Staff Book Suggestions Autumn 2021
(Library of Congress Classification PZ4 .T2385 Re 2020)
Brandon Taylor’s debut novel tells the story of Wallace, a gay black doctoral student attending a predominately white midwestern university. Described as a “coming of age” and “campus” novel, this book follows Wallace’s search for life, real life, beyond the academy.
Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer; translated by Antoinette Fawcett
(Library of Congress Classification PZ4.M495 Bi 2018)
Based on the life of Len Howard, a British naturalist and musician, this story traces her life from the stage to seclusion. It is a lovely book about her immersion into the natural world around her.
The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
(Library of Congress PZ4 .R66263 Mi 2020)
Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest reads more like a pop-history narrative from the near future than a traditional science fiction novel. It combines fictional narrative, scientific and historical essays, and poetry to portray a best case scenario where human civilization not only survives climate change, but actively mitigates it, building a better world in the process. This book is vivid and unsparing in its portrayal of climate catastrophe, but in the end it left me a little more optimistic than I was before.
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
(Library of Congress PZ4.H4316 Tr 1980)
(Library of Congress PZ4 .O5398 Wa 2018)
Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller
(Library of Congress PZ4.M645 Nor 2013)
I just finished reading The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard and Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. Of course, I’m always reading a mystery story too. I loved Norwegian By Night by Derek B. Miller. I would love to hear about your favorites.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
(Library of Congress PZ4 .I78 Kl 2021)
I listened to the audiobook of Klara and the Sun via cloudLibrary. Ishiguro’s latest is the perfect Fall read for those colder days when you miss the warmth of the summer sun.
Autumntide of the Middle Ages: A Study of Forms of Life and Thought of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries in France and the Low Countries by Johan Huizinga
(Library of Congress + DC33.2 .H83 2020)
Huizinga was a huge figure in twentieth-century academic circles and inspired many interdisciplinary studies, and I’d be surprised if most hadn’t encountered his works in college. His most well-known book had five editions in his lifetime and was translated into many languages. It appeared first in English in 1924 as The Waning of the Middle Ages, and Huizinga collaborated with Frits Hopman on what he knew was an adaptation rather than a full translation. In 1996, a new English translation appeared. In 2020, Leiden University sponsored a new translation with a history of the work’s publication as well as an explanation of Huizinga’s other works and his influence on scholarship over the last century. It also has excellent reproductions of many paintings, manuscripts, and prints discussed. It includes the bibliography omitted from the first English translations and even lists the specific books Huizinga checked out from his university’s library. If you like medieval and book history, this is for you. One caveat: it is in the format of a huge art book and is meant to be read on a table rather than in one’s lap or hands.
The Day of the Dead: The Autumn of Commissario Ricciardi by Maurizio de Giovanni
(Library of Congress PZ4.D31 Da 2014)
We’ll be reading this together; it’s on my list for the fall. This series set in Naples in the 1930s was recommended to me years ago, and I’ve been slowly savoring it. I know someone who gobbles ‘em down and then waits impatiently for the book to be written and then translated from Italian. At first, I scoffed at the premise, a detective who is cursed to see the dead in their final moments, but the author writes sensitively and beautifully and realistically. If you like mysteries, I highly recommend this and suggest you actually start with the first I Will Have Vengeance: The Winter of Commissario Ricciardi. If I change my mind after reading this fourth in the series, I’ll own up to it for our winter recommendations.