Published: Nov. 16, 2017

Fall break is an ideal time to relax, refresh...and read! Before you leave campus, consider picking up a book to read over break. Almost as delicious as your favorite Thanksgiving dish is the idea of reading something that isn’t on a syllabus, something for the airplane or road trip, something you choose to read for pleasure!

The University Libraries are so associated with research help and academic resources that you can easily forget we have popular novels, too! Here are seven book recommendations from our faculty and staff:

The Wild Palms by William Faulkner. Book cover of Faulkner's The Wild Palms
"Two intertwined stories: one about giving up passion for the sake of practicality, and another about giving up practicality for the sake of passion (neither ends well). And, it's a Faulkner novel you can read in a week, without Sparknotes."

Daniel Johnson, Teaching & Learning Specialist 


House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende Book cover The House of Spirits
“This is a story of three generations of a family living in Chile and spans most of the 20th century, including the time of the violent coup by dictator Pinochet.  Often considered a classic, this is a wonderful and approachable book to get lost in.  I became completely absorbed in the story from page one.” 

                 Cynthia Keller, Learning Coordinator


Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyous Life by William Burnett and Dave EvansBook Cover for Designing Your Life
"A fun approach to answering the question, 'What do you want to do with your life?' from two former engineers and current professors at Stanford's They offer basic design tools to apply to your academic and work life, a kind of toolbox for a meaningful and commercially-viable career."

                 Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager


33 1/3 Series by Bloomsbury Publishing Book cover of Highway to Hell
“Anything in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series. Each slim volume tackles a specific album, like AC/DC’s 'Highway to Hell' or a moment in musical history, like the rise of hip-hop viewed through the lens of the Geto Boys. The authors write for all audiences and successfully lead the reader to a new level of appreciation. The Libraries currently own 33 titles. Search for “33 1/3” as a title search in Chinook."

                  Stephanie Bonjack, Assistant Professor and Head of the Howard B. Waltz Music Library


Buck by M.K. AsanteBook cover of the novel BUCK
“A lyrical, gritty memoir of growing up in 'Killadelphia' in the early 1990’s, with just the right mix of hip hop lyrics, humor, and hope. I can’t recommend this more highly.”

Lindsay Roberts, Assistant Professor and Education Librarian


Out by Kirino NatsuoBook cover of the Japanese novel, Out
“A gory feminist masterpiece! It’s a graphic book, but a brilliant commentary on Japanese society.” 

Adam H. Lisbon, Assistant Professor and Japanese & Korean Studies Librarian


book display of popular novelsIf none of these titles tempt you, stop by the National Novel Writing Month display near Norlin’s Circulation desk. Research and Instruction Librarian Bebe Chang has arranged a showcase of novels, including works by five professors from the English Department: Elisabeth Sheffield, Jeffrey DeShell, Marcia Douglas, Paul Levitt, and Stephen Graham Jones.
Also on display are novels by internationally-renowned writers, such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, Toni Morrison, Herta Müller, Alice Munro, Orhan Pamuk, Harold Pinter, and Wole Soyinka, as well as this year’s John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” recipients: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward.

Title links take you to the book's record so you can find or request it from the University Libraries. Be sure to check the Libraries' hours during fall break. If you have a fun read to recommend, please email the title and a short description of why you'd recommend it to Deirdre Keating. We'd love to share student, staff and faculty picks!