What We’re Reading

February 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.



In Search of Buddha’s Daughters

Modern Journey Down Ancient Roads

Christine Toomey

“My first semester in college (and I won’t say when), I took a world religion class and was immediately drawn to Buddhism. Still am, so it was a no-brainer when I saw it. It is well written and the cover is just absolutely gorgeous.” —Manjit Kaur


Don’t Come Back

Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas

“I bought it up at AWP per Kristen Elias Rowley’s strong recommendation and am loving it so far. I wholeheartedly second her endorsement!” —Alicia Christensen


Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

“I read glowing reviews for this and it appealed to me because I’ve wanted to learn more about China’s Cultural Revolution. I’ve also wanted a break from nonfiction—so this seemed like an especially good choice. I love it so far.” —Tish Fobben


The Spellcoats

Diana Wynne Jones

“Reading it with my kids after finding it in a little free library near our house.” —Leif Milliken


In a Sunburned Country

by Bill Bryson

“Recommended by Bridget, this travel memoir is extremely informative, yet witty. And I love how the author refers back to the Midwest quite frequently.” —Emily Wendell


The Monster of Florence

Douglas Preston, with Mario Spezi

“A fascinating look at a serial murder cold case in Italy that defies logic and is truly stranger than fiction.  Readers who followed the Amanda Knox case will be particularly interested, especially as the book puts in context the motivations of the court system after its latest pursuits of the Monster.” —Heather Stauffer


Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution

A Political Biography, 1888-1938

by Stephen F. Cohen

“Now that I’m not in academe anymore, I read exclusively in the history of revolutions and revolutionary theory. In this book, it’s interesting to note how Bukharin’s “market road to socialism” was replaced by the brutal 5-year plans of Stalin, and how Stalin consolidated power both over Bukharin’s moderate policies under NEP and his stature as the leading party intellectual of the era 1917-1938, when he was executed for no crimes.” —Matt Bokovoy



Ian McEwan

“It’s a funny and brilliant updating of Hamlet, in which the Hamlet-narrator is a fetus in his mother (Ger-) Trudy’s womb, a captive witness to Trudy and Claude (-ius)’s machinations as they plot to kill his father, Trudy’s estranged husband. McEwan’s at the top of his game in this one.” —Alisa Plant


Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

“I’ve always been fascinated by dystopian fiction. Now that it feels like we’re living in a dystopian novel, the timing seemed right to pick up Brave New World. I’ve only recently cracked the cover, but so far I am enjoying it.” —Lacey Losh


Modern Romance

Aziz Ansari

“I’m reading what Lacey was reading last month. (I even borrowed her copy!) I’m a fan of Aziz’s acting and comedy, so I figured I’d enjoy a book by him, too. This is his study of how people meet potential mates and how that process has changed over the last several decades. It’s a great combination of scientific references, charts, and personal anecdotes.” —Erica Corwin


Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston

“Her short story “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” is one of my favorites and I’ve wanted to read this book for awhile, so I’m excited to finally get around to it.” —Tayler Lord


The Blood Mirror

(Lightbringer series, #4)

Brent Weeks

“Weeks has created a captivating world, with fascinating characters, political intrigue, and a new system of magic unlike anything I have ever read before.  The only problem I have with his books is I only get the joy of reading them for the first time once.” —Rob Buchanan


The Princess Bride

S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

William Goldman

“The book is a fascinating blend of storytelling. Combining the ‘good parts version’ of S. Morgenstern’s history of Florin with Goldman’s memories of filming The Princess Bride, as well as little glimpses into the book and film industry, fact and fiction are braided into a rope I very happily climb over the Cliffs of Insanity. It’s inconceivably good.” —Anna Weir

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