August 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 titles where our noses have been buried.

“I just finished Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. What a refreshing take on the history of racism from this self-proclaimed ‘not-a-history-book history book.’ I felt like the ideas presented in this book were more relatable than a lot of modern antiracism text I’ve read, thanks to the simple definitions the author provides and the conversational tone in which it’s written. I might recommend this as the first book on antiracism to read if you’re just starting to educate yourself on the subject. Bear in mind, these are the feelings of a middle-aged white woman, but I thought it was excellent.” -Lacey Losh

“I’m reading Careless in Red by Elizabeth George. Her Inspector Lynley novels are intricate murder mysteries with two great leading characters, DI Lynley and his colleague Detective Sgt. Havers. I picked up George after reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo years ago, in it the character Mikael Blomkvist reads her books.” -Annie Shanhan

“I’m reading Peculiar Heritage by former UNP Marketing intern DeMisty D. Bellinger. This is an important collection of poetry, and there are images and phrases here that I won’t soon forget.” -Erica Corwin

“I’m in the middle of reading Heart of Junk by Luke Geddes. I’m no stranger to antique malls or antique dealers, and Geddes has nailed his portrayal of both in this novel. His observations about life in Wichitaand the Midwest more broadlyare also spot on.” -Bridget Barry

“I’m currently making my way through 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann. It’s been a really interesting and sometimes sad look at the period of European discovery and colonization in the Americas, and I’ve learned a lot.”-Tayler Lord

“I recently finished Quentin Tarantino’s novelization of Once Upon A Time In Hollywooda retelling of what I consider one of his lesser films but one that finds a new life in print. Tarantino’s writing is as pulpy as ever, with many differences from the film that not only better serve the characters & world, but also the printed medium. While hearing Tarantino himself on the audiobook would’ve been perfection, he keeps it in the family with Jennifer Jason Leigh delivering a solid performance (including a great Pacino impression).”-Andrew Cheatham

“I just finished reading the China Room by Sunjeev Sahota. I picked up this book as it is set in Punjab, my ancestral home. Some readers may find the storyline strange, but having grown up listening to stories from my grandmother, who was born and raised in Punjab, it was familiar as was the brutal treatment of women especially by other women, in this case the mother in law of her daughters in law. Sahota also captured the Punjabi vernacular, which is often rather crass, accurately. Sahota is a master storyteller and I could not put the book down. I was gripped and practically inhaled the book.” -Manjit Kaur 

“I recently began Timothy Schaffert’s new novel, The Perfume Thief. Although I am taking my time with it to fully appreciate the imagery, characters, and the description of scents that Schaffert so wonderfully creates.”-Rosemary Sekora

“I’ll be reading Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly this week as research for my honors thesis. It’s an analysis of the way women are taught to bottle up their anger and how we’re often belittled when we do express it.”-Sarah Kee

How Not to Die Alonea good goal, however morbid. The title caught my eye while wandering the stacks at the library. Author Richard Roper steps into the protagonist Andrew’s shoes to show how love can’t exist without pain and connection can’t happen without vulnerability and honesty.” -Haley Mendlik

“I am about a quarter of the way through D. H. Lawrence’s infamous Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Usually with banned books, it’s hard for me to imagine the content upsetting people, even in the past. This is the first banned book where I’ve been like, yeah, I could see how people found this to be obscene in 1928.” -Elizabeth Zaleski

“I’m about 1/3 of the way through The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Book Lover’s Adventures by Josh Hanagarne. It’s a memoir of someone of the Mormon faith growing up with Tourette Syndrome who becomes a librarian. The chapters are fabulously organized in their own Dewey Decimal system. It’s fascinating in many ways. One of the parts that continually stops me, is the multiple daily encounters the librarian has with homeless people in the library. It seems like a nationwide occurrence that libraries have become defacto daytime shelters for people who need to get out of the elements in one of the richest countries in the world that offers precious few alternatives.” -Tish Fobben

“I’ve been reading Brian Castner’s Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage, in which the author retraces Alexander Mackenzie’s trip down the river in 1789 that bears his name. Castner, an Iraq War vet, mixes personal adventure travel with historical narrative about the search for the Northwest Passage to provide a sense of the changing nature of the Arctic as climate change and extractive industries reshape the region.” -Clark Whitehorn

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