What We’re Reading

October 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.



Cruel Tales from the Thirteenth Floor

By Luc Lang

Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
“Given the season and general mood, this collection seemed apropos.  The tone and style are not what I usually read, but I suppose that is the point!”—Heather Stauffer
Night Film
by Marisha Pessl
“I was worried this book might be too dark, but there’s a surprising amount of humor and levity, not to mention the author’s very smart incorporation of documents and images. The characters are a little flat, but the story is anything but.”—Bridget Barry
Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
“The premise is awesome—like The Westing Game but in the future—but the writing’s terribly clunky and there are some truly skim-worthy boring sections. Nevertheless, the hook is in and I must find out what happens. Since the book taps into a ton of 80s pop culture, it’s a weirdly serendipitous read since I just binged Stranger Things.”—Alicia Christensen
0521524628cvr.qxd (Page 1)
The Physical and the Moral
by Elizabeth Williams
“I’m currently writing a second book in the History of Science, and The Physical and the Moral is an important work in the field for understanding the shift from philosophical medicine to anthropological medicine in the 19th Century, and how issues of disease classification, scientific methodology, patient observation, and racial-typing among other subjects arise in 19th Century science.”—Matt Bokovoy

The Monsters of Templeton

by Lauren Groff

“I started this book in the summer and am just now picking it up again. Part genealogical mystery, part fantasy, and part historical fiction, this novel contains quite the intricate plot making it a compelling read.”—Natalie O’Neal
by Alan Moore
Illustrated by Dave Gibbons
“After five months in Nebraska, I finally read a book for pleasure rather than work. I’m not a big graphic novel person, but I knew Watchmen was particularly well regarded. Plus I knew it had been made into a film. Because I don’t read comic books, I thought it would be fun to come to a ‘superhero’ movie having read the original for once.”—Elizabeth Zaleski



The Truth Book

by Joy Castro


“I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time. Here is some of what Dorothy Allison says about it in the foreword: What Joy Castro does tell us is her version of a life lived in rage and grief, and moment by moment she suggests how these people might have justified to themselves what they were doing. In telling this story she does not spare herself in any way. She is making her truth book as large and full as she can, and that process demands that she autopsy her own soul, open it up, and lay it out for all to examine.“—Jana Faust




League of Dragons

by Naomi Novik

“It is part of a series of books set during the Napoleonic Wars where dragons exist.  I like the Napoleonic era, especially after reading the Richard Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, and I have enjoyed fantasy books since I was a kid, so this series is right up my alley.  I also like that the dragons are sentient, so they are developed as characters in the story as well.”—Rob Buchanan




The Scent of Secrets

by Jane Thynne

“This novel was a page-turner thriller that tells the story of a German actress who becomes an English spy at the brink of World War II. It shows pre-war Germany from the point of view of the Nazi wives, which I found extremely interesting, and the next book in the series will be on my reading list.”—Emily Wendell





If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

by Julia Sweeny

“During the scariest of all possible seasons, the U.S. presidential election of 2016, I’ve sought refuge in something familiar and comforting. I’m rereading a collection of personal essays by Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live veteran) about motherhood and her family. Sweeney wrote the book when her daughter went to camp at the same time her husband went away on business. The result is a serious delight—funny, sad, wise, and true.”—Tish Fobben




 Patient H. M.
by Luke Dittrich
“I’m addicted to this book, and not just because neuroscience is so fascinating. As someone who used to work in an archive, Dittrich’s notes on the physical aspect of his research strike a familiar chord. As a creative writer, I find his occasional tangents into speculation an interesting blend of fact and fiction. Really engaging.”—Anna Weir
Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions
by John Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes

“I just finished reading this at the insistence of my friend Pete Spotted Horse. Interesting account of Lakota medicine man coping with white society followed by a discussion of his personal experience of Lakota traditions.”—Mark Francis

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