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.


Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen

“Believe it or not, I just read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography. I would not have normally spent time doing this but it was our book club selection. I found it too long, often repetitive, and a bit self-serving, but I was surprised that it was pretty well written. The subsequent discussion at book club was lively—since it’s a coed book club the guys really loved the book!”—Donna Shear


The Summer Before the War

Helen Simonson

“I’m halfway through and wishing she’d written The Summer the Summer Before the War, so the characters would continue to be more Austenesque and less Downton Abbey, but it’s still a good read.”—Bridget Barry


A Fall of Marigolds

Susan Meissner

“I’ve just started reading this. It’s the current selection of my book club, and so far the author has a beautifully descriptive writing style that I hope to enjoy throughout the book.”—Lacey Losh


Waiting for Godot: A Tragicomedy in Two Acts

Samuel Beckett

“I read this in college, and, after stumbling upon it while organizing bookshelves earlier this month, decided it was worth a revisit. It’s all symbiosis, after all.”—Joel Puchalla


Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston

“I borrowed this from the library in the spirit of women’s history month. A little slow in places, but overall very compelling and a much-needed voice in the American literary canon.”—Heather Stauffer


We Are All Shipwrecks

Kelly Grey Carlisle

“I picked it because I personally know Kelly… Even though the book touches on her mother’s murder, it’s not about the murder per se but more about Kelly trying to uncover who her mother was and what happened to her while figuring out who she is and where she belongs. In sharing her unconventional childhood—living on a boat with her grandfather, who owns a porn store, and his much younger wife—she is brutally honest yet generous, kind, loving, and hopeful. Now, I feel I truly know who Kelly is.”—Manjit Kaur


Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng

“I picked it up because of all the hype. Unwilling to venture out into the latest April snowstorm, I finished it in one day so, yeah, it’s a pretty good read.”—Alicia Christensen


The Ballad of Black Tom

Victor LaValle

“I needed to mix my reading list up with some shorter fiction and The Ballad of Black Tom is lean in the best ways. It’s sparse and character-focused where the weird fiction it’s riffing on so often isn’t, and it reckons with some of the genre’s most dated and problematic tropes in a way that’s both thought-provoking and genuinely frightening.” —Jackson Adams


A Game of Thrones 

A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1

George R. R. Martin

“I was such a nerd watching the TV series, and I loved it so much I started reading the book—and wow! It’s amazing, way better then the TV series (as many books are that become series)! What I love so far about the book is that each chapter starts with a different perspective of each character in the story, which is amazing because you see the story develop in different views. Love it, highly recommend.”—Katharine Fiedler


Next Year in Havana

Chanel Cleeton

“I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, so a friend sent me a blog post with the best historical fiction novels of 2018. This book was on it. It shifts between 1950s Cuba, where the daughter of a sugar baron is forced to leave the country at the beginning of Castro’s revolution, and present-day Miami, where a granddaughter goes to Cuba to scatter the ashes of her grandmother in the country she loves. This book gives an inside look into the Revolution then and now, and it was one of the best novels I have read so far this year.”—Emily Wendell


Out of the Silent Planet

The Space Trilogy, Book 1

C. S. Lewis

“A walking tour of the British countryside abruptly goes awry… I’d read that this trilogy began from a challenge between Lewis and his writing friend,  J. R. R. Tolkien, to write in a genre they hadn’t yet attempted. I’m not sure if it’s true, but the thought makes me happy.”—Anna Weir


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