You’re almost there–well on your way to the last day of fall semester! Why not treat yourself with a celebratory read or two to enjoy over break? Books in the stacks and our Popular Reading collection can be checked out for 28 days, so no need to stress about due dates. Here are some staff favorites if you need advice on what to read next. Where possible, we’ve even nicely arranged these together on the 1st floor of the library because we know you’ve worked hard this semester and don’t need to deal with another set of stairs or waiting on the elevator.
Cheryl Colson, Collections Technician and resident baker
Tailspin by Sandra Brown (USMAI)
Engaging who done it. If you like mysteries, this is the perfect read to keep you on the edge of your seat over break!
Kent Randell, College Archivist
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (Stacks), Call number: CT9971.M35 K73 1996
After graduating college, Christopher McCandless tramped around North America, sometimes in his car, and after his car was destroyed in a desert flash flood, then on foot. His ultimate death in an abandoned school bus in Alaska adds weight to the story.
An interesting character study into the life of a tramp and the people he met along his journey. McClandless’ final months and death in isolation become a reflection on a human being’s place in society. Krakauer’s narration is neither too breezy or too wordy, and treats all of the characters in the story with a high degree of sympathy without becoming too sentimental.
Amanda VerMeulen, Librarian
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (Popular Reading), Call number: F HILL
Need some horror to balance all the Hallmark movies? Take a ride with Charlie Manx to “Christmasland,” the most terrifying amusement park ever imagined. If you’re lucky you just might survive this holiday outing.
William Crowell, Visiting Librarian
Hogfather: A Novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett (USMAI)
On Discworld, children look forward to Hogswatch Night, when the Hogfather comes to bring them presents. This year, a group of beings known as the Auditors want to stop that from happening by any means necessary. They hire Mr. Teatime (it’s pronounced “Teh-ah-tim-eh”), a psychotic assassin, to ensure that it does not.
The only beings standing between the assassin and his target are Death’s granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit, the Death of Rodents, a talking Raven named Quoth, and Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers. The stakes are much higher than toys, however. If they can’t stop Teatime’s plot, then the next morning, the sun won’t rise over the Disc.
What better way to celebrate the season than to read a story about winter holidays on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld? And if that story contains magic, assassins, and a meditation on the nature of humanity, belief, and childhood, then more’s the better!
Additionally, if you’ve never read a Discworld novel, this is a fun, self-contained story that can serve as your introduction to the beloved fantasy series. (Speaking of introductions to the series, if you can’t get your hands on Hogfather, the SMCM Library also has Mort and Guards! Guards!, which are also both great, though less seasonally appropriate.)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Popular Reading), Call number: F GYASI or Kindle (check one out from the front desk)
Homegoing is a set of loosely connected short stories chronicling the African Diaspora from the Gold Coast to the west coast and back again. Although the collection is arranged chronologically it skips over enough history that readers may want to spend some time Googling to fill in historical gaps.
Interesting and worth the read. Readers may find themselves reflecting on our current cultural moment and the history of race and the African American diaspora in the U.S.
The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato (Popular Reading), Call number: F DISABATO
Molly Metropolis, is a global outrun electro-infused pop star famous for her “Apocalypse Dance” music video and her fascination with the Situationists. She makes maps and spectacle and disappears before a big show showcasing her new album in Chicago. Her assistant tries to track her down and gets lost in the “L.” There are missing girls, maps and unless you are seriously into philosophy, and avant-garde art, Wikipedia.
Read this to pick a side: Lady Gaga vs. Janelle Monáe. The consensus is that bi-racial Molly Metropolis is based on Lady Gaga rather than the creator of the album Metropolis (2007) and song/video Dance Apocalypse (2013.)
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Popular Reading), Call number: F STEWART
The Kopp sisters’ buggy is hit by Henry Kaufman’s motor car in Paterson, NJ. The women and the buggy is damaged. Constance, the eldest sister, requests that Kaufman pay to repair the buggy. The buggy is the sister’s only means of transportation and they are of limited means. The three women live in a farmhouse in Bergen County, New Jersey and cherish their independence. Because Kaufman was drinking when he hit them Constance assumes he will take responsibility for the accident and pay te repair bill. He doesn’t. In fact, rather than pay for the repairs he begins to harass the sisters, going as far as to stalk them and threaten their lives with his Black Hand compatriots.
The novel is a fictionalized account but all of the key elements of the story are true right down to an article in the “Philadelphia Sun” headlined, “Girl Waits with Gun.” (11/23/1914) There is lot’s of action, a juicy backstory, snappy writing and a side mystery that will keep you reading. Although Constance is the lead character all three of the Kopp sisters hold their own and you will root for them and despite the odds they win. You might even say they persisted.
Kate Pitcher, Director of the LAMC
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (Popular Reading), Call number: F MURAKAMI
A dystopian novel set in the year 1984, it follows the parallel stories of Aomame, a young Japanese woman with a mysterious past, and Tengo, a young man who seems to live an ordinary life on the surface, until he is pulled into an editorial conspiracy involving the rewrite of a fantastical story by a young adult named Fuka-Eri. The novel is set in an alternative timeline in the year of 1984, and blends mystery, love story, surrealism, and fantasy all in one.
Thought-provoking and captivating, 1Q84 is a meditative reflection on the fantastical and the ordinary. Disturbing at times, it always makes you think.
Jillian Sandy, Visiting Librarian
Watership Down by Richard Adams (Stacks), Call number: PR6051.D345 W3
Though far from perfect, the rabbits of Sandleford warren enjoy rather tranquil lives. That is, until runt of the litter Fiver insists terrible things are coming for the warren. His brother Hazel is one of the few to act on these warnings, leading a small group of rabbits in a quest to find a new home amidst the many dangers that lie in wait for a rabbit with nowhere to hide.
Added bonus: get spoilers ahead of the Netflix series (planned for release later this month)! Or compare to the 1978 animated film adaptation that traumatized many a Millennial (including this one). Not only is the story suspenseful and the writing great, but the characters seem real, and the folk tales of the rabbit trickster figure El-ahrairah absolutely come to life. There’s a reason this is still a beloved fantasy novel over 40 years later.
Whether you pick up one of our recommended reads or not, we will miss you over break! Stay safe and warm on your travels and know we’ll still have plenty of reads once you get back!