What We’re Reading

August 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.



The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear

by Stuart Stevens

“The cover caught my eye. Full of political intrigue and closely tied to real events happening now in politics. Lots of fun.” —Martyn Beeny



by Jo Baker

“While scrolling through the NPR website recently, I saw an article that had television and movie categories and related books. If you like Downton Abbey, you might like this title— it’s the downstairs version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It’s really well written and full of grim working-class details, but it isn’t as dark as I expected. There are highs and lows in every culture. I’m finding it pretty engrossing and will check out Baker’s other titles.” —Alison Rold


from scratch

From Scratch: Inside the Food Network

by Allen Salkin

“Alison, my foodie friend here in the office, recommended it to me, and it has me reminiscing about the early days of the Food Network when they aired actual cooking shows!” —Erica Corwin


The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“In postwar Barcelona, a boy and his father visit a clandestine library where the boy is told he will be the keeper of one book of his choosing. I’m about halfway through, and so far there is a nice balance of mystery, creepiness, wit, and heart.” —Heather Stauffer


While Mortals Sleep

by Kurt Vonnegut

“This is just a series of his short stories, suggested by a friend. They’re interesting; he can be so detached from his characters while also making them incredibly relatable.” —John Klopping


A Woman In Charge

by Carl Bernstein

“I’m in search of some election-season inspiration.” —Rosemary Vestal


Telegraph Avenue

by Michael Chabon

“I’m a little late to the game on this one, but I snagged it recently from the remainder table at B&N. I’m about halfway through and rather wishing I had left it there…” —Bridget Barry


A Fatal Grace

by Louise Penny

“Based on the recommendations of a bunch of UNP folks (Annie, Alison, Bridget, and possibly others), I started Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series and—like the others—I am loving it! I just started the second book last night.” —Jana Faust


Monstrous Regiment

by Sir Terry Pratchett

“I chose it because I’ve read several books in the series already, and this one follows characters whose stories I know I like. I’m only a little ways in, but so far it seems to be just the sort of installment I like best: funny, highly successful at using an imaginary world to comment on our real one, and peopled with characters who feel rich and real. Frustratingly, so far this book shares the series’s main failing: it has a some pretty gender-essentialist assumptions in its background, foundational ideas, despite Pratchett’s good intentions to the contrary. Breaking from gender expectations seems to be a central theme of this installment, though, so I’ll be curious to see what the rest of the book is like.” —Grey Castro

sex object

Sex Object: A Memoir

by Jessica Valenti

“I picked it up because I like Valenti’s other work—it’s funny, angry, poignant, insightful, and feminist. My kind of read.” —Alicia Christensen


The Lilac Girls

by Martha Hall Kelly

“This book is definitely a page turner and it does a great job incorporating real events of the Holocaust and WWII, which are shown through the eyes of three different women.” —Emily Wendell


This Is Only A Test

by B. J. Hollars

“A collection of essays about catastrophic natural events, like tornadoes, earthquakes, and fatherhood. It’s a neat blend of memoir and historical non-fiction, with some interesting take aways for creative writers.” —Anna Weir

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