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.

The Resisters by Gish Jen and The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. “Jen’s dystopian future where the means of resistance is baseball pairs well with Harrow’s alternate history of a young woman’s interactions with ‘artifact’ collectors at the beginning of the twentieth century. Both are beautifully written and share themes of identity, family, colonization, strong female protagonists, and strength through adversity.” —Heather Stauffer

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. “I’ve started walking in the evenings because the weather is perfect for it, and I’ve taken to putting one earbud in and listening to library audiobooks. Currently I’m listening to this fantastic book showcasing a rare combination of broad, sociological themes with emotional and philosophical depth, themes further particularized through rich characters in sharp, playful, evocative language. The God of Small Things is high craft indeed.” —Elizabeth Zaleski

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. “I’m one of many UNP fans of the Armand Gamache series, but this book is not one of the author’s better efforts. Still an entertaining read, though.” —Bridget Barry

John Myers Myers’s The Saga of Hugh Glass: Pirate, Pawnee, and Mountain Man and Lord Grizzly by Fredrick Manfred. “A sow grizzly attacked a man on the Sun River near Augusta, MT, the other day when he got between her and her cub, and I have always been morbidly interested in how people react in those situations. Bear-attack training tells you to curl up, play dead, protect your vitals, and so on, but that fear of soon being dead rather than playing dead has to weigh heavily on one’s mind. Since I spend a lot of time up along the Rocky Mountain Front, I’m always conscious of Hugh Glass’s legendary survival story, so as summer outdoor activities pick up, I thought a revisit of these Bison classic books might be in order to help get me in the right mind frame in case a bear-encounter situation goes a little south on me.” —Clark Whitehorn

The Institute by Stephen King. “Another good King installment. Sort of Stranger Things meets stay-at-home with strangers except you aren’t in your home and the strangers are conducting experiences on children. Although I think his author’s note will stick with me more.” —Rosemary Sekora

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. “I am in awe of how Patchett weaves together characters, stories, and places across time. This book is a lesson on life, loss, bitterness, forgiveness, and perspective.” —Haley Mendlik

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu. “I received this as a Christmas gift. It is a science fiction story that takes place in China. The story starts during China’s Cultural Revolution in 1967 where a woman sees Red Guards beat her father to death, and fairly quickly jumps forward four decades, when police ask a scientist to infiltrate a secret cabal of scientists after a large number of recent suicides among them. I am not too far along, but it seems the laws of physics are not universal and humanity will be facing an extinction level event. I like it so far and the translator has included footnotes to explain all of the cultural references that I wouldn’t otherwise understand.” —Rob Buchanan

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing. “This was recommended to me in my Goodreads feed. I listen to one chapter a day, each focusing on a single artist; their life story, their art, their struggles, and the evolution of their process. Since it’s an audiobook version, I follow along with the stories of the artists, googling images of their art and pictures of them, which I’ve found to be an engaging and interactive experience.” —Lacey Losh

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land. “I read a short story by Stephanie Land, which I’m assuming later evolved into this book. The short story was well written and intriguing, which led me to pick up the book. It’s a memoir that details Land’s experience as a house cleaner. I liked that each chapter title referred to Land’s observation of her client’s homes: Sad House, Porn House, etc. But I found the details in each chapter repetitious…. More importantly, the memoir allows us a peak into the current and larger issues that exist in America: the struggles of poverty, single parenting, the lack of a safety net, homelessness, economic inequalities, the housing system, the food assistance program . . . systems that works hard to keep people down. It also looks at dignity and at people’s attitudes toward those who have less than them. But by no means are these issues deeply delved into. It’s a memoir.” —Manjit Kaur

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni. “After listening to one of Lencioni’s Table Talk podcasts, I found the first e-book of his I could rent. I appreciate his insight and straightforwardness.” —Anna Weir

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