What We’re Reading

UNP Staff members are always reading new books, both within our list and outside of what we publish. Here are some of the titles where our noses have been buried.


September Staff Reading List

A Bridge Too Far

Cornelius Ryan

“It’s the 75th anniversary of Operation Market-Garden, the largest Allied military operational failure in World War II. I read this first when the story came to light in Reader’s Digest in 1974 and probably read it every five years or so. Ryan’s writing is first-hand accounts from everyone involved from American, British, German, and Dutch. He wraps it up in an easy reading style that you don’t realize you are reading history. You know it’s going to end in disaster while you are reading it, but you hold out hope that it will succeed. This and his other most famous book, The Longest Day, were made into movies. On a side note our book, Abundance of Valor by Will Irwin, is a good background read to this battle.” —Roger Bucholz


What’s a Dog For? The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend

John Homan

“I’ve been attempting to think through the Western world’s rapidly changing relationship with dogs, which I find puzzling to say the least. I started a number of titles that weren’t quite what I was looking for and then found John Homans’s book. He’s exploring exactly the topics I’ve been looking for good thinking on: the dog as substitute child and the consequences of such boundary shifts, dog rescue culture (the fetishism of which Amy Shumer has a brilliant sketch on, btw), the dog as man-made genetic experiment vs. ‘naturally’ evolved creature, and the rights of animals generally as we come to better understand their complex (?) cognition.” —Elizabeth  Zaleski


The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

Stieg Larsson

“Though these novels are pretty violent they are edge-of-your-seat, can’t-put-’em-down thrilling.” —Andrea Shahan


Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Edward Abbey

“This was recommended by a friend, and I was happy to pick it up after discovering that it’s about Abbey’s time as a park ranger at Arches National Monument. I’m very fond of the parklands of Utah, and the beauty of Abbey’s descriptions is surpassed only by the beauty of the actual landscape.” —Joel Puchalla


Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York

Francis Spufford

“I’m about halfway through and so far enjoying this lively account of colonial Manhattan. It takes a few pages to adapt to the writing style, but I recommend sticking with it for the characters.” —Bridget Barry


Yes Please

Amy Poehler

“I found this on NPR’s list of 100 funny book recommendations. There’s a lot of good reading on this list!” —Erica Corwin


After the Flood

Kassandra Montag

“I picked this up at the Nebraska Book Festival. Kassandra creates a post-apocalyptic world: a giant flood has covered the entire earth and the survivors are left without all modern technology and conveniences, fighting for life on ships and small island communities. Myra, the strong female lead of the novel, is confronted with the challenge of protecting her younger daughter, Pearl, while searching for her older daughter, Row, who is missing and in great danger. It was a bit eerie to read of this extreme and horrific flood after the spring of record setting floods here in Nebraska. I couldn’t put this book down and hope there is a sequel to follow.” —Haley Mendlik


My Time Among the Whites

Jennine Capó Crucet

“I loved Jennine Capó Crucet’s novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, and this new collection of essays feels like a continuation of everything I loved about it. The essays cover a wide range of topics—the author’s relationship with Disney World having grown up in Miami, the time she visited a working ranch in rodeo-country Nebraska, the story of how her parents chose her name—and they all explore ideas about identity and belonging in America. This book is conversational and funny and it’s really making me think about my whiteness. (It also describes the first generation college student experience brilliantly).” —Anne Aberle


Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

Jason Schreier

“I’m finishing this book up this weekend. It’s a series of quick portraits of the tumultuous development cycles for a number of  modern games, both independent and those from large studios. The stories are well told but the book is much more successful and striking in how it details an industry direly in need of a labor revolution than one replete with creative, financial or personal triumphs.” —Jackson Adams


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Lisa See

“This is a book my grandmother read—literally, she made me buy it while on vacation so she could reread her favorite parts before I flew home. It’s a book that, like the tea Li-Yan grows, sells, and loves, gets better the longer you let it sit.” —Anna Weir


Magic for Liars

 Sarah Galley

“A teacher’s body is found in the library of a high school for gifted (i.e. magic) students, and the administration hires Ivy Gamble (a non-magic P.I.) to investigate. The case moves the story along, but Ivy’s inner struggle to prove herself—to her favored twin sister, to the school, to herself—gives the story depth. I took my time reading this book and soaked up the prose, characters, and mystery.” —Heather Stauffer



The Awakening

Kate Chopin

“I’m reading this short piece of fiction for my book club. I’m about halfway through and it’s difficult to review this work since I was familiar with the themes and storyline long before I picked it up. Regardless, I enjoy classic fiction and this should make for interesting discussion fodder at my next book group meetup!” —Lacey Losh

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