March 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. 

“Last week I borrowed A Career in Books by Kate Gavino from Jana. It turned out to be completely fitting that I borrowed this graphic novel from a coworker, as it’s a tale of friendship, early careers in publishing, and a love of reading. The main characters are young, Asian-American women living together in New York City, navigating life, romantic relationships, establishing careers, and sharing a touching friendship with their downstairs neighbor that spans a generation gap.” -Lacey Losh

“I’m reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. It took me a while to get used to the rhythm of her writing, and I admit to occasionally having to flip backwards in the book to remind myself of who each character is and how they’re connected. Even so, I find myself drawn to many of these characters and their different ways of navigating life.” -Joyce Gettman

“I just finished 101 Pat-Downs: An Undercover Look at Airport Security and the TSA by Shawna Malvini Redden, published by UNP. Its casual and humorous conversational tone and lack of jargon make it an extremely accessible study on communication and identity. I really enjoyed hearing so many different perspectives on the TSA as a frequent flyer myself.” -Cecelia Bialas

“I’ve been working my way through Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, written during Stalin’s regime and not published until the 1960s, a little more than 20 years after Bulgakov’s death. I’m really enjoying it so far; the book follows the effect on Moscow and its citizens as the Devil and his cohorts rampage through the city. It’s full of absurd scenes and humor while also casting light on some of the uncomfortable – and even dangerous – aspects of living under Stalin’s Soviet Union. This is one of the books that has been sitting on my shelf unread, so I’m also happy to be crossing that off my TBR!” -Taylor Martin

“I’m reading The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight, which details an experimental effort in the ‘60s United Kingdom to test the veracity of people who claimed to have the ability to predict the future. I’m very early in but have really enjoyed the look at Post-Blitz British spiritualism and skepticism as well as the damning accounts of a medical infrastructure with nearly no oversight and the doctors and researchers who used that environment to their own ends.” -Jackson Adams

“I just started Wool which is book one in the Silo series by Hugh Howey. My husband read the series years ago, so we’ve had the trilogy on our shelf for a while but interest spurred anew since the AppleTV series debuts this spring!” -Rosemary Sekora

“First, River Sing Me Homeby Eleanor Shearer, follows Rachel, a woman in 1834 who flees the Barbados plantation where she’s been enslaved and goes on a harrowing quest to reunite with her five children who were sold away. Shearer weaves together complex emotions, but at the heart of everything is a mother’s love. Switching to the future, Katie Williams’ Tell the Machine Goodnight is a witty story about a woman who works for a corporation that’s patented a happiness machine, with alternating perspectives from her teenage son who refuses to use it.” -Heather Stauffer

“I am currently reading Stay Out of New Orleans by P. Curran. It is a collection of stories inspired by the culture and landscape of New Orleans’ French Quarter, and if you are familiar with the lifestyle down there, you will enjoy this book and all its weird, quirky locals navigating their lives. I bought it while I was in the French Quarter this year at Crescent City Bookstore.” -Taylor Gilreath

“I copied Rosemary’s read from last month and read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee in preparation of seeing her give the Keynote Lecture at AWP. It was a great book and awesome to see Lee talk about her writing at the conference. While I’m waiting for my library hold of her other book Free Food for Millionaires to come in, I’ve started reading SJ Sindu’s Blue Skinned Gods.” -Sarah Kee

“I’ve been rereading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It has been years since I initially read this book but I had always thought the way it examined the lived experience of culture to be fascinating. I gave it the reread to discover new things since the world has changed so much since it came out in 2014.” -Colin Mallisee

“A friend lent me The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher. I don’t normally read horror stories, but I continued with this one for the tender descriptions of taxidermy, the lovable characters, and the mysterious beings occupying the “negative space” of an alien dimension. If you found a mysterious hole in your world leading to a dark concrete bunker, would you go through? The answer for me is a resounding no, but I’m sure glad Carrot and Simon did. This book has given me nightmares and made it difficult to sleep, so it’s a 10/10 from me. Final score pending on whether the main character’s cat survives.” -Rebecca Jefferson

“My favorite book I read this month is Kelly Barnhill’s first adult novel, When Women Were Dragons. I was already fond of Barnhill’s children’s literature (The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an all-time favorite of mine), and this exceeded all my expectations. It’s a magic realist tale that takes place in the 1950s Midwest and imagines an alternative world in which women occasionally transform into dragons and leave their homes and families behind. It explores family dynamics, gender roles, coming of age, and more—I just loved it!” -Kayla Moslander

“I read Fifty Forgotten Books by R.B. Russell. There are surprises in this nostalgic and wonderfully detailed personal bibliography, mostly from the horror and weird fiction from the early twentieth century, such as this: ‘The world would be a boring place if we all agreed on what was funny.’ The descriptions of the bookshops throughout the UK—Sheffield, Brighton, Hay-on-Wye, to name some locations—are described almost on equal terms as the books themselves.” -Nathan Putens

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