What We’re Reading

April 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.



Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders

“As always with my books, it was our Book Club book this month. It’s an interesting book which I enjoyed reading, but it is very strange and a bit disconcerting.” —Donna Shear


The Gastronomical Me

M. F. K. Fisher

“I saw it on a new books shelf in the library… It starts in 1908 when she was a child and covers her impressionable young adult years just before the Second World War. The writing is wonderful and unique. There’s so much that she (admittedly) doesn’t say, and it makes you think about what she’s leaving out and why. What she does say is captivating. I can’t stop reading it.” —Alison Rold


This Is Where I Leave You

Jonathan Tropper

“I don’t read much fiction, but I saw the movie based on this book awhile back and thought I’d give it a try.” —Erica Corwin


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

J. K. Rowling

“Continuing the series per last month’s reason!” —Rosemary Vestal Sekora

h is for hawk

H is for Hawk

Helen Macdonald

“I read a positive review of this book when it came out a few years ago, so I picked up a copy when I happened upon it in a bookstore last fall. Animals + humanity’s relationship to nature + memoir = this book is for me! I’m only a chapter in, but so far so good.” —Joel Puchalla



Cheryl Strayed

“I’m a little late to the game, but I loved our book Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts about the John Muir Trail (a portion of which shares the PCT) so I  thought I’d like this. While quite different than Almost Somewhere in terms of the descriptions of place it’s a remarkable book. It’s been hard to put down.” —Andrea Shahan

things fall apart

Things Fall Apart

Chinua Achebe

“I was reading Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen, and the main character talks about Achebe’s book.  I can see why both are highly recommended.” —Heather Stauffer

sweet lamb

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Lydia Millet

“The various components of the story just didn’t cohere and the characterization is unbelievable at best, boring at worst.” —Alicia Christensen


The Lonely Hearts Hotel

Heather O’Neill

“I originally picked this up thinking it was magical realism. Nearly halfway in, I can’t say that it is, but I can say I am most definitely enchanted. Better taken in sips rather than gulps, O’Neill’s imaginative and heartbreaking prose about young, hard-up love is a delight to savor.” —Natalie O’Neal

at birth

If At Birth You Don’t Succeed

Zach Anner

“I’m hooked on Zach’s YouTube channel. This guy is hilarious, and when I found out he wrote a book, I had to pick it up. I’ve just started reading it, but anytime the author includes this line in the introduction, you know you’re in for a good read: ‘I have now published all the things that up until this point I was too ashamed to tell my mother.'” —Lacey Losh

zero g

Zero G

William Shatner and Jeff Rovin

“I am only about twenty pages into the book, so I’m not sure what it is about yet.  However, all I needed to know was William Shatner was involved to know I wanted to read it. The man is a national treasure.”  —Rob Buchanan


The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I’m liking it better the second time through. Love the writing, wish I liked the characters.” —Anna Weir


The Water Knife

Paolo Bacigalupi

“I really like the premise (global warming/climate change has led to western states fighting over what little water is left) and the repeated references to Cadillac Desert, but the constant violence is getting a little old.” —Bridget Barry

small Hanging Mary

Hanging Mary

Susan Higginbotham

“The author does a fantastic job of portraying the characters as they were in Civil War Washington. I didn’t know anything about the hanging of Mary Surratt, but I now want to find out more about it.” —Emily Wendell

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