December 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 books we gifted to loved ones this holiday season or are planning to read in the new year!

“I’m getting a head start on the 2023 One Book One Nebraska selection, The Mystery of Hunting’s End by Mignon Eberhart.” -Rosemary Sekora 

“I am reading Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  It’s about fifty years after humanity “won” a war with the alien Architects, by finally coming up with a weapon that could get the attention of the inscrutable aliens, who just disappeared.  That weapon was a number of highly altered humans called Intermediaries.  Now, a member of an all-female warrior class is being sent on a mission with one of the original Intermediaries to the far reaches of space and the ramifications of what they find could reshape humanity. I am only about 100 pages in, so the mystery hasn’t really taken off yet, but I am enjoying the story so far.” -Rob Buchanan 

“I was gifted To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf this month and have been slowly making my way through it. It’s the first stream-of-consciousness literature I’ve read in a while, and I’m enjoying it so far. It isn’t very plot-driven, but the characters and their interactions make it an interesting (but slow) read. The story has reminded me of my favorite winter read, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and I look forward to rereading it during the winter holidays while sipping a warm cup of tea.” -Norah Green

“A love of violin music!  Light From Uncommon Starsby Ryka Aoki, is a literary feast of musical prodigy, Faustian bargains, love and war, aliens, and perfect donuts. Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy is a thrilling blend of mystery and drama around a ransomed violin, set to a soundtrack of Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, and music of the ages.” -Heather Stauffer

“I’m gifting Sharp Objects and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn to my sister this year. She really enjoyed Gone Girl and started watching Sharp Objects on HBO earlier this year, so I’m hoping she enjoys reading them over the break. As for a cozy read in the new year, I’m planning to work my way through the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, which is about two siblings who learn that their grandparents are the caretakers of a magical preserve and get recruited to help save the sanctuary from being overthrown by forces of evil. I recently found out from my cousin that there is another five-book series set in the same universe as the original series so I’m excited to see if they’re as fun as I remember them being when I was in middle school!” -Sarah Kee   

“I will be gifting two bicycling books to my husband: Wheels on Ice: Stories of Cycling in Alaska, edited by Jessica Cherry and Frank Soos. The stories are fascinating and inspirational. I’ll also be gifting him Two Wheels Good: The History and the Mystery of the Bicycle, by Jody Rosen, to my husband. It’s a global history of the bicycle and it sounds great. For my 7-year-old nephew I’ll be gifting Me: A Compendium: A Fill-in Journal for Kids by Wee Society. Seven seems like a good age to start recording one’s thoughts.” -Tish Fobben

“I’m planning on gifting a friend two books this year, since his birthday and Christmas are very close together. From a list of books he wants to read, I chose TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, a cozy story about love and found family that I had loved when I read it. I also am giving him Consumed: The Need for Collective Change by Aja Barber, which examines the injustices and histories of consumer industries, in particular the textile industry and its connections with slavery, racism, and wealth inequality that continues today. I’ve just started on Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood to kick off my reading in the new year.” -Taylor Martin

“I gave an early gift of An Immense World by Ed Yong to my partner’s mother, and I’m reading a library copy myself. The science of how different creatures experience the world through their senses is presented in such a fascinating way in this book, it’s already making for wonderful discussion! I’m planning to give a copy of What It’s Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley to my dad for Christmas. We both find bird behavior deeply endearing, and I expect this will also be a joy to discuss in the new year.” -Lacey Losh

“I’ve just started reading Shaun Bythell’s Confessions of a Bookseller (Godine, 2020), a curmudgeonly entertaining account of running a Scottish second-hand bookstore. It’s always fun to get an intimate look into the life of a book after it has left a warehouse and finds its way into the hands of readers and booksellers. He’s also the author of Diary of a Bookseller and Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops, so it appears being a bookseller also gives him time to write. I suppose that could mean book sales aren’t robust, providing him with lots of time to write…or perhaps he’s just an excellent manager of his time. Either way, it’s been fun to read so far.” -Clark Whitehorn

“I’m giving my wife a copy of It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO by Felix Gillette and John Koblin. We’ve spent many hours delving into the oft-forgotten depths of the HBO catalogue and always wondered how the channel went from the premier place to see movies before the easy availability of VHS players to the home of some of our favorite shows. Hopefully, the book puts an answer to some of those questions.” -Jackson Adams

“For a cozy read this year I’ve picked The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. This is a book I acquired when I moved in with my partner and we merged our book collections. She says she started it long ago and never finished it, so now is as good a time as any to take up the mantle. Since V.E. Schwab writes ‘it is like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket,’ I figure you can’t get any cozier than that. Here’s a snippet from the jacket: ‘Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth is assigned to travel to an orphanage on a distant island to determine whether six dangerous magical children are so dangerous, in fact, that they’re likely to bring about the end of days…The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place.'” -Rebecca Jefferson

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