Home » Culture of the Book » What We’re Reading – Library Staff – October 2015

What We’re Reading – Library Staff – October 2015

Students, faculty and staff are always asking the Learning Commons Librarians and Staff for suggestions about what books to read.


Here is a list of what we are currently reading and some of our favorite summer reads.



Betsy Peck Learned, Interim Dean of University Libraries

My current read is Euphoria by Lily King.  It is a fictional account of the early life of Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, studying tribes in New Guinea.

My favorite summer read was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. She’s an amazing writer who tells a very dark and dramatic but human story of a boy named Theo who spends his life both trying to find and lose himself.




Susan McMullen, Professor – Research Services & User Engagement Librarian

I’m currently reading The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes. Through her vividly drawn characters and brilliant storytelling, JoJo Moyes immediately engages her readers in an emotional ride that spans two time frames and locations—a small village in France during the German occupation of World War I and modern-day London.  In this gorgeous story of unwavering love and sacrifice, the romantic narratives of two compelling women are bound together through a fictional painting named The Girl You Left Behind. Their stories of love and sacrifice take the reader on a journey that explores the complexities of the human spirit and the power of art to resonate through the ages. Moyes has a unique talent for grabbing the reader’s attention and writing a story that makes a lasting impression.



Karen Jones Ethier, Director of Support Services – Information Technology

My current read is The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.

My favorite is a tie:

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Fiction
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion: Fiction

I loved The Goldfinch because her writing just swept me right into the story and I loved The Rosie Project because it made me laugh out loud!




Lindsey Gumb, Instructional Technology Librarian

I’m currently reading No More Mulberries by Mary Smith (women’s fiction).

So far, this is a beautifully written novel about a Scottish-born midwife who finds herself married, widowed and remarried in Afghanistan amidst the civil war in 1995.  She must learn to cope with the loss of her first husband while raising her two children and navigating her new marriage of convenience and her career as a midwife in a country with little to no resources.


My favorite summer read is Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman (fiction).

I just finished reading this book, and Aciman’s poetic writing moved me to tears and made my heart ache when I realized I had come to the end of this epically beautiful story of love and loss set in Italy. I’ve downloaded his next book Harvard Square, and can’t wait to delve in.




Barbara Kenney, Professor, Instructional Services and Campus Initiatives Librarian

My current read is 1776 (audiobook) by David McCullough. Listening to the author tell the thrilling and improbable story of the year our country was born is pure delight. It is a timely reminder that freedom comes at a cost, we should never take for granted that freedom, and the people who founded our country were dedicated patriots, something we could use more of these days.


My favorite (all-time) summer read: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. For four summers, I listened to the author narrate these beautifully written, interwoven tales of life, love and the natural world in an Appalachian summer. I love this book!



John Schlinke, Architecture/Art Librarian

I’m currently reading The Island of Knowledge by Marcelo Gleiser. It is an exploration of the limits of scientific knowledge.




Nancy Jannitto, Learning Commons Administrative Assistant

Current read:  Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand. I love the way she writes.  It is about a woman who is planning her wedding on Nantucket Island and everything that goes wrong. It’s also very funny.


Favorite summer read:  The Liar by Nora Roberts. This book had my attention from the beginning.  It is about a woman who gets pregnant young and marries a man who she eventually finds out is not what he appears to be.




Linda Beith, Director of Instructional Design

I just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes—a romantic novel—so heartbreaking! It’s a love story but gives the reader a lot to think about around loving yourself as well (or more!) as another and the right to choose how you live.


My favorite summer read is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier— a gothic novel. I know it’s old but I enjoy revisiting it and the beautiful Manderley.



Mary Wu, Digital Scholarship and Metadata Librarian

I am fond of the classics.  Right now I’m reading Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, recommended to me by my oldest son.  Not long ago, I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and saw outlines of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, though they are set nearly two centuries apart.  So, my son may have thought it interesting to read a book about the Russian Revolution together with one about the French Revolution, to consider why one revolution led to a free, democratic France, while the other created a totalitarian Soviet regime.



Chris Truszkowski, Web and Digital Services Specialist

I’m reading Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey. The fifth book in a series described as “the science fictional equivalent of A Song of Ice and Fire,” Nemesis Games sees a thousand new worlds opened up to humanity. During the initial waves of colonization, old governments start to buckle, ships go missing, private armies come to power and the crew of a small ship just wants to make it home through all of this.



Hannah Goodall, Learning Commons Coordinator

My current read is An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. My favorite summer read is The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli.  The Lotus Eaters is about an American female journalist in Saigon during the Vietnam War.  I read this the summer after I had finished traveling in Southeast Asia so I felt a bit more connected to the places the book describes.  I also liked the story of a lone female photojournalist in a man’s world and war, with a hint of a love story.



Stop in at the University Library for more recommendations and to check out some great books!