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Rice Library's summer reading list

Rice Library's summer reading list

6/8/2021 | University Communications
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Looking for some new reads to add to your summer reading list? The knowledgeable Rice Library staff has compiled a list of book recommendations available at Rice Library to keep you turning pages all summer long. A complete listing of books and resources available at Rice Library can be found online in the Rice Library catalog.

A Promised Land - Barack Obama

Recommended by: Peter Whiting, Scholarly Communication Librarian and Professor of Library Science

Why he recommends it: "I always enjoy reading nonfiction books about history and presidents, whatever party affiliation. When I read a book about a president, I get a glimpse into the day-to-day decision-making process and how they interact with a diverse group of people. Two of my favorite classes when I was getting my master’s in public administration (MPA) here at USI were Interpersonal Communication within Organizations and Process Analysis in the Public Sector that Obama thoughtfully describes in this volume." 

More about the book: A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from up high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day. (Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library third floor; E908 .A3 2020

Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

Recommended by: Cecilia Pryor, Senior Library Assistant (circulation)

Why she recommends it:The prologue of this book should be used in teaching people about how to write from a child's point-of-view as an adult writer. It is PERFECT. I was so impressed by the prologue that I was tempted to buy a copy of the book myself before even starting chapter one. I can't stress enough how much I love the prologue, especially since most prologues are trash. The rest of the book is just as well-written, though differently. Young adulthood is a time when mistakes (life-changing mistakes, at that) are often made, and Tess is running from and experiencing quite a few. It definitely meanders down the plot of finding oneself while still feeling firmly young adult (usually a genre dominated by action-based storytelling rather than internal-based storytelling), but I was super impressed."

Now, this book (and its sequel[s]) are definitely related to the Seraphina series Hartman has also written. I also highly recommend reading those as well. Is it necessary to have read them to enjoy this one? No, not necessarily, but your enjoyment of this book will definitely be increased if you read it after the other series either before or after reading this one."

More about the book: In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy. Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So, when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one. (Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library first floor by the S-couch; PZ7.H26736 Te 2018

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare - G.K. Chesterton

Recommended by: Becca Neel, Assistant Director for Resource Management and User Experience

Why she recommends it: "Nothing says 'summer' like espionage, intrigue and a whimsical splash of anarchy."

More about the book: G. K. Chesterton's surreal masterpiece is a psychological thriller that centers on seven anarchists in turn-of-the-century London who call themselves by the names of the days of the week. Chesterton explores the meanings of their disguised identities in what is a fascinating mystery and, ultimately, a spellbinding allegory.

As Jonathan Lethem remarks in his Introduction, the real characters are the ideas. Chesterton's nutty agenda is really quite simple: to expose moral relativism and parlor nihilism for the devils he believes them to be. This wouldn't be interesting at all, though, if he didn't also show such passion for giving the devil his due. He animates the forces of chaos and anarchy with every ounce of imaginative verve and rhetorical force in his body. (Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library fourth floor; PR4453.C4 M4 2011

NYPD Red - James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Recommended by: James Wethington, Senior Library Assistant (UASC) 

Why he recommends it: “This novel is a page turner filled with drama, romance and action. Patterson and Karp draw the readers into the life of two NYPD Red detectives, Kylie MacDonald and Zach Jordan. As officers on NYPD Red, their purpose is to protect the rich and famous of New York. The drama ensues and we watch our two detectives chase criminals down to keep the city and their residents safe. If you like the first, there are several sequels in the series.”

More about the book: It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos, the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert, and they can't afford to make a single mistake. Then, a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend, to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they've ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes. Zach and Kylie know there's no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed and white-knuckle twists, NYPD Red is the next mega-blockbuster from "The Man Who Can't Miss."(Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library first floor; PS3566.A822 N96 2014

The Girl From Everywhere - Heidi Heilig

Recommended by: Cecilia Pryor, Senior Library Assistant (circulation)

Why she recommends it: "I had originally discovered this book while trying to research book options for a book club I was helping organize, but we eventually rejected it as being too long. I think we made the wrong decision. This book would make a fantastic book club book. There is so much to talk about both in the fantasy mechanics of the plot, the plot itself and the implied background information. The conversations it would generate would be infinitely amazing with the right group of people. Despite having a sequel, this book works excellently as a stand-alone. I think it is definitely a book more people need to read."

More about the book: Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way, they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear. (Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library first floor by the S-couch; PZ7.1.H4446 Gi 2016

Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton

Recommended by: James Wethington, Senior Library Assistant (UASC) 

Why he recommends it: "Jurassic Park has a special place in my heart. I worked at Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal Studios theme park and still love the original movie trilogy. I will say that if you have seen the movie adaption, just forget about it when you read the novel. Crichton explores the possibility of what would happen if dinosaurs were brought back to Earth. It is a remarkable, but unwise, decision. There is drama, love and tears throughout the novel, and it will leave on the edge of your seat."

More about the book: An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price. Until something goes wrong…(Goodreads)

Rice Library location/Call number: Rice Library third floor; PS3553.R48 J87 1991c

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