April 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 will finish The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish later today and I liked it a lot. It’s the first book in the Vagrant Gods trilogy. A massive empire is set on world domination to bring everyone under the rule of their god king. They invade an island nation and kill their gods, which have physical forms and are regularly seen by the populous. A man from a previously conquered nation comes to the island with his two daughters to lead the latest in a string of rebellions, all of which have failed before. It’s a fun read and the second book is available, so I will be getting it soon.” -Rob Buchanan

“After thoroughly enjoying Becky Chambers’ Monk & Robot series, Heather recommended that I read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It’s the first in the Wayfarers series, written by the same author. In this story, the crew of an intergalactic ship (the Wayfarer) is made up of some unique and loveable individuals who hail from different parts of the galaxy. I’m pleased to discover that the themes of diversity, tolerance, and cooperation between folks with vastly different experiences of existence are alive and well in this cast of heartwarming characters. I find these themes comforting, and this year I’ve been coming back to Becky Chambers’ books again and again.” -Lacey Losh

“I’ve been reading The Sound of Undoing: A Memoir in Essays by Paige Towers, published by UNP. I really love how the book has a few constant threads (sound, the author’s relationship with her sister, their differing religious beliefs) that tie together the numerous instances of sound that serve as the inescapable backdrop of each essay’s memories. The author writes in a poetic but concrete way, giving you scenes that feel so realistic, it’s as if you’re there with her. I know I’m going to be left wanting even more when I finish it!” -Cecelia Bialas

“Last week I finished Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, which is a blend of science-fiction and fantasy following Shizuka Satomi, a talented musician that must deliver seven souls to the devil to spare her own, and Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway with a love for violin who may become the final soul Shizuka needs. The concept of combining the fantasy element of supernatural deals with the sci-fi side story of Lan Tran, an interstellar refugee, retired space captain, and mother of four intrigued me, and the story of found family in ever-changing Los Angeles and its competitive music scene was really stunning. My current read is N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, the first of her Broken Earth trilogy. I’m excited about this, I’ve heard Jemisin is an incredible writer.” -Taylor Martin

“This month I’ve just finished Carlos Allende’s Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love, a campy, dark comedy, which follows Charlie as he’s trying to make ends meet while living with his roommate Jignesh. Matters are quickly complicated when Charlie discovers a body in their freezer in the garage, and he doesn’t know what to do; he really does need Jignesh to cover his portion of the rent, and he’s been such a ‘nice’ roommate after all…” -Sarah Kee

“Currently I’m reading two books—one old and one new—by authors with Nebraska connections: One Book One Nebraska pick The Mystery of Hunting’s End by Mignon G. Eberhart and What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jiménez. They are very different books but I’d recommend them both.” -Jana Faust

“I just finished The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian. It was a title I saw on a friend’s want-to-read list on my Goodreads app, and figured I would give it a try. Although the story itself is somewhat dire, the two main characters are extremely likeable, and I found myself both grieving and celebrating along with them. Set in a swamp town in 1920s Mississippi, the author gives great detail to the surrounding landscape, giving the story a sense of beauty amidst the racism and violence of the period.” -Emily Casillas

“R. F. Kuang’s Babel is a tour-de-force reimagining of the British Empire in the 1830s and the use of words as physical sources of power for translators-in-training at Oxford. This paired nicely with Asterix and the Goths by René Goscinnywhich I picked up after an interesting conversation at a Press gathering.” -Heather Stauffer

“I’ve just finished Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. The novel, which has been on my to-read list for a few years, is about Shakespeare’s family, but primarily about his wife and the death of their son. I highly recommend the book for anyone looking for historical fiction – no need to be a Shakespeare fan to enjoy this one.” -Bridget Barry

“I’m in the middle of Brian Cox’s memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat. If you’re a Brian Cox fan, especially of everything he did before Succession, you’ll enjoy this book. (I glanced at the index, and Succession only takes up a few pages.)” -Erica Corwin

“For National Poetry month I read Warsan Shire’s Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head and Normal Distance by Elisa Gabbert. I noticed these two books from the bold cover designs, and each offered an equally bold voice in their poetry. Coincidentally, from ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire I read: ‘…no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land’ which struck me after finding this excerpt the same week in Molyvos by John Webb, publishing this fall.” -Nathan Putens

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