Libraries summer reading list

yellow polka dot background with a stack of books and sun icons

At the Libraries, summer is the perfect season for reading…along with fall, winter and spring! We hope that no matter your summer plans, you have plenty of time to rest and relax. If your goals include unwinding with a good book, may we recommend a title or two? Please enjoy the following non-fiction, science-fiction and fantasy picks from our team. Happy reading!


The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

I’d recommend this book to anyone who liked The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a really well done dystopian view of motherhood.

–Elise Ferer, Instruction & Outreach Librarian


Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

Well-thought out apocalyptic horror that brings to the ugly front and center relevant and on-point social issues. Really great examination on the need for intersectional feminism and the harms of white feminism.

As a cis-gender person I cannot speak on the novel’s depiction of the trans-femme experience. However, I think this novel is important for cis-gender, feminine presenting people to read in order to examine their own feminism.

–Barbara Blake, Resource Sharing Assistant


The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The animating idea of The 1619 Project is that our national narrative is more accurately told if we begin not on July 4, 1776, but in late August of 1619, when a ship arrived in Jamestown bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. The 1619 Project tells this new origin story, placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.

–Anonymous, book description from publisher


The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

It’s a book about the power and influence of women. There is magic and witchcraft, mixed with the strength of the suffragette movement and 19th century feminism. Great book!

–Emily Beston, Senior Bibliographic Assistant in Cataloging


The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

I love Jemisin’s writing style, and her creativity in worldbuilding & vivid characterization is second to none. The start of this new trilogy opens in New York City as five characters realize they are the physical embodiment of the five boroughs. What’s more, they must overcome their differences and unite when they learn the city is facing an existential threat.

I made the mistake (but no regrets) of reading this one just after it was published, and now I have a long wait for the other volumes. Check out the Broken Earth trilogy if you need more of Jemisin’s imaginative sci-fi/fantasy in the meantime.

–Jillian Sandy, Instruction & Outreach Librarian


Sabriel by Garth Nix

I recommend this book any chance I get! I think that the story is really compelling and interesting, and I always love books with female protagonists. Plus, the audiobook is narrated by Tim Curry!

–Jessica Obie, Circulation Coordinator for the Science Library

Fun fact: this book (and the Abhorsen series) is also recommended by Neyda Gilman!


The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

It’s a retelling of a Korean folktale, The Tale of Shim Chong, where in this version a girl, Mina, sacrifices herself to become bride of the Sea God to save her village from the Sea God’s wrathful storms. Mina is then transported to a spiritual world filled with mythical creatures and a city-like setting. It’s a whimsical tale that has a similar feel to that of the Hayao Miyazaki movie, Spirited Away.

–Aleshia Huber, Engineering Librarian


Foreigner by Nahid Rachlin

I enjoyed learning about another culture and the challenges that come with a dual identity.

–Amy Gay, Assistant Head of Digital Initiatives for Digital Scholarship


Popisho (This One Sky Day) by Leone Ross

Best book I’ve read in 2022. Leone Ross makes me want to go on an adventure, pine for a lost love and eat delicious food all at the same time. Modern magical realism by a powerhouse writer. Would recommend anything by her.

–Caitlin Holton, Digital Initiatives Assistant


The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski

If people were interested in the show, they should read the books as they are SO much better than the Netflix adaptation. Great for those who played the games, as well as those who didn’t.

The whole series is likely too much for the summer, so if people are interested in background info, especially if they have played the games, the first 3 (The Last Wish, Sword of Destiny, Season of Storms) are anthologies of short stories and can be read in chunks. The other 5 are more involved and form a series.

–Neyda Gilman, Assistant Head of Sustainability & STEM Engagement, Health Sciences Librarian


Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson

Very thoughtful and well researched read–probably one of the most comprehensively researched about this–that looks into the events that happened, the prisoners and guards that were affected, and the overall contexts that allowed it to occur.

It’s not a dry academic read at all (I promise) and it is one of those books that leaves the reader thinking about the deeper problems the uprising revealed for a long time after.



Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

–Anonymous, book description from publisher