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.

August Staff Reading List

End of Watch by Stephen King “I’m desperately trying to finish book three in the Bill Hodges Trilogy End of Watch. It’s my last “fun book” before the semester really starts going.” —Rosemary Sekora

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi “I’m just starting this book. I selected it because most of the books I’ve read on the subject of race have been by women authors of color, and I wanted to diversify the voices I’m listening to on the topic. It was recommended to me by a good friend who is also focusing their reading on ways we can fight systemic racism this year.” —Lacey Losh

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (trans. Thomas Teal) “This slim volume is composed of quiet vignettes meant to be savored. They evoke a complex layering of emotions, as six-year-old Sophia grows and learns about the world around her on a tiny island in Finland, juxtaposed with her aged grandmother’s experienced eye, dry wit, and wisdom accumulated over a long life. The undertone of grief from Sophia’s conspicuously absent mother adds an unspoken weight, positioning the companionship of Sophia and her grandmother as truly beautiful.” —Heather Stauffer

Hella by David Gerrold “It’s about a colony on a planet named Hella where the gravity is less than earth standard and the atmosphere is oxygen rich, so everything grows to immense size. The main character is a neuro-atypical boy who thinks in a rational, logical manner and doesn’t feel things like everyone else. A new colony ship arrives and he is tasked with making videos of the planet to introduce it to the colonists, so we learn about his world through his experiences and the process of making the videos.  There are some interesting politics working largely in the background, but I am thoroughly enjoying reading about the ecology and environment of this planet.” —Rob Buchanan

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel “British historical fiction is not even remotely in my literary wheelhouse but two people recommended this series to me, so I’ll give it a try while I have plenty of reading time on my hands.” —Erica Corwin

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan “I’m always on the lookout for new and upcoming Asian authors. So when Kevin Kwan came out with Crazy Rich Asians, it was a must read. Plus I lived in Singapore for several years. A novel I could definitely relate to and a trip down memory lane. Triple must read! I was a little disappointed but I decided to give him another chance with his latest book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed again. I think Kevin’s books have been successful not because he is a good writer, but because of his ability to write about over-the-top consumerism. I got bored with all the name and label drops . . . too pretentious for me.” —Manjit Kaur

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins “A friend of mine loaned me her copy of this prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy, and I gave it a read for old times’ sake. Other than the ending, I enjoyed this prequel more than the other books, as it follows a much more nuanced character and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ isn’t so clearly defined.” —Anna Weir

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein “I’m a little behind on Perlstein’s exhaustively comprehensive history of the modern Republican party but the third book feels like it touches on so many of the same national feelings that run rampant today. Perlstein has a real gift for showcasing the disparity between haughty, self-confident political insiders and fiery, passionately-motivated political activists and plays with how those two bastions of power push each other in different ways. I’m enjoying it quite a bit, though maybe not as much as the previous book, Nixonland, and its laser-focus on the politics of rage and resentment that drove Nixon’s rise and fall.” —Jackson Adams

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