Alison Rold


The Black Prism (Lightbringer, 1)

“Randomly found it in the library. Looked good. I was right!”—Martyn Beeny


The Weirdness

by Jeremy P. Bushnell

“This is one of those rare books that makes me laugh out loud, but the plot line lost me at ‘hell wolves.'”—Bridgett Barry

trans warriors

Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman

by Leslie Feinberg

“I’m interested in it because it investigates varied concepts of gender in different societies throughout history, giving the lie to the idea of an inherent and unchanging gender binary, and I think having a comprehensive understanding of history, rather than a narrow one largely selected as justification for present structures of power, is important.”—Grey Castro


Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart

by Claire Harman

“Another solid biography of CB: an informative, enjoyable read.”—Alisa Plant


A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace

by Brian Zahnd

“A fervent look at how radical and radically important it is to love others, whether they agree with you or not. It speaks loudly to the human condition, and with all this talk of wall-building lately, I think it’s painfully relevant for today.”—Anna Stokely


My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante

translated by Ann Goldstein

“I picked it up because of crazy rave reviews but I think it’s kind of a slog. Meh.”—Alicia Christensen



Crossing to Safety

by Wallace Stegner

“After reading a UNP blog interview with Page Stegner (Wallace Stegner’s son), I became interested in this classic that has been optioned for a movie. I skipped ahead a bit to page 112 and it looked promising, so I’m still reading.”—Tish Fobben



The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

by Katherine Howe

“I selected it from my ‘books my mom gave to me shelf’ because I have a thing for witches. Goodreads reviews would indicate that it is not a good choice but it’s too soon to say!”—Rosemary Vestal



Nightwatch, Discworld 28

by Terry Pratchett

“I am slowly buy happily working my way through the entire series.”—Rob Buchannan


The Other Typist

by Suzanne Rindell

“So far, the author does a fantastic job portraying the life of a working women in 1920s New York.”—Emily Wendell

long way home

The Long Way Home

by Louise Penny

“I’ve read two of her other Chief Inspector Gamash novels and liked them a lot.”—Andrea Shahan


The Swans of Fifth Avenue

by Melanie Benjamin

“This fictional depiction of Truman Capote and his socialite squad is often described as ‘dishy’ and it is. Delightfully so.”—Jana Faust


John Severson’s SURF

by John Severson

“This book is really cool, since it’s about the founder of Surfer Magazine. He was an artist from L.A. who depicted the 1950s and 1960s LA surf scene in post-Cubism; made the first surf documentaries; pioneered surf photography; then founded Surfer Magazine. Since no one had ever done these things before them, it was interesting to see how he and his colleagues made it up as they went!”—Matt Bokovoy

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