What We’re Reading

June Staff Reading List

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


midwest kitchens

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

by J. Ryan Stradal

“I don’t remember how I heard about it. It’s a first novel with a number of interrelated and very different narrators from Minnesota, and it’s full of kitchens and food and dysfunctional families trying to figure things out. It’s both funny and heartbreaking. When I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about it because I can’t even guess where it’s going. I hope Stradal has more books planned, because I really like his voice.”—Alison Rold


grow out

You’ll Grow Out of It 

by Jessi Klein

“I picked up a galley version at BEA. She is brilliant. I love it so much that I want to buy the hardcover… and the Kindle edition.”—Rosemary Vestal




by Haruki Murakammi

“I wish I could take the summer off to read it because it’s a big book, and so far I’m having a hard time putting it down. I read Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which seemed like a good introduction to his writing, and I’m looking forward to exploring his long list of titles.”—Joeth Zucco


hat full

A Hat Full of Sky

by Sir Terry Pratchett

“It is a Disc World book about a young girl named Tiffany Aching learning to become a witch.  The last book he wrote was the fifth book about Tiffany, and I am reading the first four before reading that one.”—Rob Buchanan



The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods

by Hank Haney

“I am reading this because golf season is among us and it’s always interesting to hear things from a coach’s standpoint instead of the player’s.”—Chloe Foote


What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper

by Paula Marantz Cohen

“I find the unsolved murders of Jack the Ripper fascinating, and this books incorporates the James family—William Henry, and Alice—into the mystery.”—Emily Wendell



Finnegans Wake

by James Joyce

“My college professor from long ago recently blessed/cursed me with his copy and said, ‘This will probably take the rest of your life.’ I am currently enjoying the thunder words and cringing at some of the puns. After two weeks, I am still haven’t made it past page 23, although I have read a few pages out of the middle. Also read the end of the book so that I could have a running start at the beginning… Hoping this volume will warp my thinking the same way other works by Joyce did some 45 years ago. Reading the third edition with corrections by Joyce incorporated into the text because this project is mad enough without textual errors.”—Mark Francis



England and Other Stories

by Graham Swift

“A master stylist at the top of his game.” —Alisa Plant



Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

by Mary Roach

“It was on the ‘new release’ shelf at the library, and I thought I’d give it a try.  Chapters 1 and 2 are packed with people, objects, experiments, and history, so it looks like I will need to take my time reading the rest.”—Heather Stauffer



What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves

by Benjamin K. Bergen

“I picked it up because it’s called What the F. It’s freaking fascinating.”—Martyn Beeny



The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

by David Graeber

“I read a review in Slate and decided to gift it to my aunt, who now wants to discuss it with me. So I’m trying to get it done by Friday, when she’ll be in town.”—Alicia Christensen


Slaughterhouse Five

by Kurt Vonnegut

“I’m reading it again because I can’t remember why it ends with ‘poo-too-weet?’“—Anna Weir

blood and thunder

Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West

by Hampton Sides

“My light summer reading.”—Bridget Barry.


Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

by Robert B. Reich

“Last fall I bought an autographed copy at Prairie Lights bookstore and it’s next on my reading list. I loved Reich’s documentary “Inequality for All” which offered an unexpected (to me) ray of hope re. our economy. Right now I need to read a thoughtful book about our economic/political system.”—Tish Fobben



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