What We’re Reading

January 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.



How Winter Began

Joy Castro

“I’m reading one of our own! I love collections of short fiction and I’ve had this book recommended to me by several friends. So I picked it up this time of year, embracing the title. I’m really enjoying it so far.” —Lacey Losh




Yaa Gyasi

“My first book of the year was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I was talking with a professor of African cultural studies at ASA about UNP’s forthcoming translation of Awu’s Story by Justine Mintsa, Jessica Cammaert’s Undesirable Practices, and how much I’ve enjoyed reading through Chimamanda Adichie’s work and he suggested Gyasi’s book, which I can now highly recommend also.” —Alicia Christensen



The Bedlam Stacks

Natasha Pulley

“I read the first few pages in the bookstore—a simple scene, the main character is just taking his dog outside in the morning—and I was so charmed by Merrick Tremayne that I thought, ‘Sure, I’ll follow you to Peru.’ I’m glad I did. The writing in this historical/science fiction glows like the clockwork lamps throughout the village of Bedlam.” —Anna Weir



Smarter Faster Better

The Transformative Power of Real Prouctivity

Charles Duhigg

“I’ve been digesting this one for a while and have already recommended it to several people. Most interesting is the book’s examination of how people work—or don’t work—together. (One of the chapters was particularly useful during a recent jigsaw puzzle competition.)” —Heather Stauffer




The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump

David Neiwert

“I’ve just finished reading it. Radical Right-Wing extremism is on the rise today, and thus the topic is timely. Niewert has been studying these groups for over twenty-five years and is an expert on the subject. I was struck by the extensive, criminal records of most leaders in the Patriot Movement and the Tea Party.” —Matt Bokovoy



Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

J. K. Rowling

“I’ve finished book six (per my husband’s request to read the full Harry Potter series). Like most great books, one can always find relatable commentary to today’s political chaos. Dumbledore to Harry: ‘Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress?'” —Rosemary Sekora



By Gaslight

Steven Price

“If you like short books or dialogue distinguished by quotation marks, this isn’t the book for you. If you like a good mystery and historical fiction set in Victorian London, then this is a winner.” —Bridget Barry




James Lee Burke

“I’ve been reading Burke’s Dave Robicheaux Louisiana mysteries for thirty years, so I have to read this one. Burke is an old man now, and I’m wondering if he’s finally going to kill off Dave, who has been through incredible trials throughout this series. The Robicheaux books aren’t always easy to read, but they’re beautifully written, full of interesting characters who are only safe to be around in a book, and they give the reader a wonderful sense of the bayou beyond what tourists see.” —Alison Rold


waiting for the punch

Waiting for the Punch

Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast

Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald

“The book is comprised of excerpts from guests who have appeared on Marc Maron’s podcast and covers topics like identity, relationships, failure, success, and life lessons. His simple conversational interview process really gets people to open up.” —Erica Corwin


zero green


Green Space

William Shatner and Jeff Rovin

“It is the second book set on a space station in the future and the main character is the head of the small contingent of FBI agents based on the station. The theme of both books has been science run amok, helped along by human interference . . . The writing so far is better than the first book in the series and the story is interesting.  Also, it’s William Shatner, so you know it will be good.” —Rob Buchanan

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