What We’re Reading

July 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.



My Name is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout

“I will begin reading it for my book club’s August selection. I’ll let you know what I think afterwards but Olive Kitteridge by Strout is an amazing collection of linked short stories, so I’m eager to read another work by her.” —Donna Shear


Henry David Thoreau: A Life

Laura Dassow Walls

“I’m currently reading it for the 200th Anniversary of his birth. A transcendentalist, naturalist, and philosopher, Thoreau was a protean figure whose social activism and writings on civil disobedience feel more relevant than ever before.” —Mark Heineke


all the gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts

M. R. Carey

“My copy came to me in the mail, from a stranger, through Facebook’s book swap trend last fall. It was selected as my book club’s next read, and today I learned that it’s Jana’s favorite zombie book. The universe clearly wants me to read this one.” —Lacey Losh



The Boy on the Bridge

M. R. Carey

“It’s a prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts, which might be my favorite zombie book ever.” —Jana Faust


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Alan Bradley

“A nice British mystery with a unique point-of-view. Quite a bit of suspended disbelief, but it is a fun read. The Masterpiece Theatre version of pre-teen Nancy Drew, winner of the science fair.” —Heather Stauffer


Alexander Hamilton

Ron Chernow

“Every bit as good as the critics say it is!” —Alisa Plant



A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

“Thought I would finally try reading a book on my Kindle Fire… It is easy to prop up the device while reading in bed, and the light emanating from the screen doesn’t hurt. But I miss turning a real page, trying to be careful of the binding or dust jacket, easily refinding my place — and I somehow feel my connection to the author has been diminished through the screen. On the other hand, history does have a tendency to repeat itself!” —Ann Baker




Michael Chabon

“I’m listening to it on audiobook. Chabon’s been on my list for a long time but this is the first book by him that I’ve read. I’m about three-fourths through and have decided I quite like the writing.” —Andrea Shahan




Glen Cook

“It is the first book in the Starfishers Trilogy, which is described as  a Norse mythology-inspired space opera. So far it is tracking three different stories, over a few hundred years, and I am enjoying how they are all beginning to connect.” —Rob Buchanan



A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman

“Although it was a book club pick, I really enjoyed reading about this grumpy old man and his bothersome neighbors, which made me both laugh and cry at the same time. Definitely a great read!” —Emily Wendell




Ken Scholes

“From a library I inherited last year. One of the most important cities in this science-fiction world is utterly obliterated, and the remaining nations are launched into war. (That’s not a spoiler. That’s the prologue.) I look forward to reading more every evening after work and am thrilled to know there are four more books in this series.” —Anna Weir


glass castle

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls

“I haven’t read it yet!” —Rosemary Sekora



The Whites

Richard Price

“I haven’t been able to get into this one. The premise is good, but I don’t like the narrative structure, and it’s obvious that a Terrible Thing is going to happen, which I would prefer to avoid.” —Bridget Barry



Prairie Politics

Kay Orr vs. Helen Boosalis, The Historic 1986 Gubernatorial Race

Edited by John Barrette

“This is a collection of articles and cartoons published during Nebraska’s 1986 race for governor, which was the first time in our nation’s history that two women won their primaries and ran against each other for the office. A friend gave me this book, otherwise I would’ve never discovered it.” —Erica Corwin

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