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Here's a list of books for summer reading, recommended by the UST Libraries staff. See our Leisure Reading collection for additional choices. Enjoy your summer!
(Libraries staff & student workers, if you have titles to add, please send title & blurb/commentary to Eric Kallas or John Heintz).
John Heintz, Charles J. Keffer Library
Feeding Nelson's Navy by
The popular image of food at sea in the age of sail is one of rotting meat and weevily biscuits. Building on recent research, the author shows how the sailor's official diet was better than what he could expect on land, and was more than enough to sustain him on active duty. The logistics of purchasing, packaging, on-board storage, and preparing the foods are fascinating for anyone interested in the details of ship-board life in the age of sail ( I know, it's kind of a niche audience).
Black Sea by
'Part travelogue, part recipe book, this is a love letter to "the sea that welcomes strangers", soaked in colour, history, myth and the flavours of many cultures.' Nick Hunt author of Where the Wild Winds Are This is the tale of a journey between three great cities - Odessa, built on a dream by Catherine the Great, through Istanbul, the fulcrum balancing Europe and Asia and on to tough, stoic, lyrical Trabzon. With a nose for a good recipe and an ear for an extraordinary story, Caroline Eden travels from Odessa to Bessarabia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey's Black Sea region, exploring interconnecting culinary cultures.
Dreyer's English by
A witty, informative guide to writing "good English" from Random House's longtime copy chief and one of Twitter's leading enforcers of proper grammar--a twenty-first-century Elements of Style.
Dreyer offers lessons on the ins and outs of punctuation and grammar, including how to navigate the words he calls "the confusables," like tricky homophones; the myriad ways to use (and misuse) a comma; and how to recognize--though not necessarily do away with--the passive voice. (Hint: If you can plausibly add "by zombies" to the end of a sentence, it's passive.) People are sharing their writing more than ever--on blogs, on Twitter--and this book lays out, clearly and comprehensibly, everything writers can do to keep readers focused on the real reason writers write: to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively. And yes: "Only godless savages eschew the series comma."
Ann Kenne - UST Archives & Special Collections
The Map of Salt and Stars by
Nour has just lost her father to cancer, and her mother moves Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. In order to keep her father’s spirit alive as she adjusts to her new home, Nour tells herself their favorite story—the tale of Rawiya, a twelfth-century girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to apprentice herself to a famous mapmaker. But the Syria Nour’s parents knew is changing, and it isn’t long before the war reaches their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety—along the very route Rawiya and her mapmaker took eight hundred years before in their quest to chart the world. As Nour’s family decides to take the risk, their journey becomes more and more dangerous, until they face a choice that could mean the family will be separated forever.
The Widows of Malabar Hill by
Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father's law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women's legal rights especially important to her. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X—meaning she probably couldn't even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, never leaving the women's quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.
Starvation Lake by
In the dead of a Michigan winter, pieces of a snowmobile wash up near the crumbling, small town of Starvation Lake—the same snowmobile that went down with Starvation’s legendary hockey coach years earlier. But everybody knows Coach Blackburn's accident happened five miles away on a different lake. As rumors buzz about mysterious underground tunnels, the evidence from the snowmobile says one thing: murder. Gus Carpenter, editor of the local newspaper, has recently returned to Starvation after a failed attempt to make it big at the Detroit Times. In his youth, Gus was the goalie who let a state championship get away, crushing Coach's dreams and earning the town's enmity. Now he's investigating the murder of his former coach. But even more unsettling to Gus are the holes in the town’s past and the gnawing suspicion that those holes may conceal some dark and disturbing secrets—secrets that some of the people closest to him may have killed to keep.
