December Staff Reading List

UNP Staff members are always reading (and gifting) new books, both within our list and outside of what we publish. Here are some of the titles that we gave as gifts this year.

Bad Tourist by Suzanne Roberts. “I sent my best friend in North Carolina a copy of Bad Tourist for Christmas because we haven’t seen each other since July and can’t stop talking about planning a trip together once we’re able to. I flew through this book and thought she would too since we both have the travel itch right now. 😊 One of my favorite UNP books ever!”

Save Me The Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl. “My fiancé, and I are avid Top Chef watchers and general food-media consumers, with a shelf stacked with chefy memoirs and dining-focused nonfiction. One of my Hanukkah gifts to her this year was former Gourmet Magazine Editor Ruth Reichl’s newest memoir, mostly charting her time at the magazine’s head and her contentious relationship with the corporate owners, Conde Nast.”

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers. “A gift to my husband because it’s his kind of book and he needs a break from all the climate catastrophe books he reads.”

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Five Stories of Women Who Rocked the World by Rebel Girls and Elena Favilli. “A gift for my daughter. She loved earlier books in this series and although she has almost aged out of these books she is interested in the profiles of the scientists.”

The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife by Brad Balukjian. “I gave this to a brother-in-law and nephew because they both love baseball and real people—and will love this book.”

Nebraska’s Bucks and Bulls by Joel W. Helmer. “My son-in-law is an avid hunter, so he’ll be opening this one.”

From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human by B.J. Hollars. “I’m giving this to a niece and her husband because they got a puppy this year. This is a great book about dogs and humans.”

If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall. “I’m giving this picture book to my five-year-old nephew. It features a vast diversity of humans across the globe (with fabulous illustrations). I look forward to reading it with him when this pandemic is over. Or maybe he’ll be able to read it to me by then.”

The Called Shot by Thomas Wolf. “My dad is a huge Babe Ruth fan but we lived outside of Chicago for many years, so this book has a nice combination of both NYC and Chicago.”

The Architecture of the Cocktail by Amy Zavatto. “For my son, a professional architect and amateur mixologist.”

The Majesties: A Novel by Tiffany Tsao. “Almost every year I gift my sister the newest Tana French novel. She already commented that she was expecting this from me. So, in the spirit of 2020, I am going to give her Tiffany Tsao’s The Majesties instead.”

Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter. Koko’s Kitten by Francine Patterson, illustrated by Ronald H. Cohn. The (Kinda Boring, Not that Great, Pretty Super Awesome) Garden Snail by Robyn Bowman. Plant & Grow by Jack Redwing, illustrated by Katie Hickey. “The grandkids are getting non-fiction this year. We focused on things they love: cats, creepy-crawlies, and tractors.”

The First Bad Man by Miranda July. “Somehow the only book I gave as a gift this year was to myself… does that count? I listened to the audiobook (narrated by Miranda July herself) from the library a while back and then kept thinking about it, so here’s hoping it’s just as weird and great the second time through.”

Threadbare by Mary Kudenov. “One of the books I gave as a gift this year is Threadbare by Mary Kudenov. When I started reading, it felt like fiction because the stories are so rich but also I wouldn’t want to believe they were true stories. As I made my way through the book, I came to the realization that it was a memoir, and at that point, I was amazed by the author’s storytelling but also by what she survived. It’s a book that sinks in and stays with you.”

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