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Stags Read: Book Recommendations: Library Staff Picks

This guide provides book recommendations with links to books from the Library's catalog and to other external websites.

Librarians & Library Staff Suggestions

FICTION

 The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

 Recommended by: Laura Cossette, Systems Librarian

"The first book in the Daevabad Trilogy follows Nahri as she accidentally stumbles into the world of powerful Djinni (genie) magic. This is the best fantasy series I’ve read in a long time. The reader is pulled into rich Middle Eastern lore with intelligent, stubborn, and talented protagonists. I found myself laughing out loud and at other times crying out in frustration, but I was glued to the page, rooting for the characters the whole way."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

 Recommended by: Curtis Ferree, Associate Dean for Public Services & Head of the Academic Commons Partnership

"I re-read this for the first time since it came out. Pleasantly surprised that it’s much funnier than I remember."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 A Discovery of Witches (trilogy) by Deborah Harkness

 Recommended by: Lisa Thornell, Student Engagement & Outreach Librarian

"If you like fantasy books (they remind me of a cross between Twilight and Harry Potter) you will be hooked and never want them to end! But when you do finish reading them you can watch the television series."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

 Recommended by: Laura Cossette, Systems Librarian

"This book takes a common trope of fantasy and turns it on its head. What starts off sounding like a typical fantasy plot—a Hero begins an epic journey to defeat an insurmountable evil because a prophesy foretold it--quickly derails in the most inconvenient of ways. The characters are quite upset when the prophesy refuses to play nicely and they must decide how to proceed in a less heroic, less certain sounding future. Worth the read for anyone sick of tired and predictable plots!"

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 The Fifth Season  by N.K. Jemisin

 Recommended by: Curtis Ferree, Associate Dean for Public Services & Head of the Academic Commons Partnership

"This book (first in the Broken Earth trilogy) takes place on a planet (a far-in-the-future Earth?) with one giant landmass, which is beset by periodic environmental calamity.  Some people have evolved to be able to interface (and control) the Earth’s seismic activity. Others have risen to attempt to control *them.* Great, original world-building. The entirely trilogy is worth a read."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

 Recommended by: Emily Porter-Fyke, Research and Instruction Librarian

"If, like me, you’re having a little trouble reconciling JK Rowling’s recent behavior with your own moral compass, but you find yourself needing some simple young adult fantasy escapism, you should try out Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The Lightning Thief started it all, so you should start with it! Riordan isn’t quite the wordsmith Rowling is, but he wrote these books for all kids of all types and it shows in his generous and careful characterization. No one is excluded or treated as “less than,” which is a real breath of fresh air these days. Plus, you get to learn about Greek mythology!"

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 Mercy House by Alena Dillon

 Recommended by: Barbara Ghilardi, Assessment Librarian

"A good debut novel from Alena Dillon - Fairfield U grad! It’s about three nuns who run a home for women who are sexual abuse survivors. While the book is a dramatization, some of the horrific events portrayed are based on true stories. There’s a great section after the novel ends which includes information about the author, the inspiration behind the book, and an interview with Sister Suzanne CSJ, PhD. "

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Recommended by: Ann Victor, Cataloging and Metadata Strategies Librarian

"Don’t worry, this is not a Stephen King horror novel. He delves this time into time travel, and imagines what the world might be like if one could go back and prevent the assassination of JFK. It’s brilliantly written, with an engaging story that puts an interesting spin on the concept of time travel, and throws a bit of romance, action, and mystery into the mix too. It’s a long one, but it’s worth it." 

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

 Recommended by: Matt Schirano, Senior Research Librarian & Instruction Coordinator

"From the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this book is one of the few “I could not put this down” books I’ve read in the last 10 years. It follows an eccentric logging family in a small Oregon town who slowly veer into crazy absurdity as a labor strike grips their small town. Ken Kesey weaves a visceral Greek tragedy with a cast and setting that you wouldn’t think would generate something so emotionally engaging."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

Recommended by: Keith Engwall, Web & Technology Librarian
"Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, this sweeping SF novel explores themes of communication with alien intelligences in a wildly imaginative story filled with magical reality that, by the end, seems strangely plausible.  Translated in a story mode that lovingly weaves Eastern and Western conventions, The Three Body Problem is the first Asian SF novel to win the Hugo Award in 2015.  It is a mind bending glimpse into a vast universe beyond our world." 

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 Time and Again by Jack Finney

 Recommended by: Elise Bochinski, University Archivist

"One of the first and best-loved time-traveler stories, Time and Again is still a captivating read for long winter nights. The plot: a military project sends an ad agency sketch artist back to New York City in 1882 to solve a mystery that involves the destruction of the world."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

 Recommended by: Sylvia Hurlburt, Circulation and Reserves Assistant

 "A complex novel about a young girl experiencing abandonment, physical and mental abuse, extreme poverty and illiteracy which she overcame to eventually succeed as an author. the story takes many twists, part is a dark story of human tragedy, part is romance, part murder mystery, and part uplifting tale of overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

NONFICTION

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman

Recommended by: Laura Cossette, Web Services Librarian

"This is the true story of two young women who, in 1889, independently set out in opposite directions in a race to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 days. The challenge was inspired by Jules Verne’s fictional novel “Around the World in Eighty Days.” Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland were both journalists at a time when women were not welcome in the industry, one doing investigative reporting for the World newspaper (run by Joseph Pulitzer), the other a writer for Cosmopolitan magazine. Given that I had never heard this story before, I think it does a great job of uncovering some fascinating history as it follows the adventures of these two scrappy women who were determined to blaze their own trails."

Goodreads Link
 

Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption, by Bryan Stevenson

Recommended by: Ann Victor, Cataloging and Metadata Strategies Librarian

This memoir knocked me off my feet. I laughed, cried, felt enraged, and learned so much about our justice system. Bryan Stevenson is a great writer, and an amazing human. Then, if you enjoy this, watch the movie starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

Goodreads Link 

DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Recommended by: Laura Cossette, Web Services Librarian

"Native American history, especially history that defies stereotypes, is often overlooked in the American education system. Set in the 1920s, this book explores how the Osage Indian nation, the richest people per capita in the world, had their wealth stolen from them through greed, corruption, and a series of murders that went unpunished due to racism against Native Americans. It’s also the story of one of the F.B.I.‘s first major homicide investigations."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene

Recommended by: Barbara Ghilardi, Assessment Librarian

"Office fans will really enjoy this one, the oral history format works really well. The author talked to almost everyone involved in the show actors, writers, other crew, NBC executives. The Office remains one of my favorite comedies and I'm glad a book like this is out there documenting it's history and impact."

Goodreads
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Recommended by: Matt Schirano, Senior Research Librarian & Instruction Coordinator

"An absolutely fascinating read. Many people assume that the world’s famous athletes, inventors, musicians, scientists, etc. specialize at a young age. They find their niche and focus on being the best, at the expense of broadening their skills and interests. Epstein makes a compelling case for the success of a generalist approach: juggling many interests and letting your activity wander as your interests shift. It’s hard to explain this book in a short time, so I suggest just giving it a read!"

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

 

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy or, How Capitalism Works – and How It    Fails by Yanis Varoufakis

 Recommended by: Elise Bochinski, University Archivist

"Are you in the market for a book about economic theory that is personal, informative, and engaging? Look no further. Each chapter was genuinely interesting and I looked forward to reading the next. Recommended especially for those who are - like me – a bit challenged by the financial underpinnings of a more typical course on economics. Short read."

Goodreads Link
DiMenna-Nyselius Library Link

Other Staff Suggestions

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