Cathy Lutz, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by
Review by Publishers Weekly: “Rarely does a novel so suffused with death radiate as much life as this spirited -- in every sense of the word -- genre-bending adventure from Racculia (Bellweather Rhapsody). The games begin for volunteer Tuesday Mooney at Boston General Hospital's annual fund-raising gala when, uncharacteristically, the self-possessed loner finds herself flirting with a handsome guest who introduces himself as Nathaniel Arches, of the Brahmin megabucks clan. Then Vincent Pryce -- not the Vincent Price but an eccentric, cape-draped elderly billionaire famed for his love of the macabre -- collapses. In his subsequently published self-penned obituary, he invites the city to play an elaborate treasure hunt with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe, for a chunk of his fortune. The challenge galvanizes a host of contestants, including Tuesday, for whom the dark side has held a fascination ever since her childhood in Salem, Mass., and the never-solved disappearance of her best friend, Abby Hobbes. As suspenseful as the adrenaline-pumping race will prove, testing competitors in ways they never anticipated, the author, like Vincent, has a deeper design in mind, which only becomes apparent with the book's immensely satisfying final bombshells.”
The Andromeda Evolution by
Some of us are old enough to remember when The Andromeda Strain (1969) was new and really hot stuff: this was the book that started the technothriller genre. This sequel does not disappoint!
Review by Publishers Weekly: "Wilson confidently captures the voice of the late Crichton (1942-2008) in this chilling sequel to the 1969 blockbuster The Andromeda Strain. Over 50 years ago, the deadly, alien Andromeda Strain nearly wiped out a small Arizona town. When Project Eternal Vigilance, put in place in the wake of the first breakout, detects an anomaly in the Amazon, a team of five scientists is sent to investigate. The scientists -- among them astronaut Sophie Kline, who has paraplegia, and roboticist James Stone, whose famous father was involved in the first Andromeda incident -- trek into the Brazilian jungle to study the outbreak and contain it as quickly as possible, only to discover that the Andromeda Strain has evolved into something even more deadly. The investigation, told partially via reconstructed transcripts, interviews, and descriptions of video footage, unfurls over the course of five action-packed days. "
Eric Kallas, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Voyageur Skies by
"VOYAGEUR SKIES chronicles spring, summer, fall, and winter in Voyageurs National Park through Don Breneman's stunning photographs, while University of Minnesota meteorologist/climatologist Dr. Mark Seeley explains the effects of weather and climate on the shaping of the park's pristine landscape. How has the climate in Voyageurs National Park changed in recent years and what does this mean going forward? Climate change is already impacting Minnesota's water resources. While celebrating the speactacular beauty to be found in Minnesota's only national park, VOYAGEUR SKIES facilitates wider discussion and understanding of implications for the future if the quality of the state's water resources is to be preserved. Written for general readers and also for classroom use, this book will be the centerpiece for educational programs to be offered jointly by the University of Minnesota Water Rescources Center and Extension."
The Art of the Streamliner by
"By the early 20th century, as the railroad became a vital means of moving people and goods, trains and locomotives became the focus of some of the world's finest mechanical engineers and industrial designers. From this increased attention arose perhaps the most elegant land-based form of transportation in human history: the streamlined train. Relive their glory through magnificent photographs of these cars, which show both their elegant interiors and their graceful shapes speeding across the countryside. Here are the ever-more luxurious rolling accommodations for the discriminating traveler, with increasingly spacious sleeper cars and dining rooms that came to resemble those in four-star restaurants. Written and researched by a team of veteran transportation historians and illustrated with more than 175 black-and-white and full-color pictures, this tribute honors not only the dazzling passenger cars, but also the legendary designers, and presents the gorgeous promotional brochures and posters used to entice passengers."
Dan Gjelten - Director, UST Libraries
Whiskey When We're Dry by
Let’s say you loved True Grit (Charles Portis) and News of the World (Paulette Jiles). Let’s say those two books had a baby. It’s name is Whiskey When We’re Dry and you’ll love it just as much.
Tina Witzel, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Why We Sleep by
What if I told you there was something you could do to boost your immune system, productivity, happiness, memory retention, and life span? Are you interested? It's getting sufficient sleep (7-9 hrs. for most adults)! Only recently have scientists begun to discover just how critical sleep is for every part of our well-being. Matthew Walker sums up these scientific studies in an informative and interesting 368 pages. Read this book and learn more about one of the best versions of self-care!
Talia Nadir, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Petal Pusher by
"Set in the years between the meteoric launches of Madonna and Courtney Love, Petal Pusher takes readers on a stirring journey across rock and roll, from the big-haired 1980s to the grunge-filled 1990s, when Laurie Lindeen brought her all-girl band, Zuzu's Petals, to compete in the indie rock arena....Minneapolis in the eighties was a musical hotbed, the land of 10,000 lakes and 10,000 bands that gave birth to Prince, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum. For Laurie Lindeen it was the perfect place to launch her rock-and-roll dream."
Know My Name by
A victim of a well-publicized sexual assault, Miller recounts the aftermath of her experience and brings into sharp focus a questionable, and problematic “justice” system.
From the cover: “She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter…. Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. ”
Trust Exercise by
“[Trust Exercise] burns more brightly than anything [Choi’s] yet written. This psychologically acute novel enlists your heart as well as your mind. Zing will go certain taut strings in your chest. . . . Choi builds her novel carefully, but it is packed with wild moments of grace and fear and abandon. . . . [A] delicious and, in its way, rather delicate . . . phosphorescent examination of sexual consent.”
―The New York Times
Three Women by
“It’s the quotidian minutes of our lives that will go on forever, that will tell us who we were, who our neighbors and our mothers were, when we were too diligent in thinking they were nothing like us. This is the story of three women.” (from book)
“this book -- challenging and heartbreaking – will stay with me. An extraordinary, documentary deep dive into the psychology of women and sex that is as unputdownable as the most page-turning fiction.” (Jojo Moyes).
Normal People by
I needed to escape the political reality we live in, if only by reading something different. This was a novel that helped me do that.
“[Rooney’s] two carefully observed and gentle comedies of manners . . . are tender portraits of Irish college students. . . . Remarkably precise—she captures meticulously the way a generation raised on social data thinks and talks.”—New York Review of Books
Conversations with Friends by
Described by the New Yorker as “a new kind of adultery novel,” it is the story of two college students “and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple.”
This was another good "escape" novel for me.
Dept. of Speculation by
A portrait of marriage, it is also a beguiling rumination on the mystery of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the conditions of universal shipwreck that unites us all (from cover).
Unique writing style – if you like reading prose, read this book.
Not a book for everyone. Takes patience that is, nonetheless, rewarding.
“Asymmetry” poses questions about the limits of imagination and empathy—can we understand each other across lines of race, gender, nationality, and power? New Yorker https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-asymmetry-has-become-a-literary-phenomenon
Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by
“A fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor. Sarah Turnbull's stint in Paris was only supposed to last a week. Chance had brought Sarah and Frédéric together in Bucharest, and on impulse she decided to take him up on his offer to visit him in the world's most romantic city. Sacrificing Vegemite for vichyssoise, the feisty Sydney journalist does her best to fit in, although her conversation, her laugh, and even her wardrobe advertise her foreigner status. But as she navigates the highs and lows of this strange new world, from life in a bustling quatier and surviving Parisian dinner parties to covering the haute couture fashion shows and discovering the hard way the paradoxes of France today, little by little Sarah falls under its spell: maddening, mysterious, and charged with that French specialty-séduction. An entertaining tale of being a fish out of water, Almost French is an enthralling read as Sarah Turnbull leads us on a magical tour of this seductive place-and culture-that has captured her heart.” Amazon
Marianne Hageman, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library
"In Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, Julie Andrews takes her readers on a warm, moving, and often humorous journey from a difficult upbringing in war-torn Britain to the brink of international stardom in America. Her memoir begins in 1935, when Julie was born to an aspiring vaudevillian mother and a teacher father, and takes readers to 1962, when Walt Disney himself saw her on Broadway and cast her as the world's most famous nanny. Along the way, she weathered the London Blitz of World War II; her parents' painful divorce; her mother's turbulent second marriage to Canadian tenor Ted Andrews, and a childhood spent on radio, in music halls, and giving concert performances all over England. Julie's professional career began at the age of twelve, and in 1948 she became the youngest solo performer ever to participate in a Royal Command Performance before the Queen. When only eighteen, she left home for the United States to make her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend, and thus began her meteoric rise to stardom." (From the publisher)
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by
"It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash. Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life—saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder." (From the publisher)
Spinning Silver by
"Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike." (From the publisher.) Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Time, and others.