Summer Reading

School’s out for summer and days of leisure lie ahead. Why not take advantage of the downtime to escape into a great book? SAU library owns many volumes worthy of your perusal. Need some advice on what to read? Here’s what our Library Staff recommends:


I’m currently  listening to an audio version of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Other books I have in my audio queue for the summer include: Predictably irrational  by Dan Ariely, and The blind assassin by Margaret Atwood.   I am also waiting for   Ken Follett’s Winter of the world, book two of the Century trilogy, which is scheduled to be published in September of this year.


I’ve just begun reading Virtually You: the Dangerous powers of the e-personality by Elias Aboujaoude, M.D. I’m intrigued by the author’s exploration of the impact that logging on every day has on our experience of reality, relationships, and reflection. As heretical as it might sound coming from a librarian, I haven’t read very much fiction lately; I tend to seek that sort of literature in cinematic form. With the SAU library DVD collection, a personal Netflix subscription, and QC movie theatres, I have a rather long viewing list planned for the summer– including Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Buck, The Adjustment Bureau— all of which have print counterparts. And even though it might not be perceived as reading per se, I am perusing and experimenting with 660 Curries: the Gateway to Indian cooking in addition to studying and practicing Lasagna Gardening: A New layering system for bountiful gardens.


Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen.

The Beginner’s Goodbye  by Anne Tyler

Stolen Prey by John Sandford

Waiting for: Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich (coming in June)


1. My daughter is in ‘NPR’s Backseat Book Club’ (  ) and I am riding along reading :Heart of a Samurai : based on the true story of Manjiro Nakahama by Margi Preus

2. Re reading the classic, Malgudi days by R.K. Naraynan. His brother, acclaimed cartoonist R. K. Laxman has illustrated the book. It was made into a television serial in 1986 which became a super hit in India.


Currently I am reading:

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

The Adventure of English: The biography of a Language by Melvin Bragg

My summer reading plans are:

How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Both the Octavian Nothing Novels by M. T. Anderson

And several more. I have a huge list at home as I’m sure we all do but those are my first 4 choices on my list for fiction. Non-fiction just pops up and I start reading whatever happens to fall into my hands that looks interesting.


I am reading Fear of Fifty by Erica Jong right now. It is a funny and heartwarming memoir. I am really enjoying it as i have recently turned fifty years old! I plan on reading the new Lincoln Child book coming out in June The Third Gate  a thriller about an archaeological team that unearths a crown with “awesome” powers and all sorts of danger ensues! At least, I hope so! I always like his books.


I just finished reading The Distant Land of my Father by Bo Caldwell, which was very interesting. Ms. Caldwell was a guest lecturer on campus this winter.   Right now I’m reading Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth.  I had started it a few months ago, and got interrupted by several others and this week am reading the last quarter of it.  I also enjoyed reading  The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown, another very good book that had been in our Leisure Reading collection.

I’ve been trying to read 2 titles in each of 5 categories from the United Methodist Women’s reading list for this year and The Shack, which is not actually on that list, but was “suggested reading,” and Same Kind of Different As Me and What’s Wrong with the Christian Right, were ones I found very interesting this winter. Also from that reading list The Undertaker’s Wife was good. It was a quick enjoyable read written by the son of the funeral director and consisted of stories the author told about his experiences growing up with  the funeral home business and his family’s and the business’s roles in the community.  It was truly a “family” service business, and so important in the community. The mortuary was in their home and funerals were held in their living room. This book included important info about grief & planning funerals with discussion and/or thought provoking questions after each chapter

More recently I read one of the very most interesting books I’ve ever read. I found it on the New Books shelf—chosen by the librarian whose responsibility includes selecting titles supporting the SAU History curriculum. The title is A Slave in theWhite House : Paul Jennings and the Madisons  by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor.  I learned important & interesting details about United States history that I had not learned during all of my school years.  About ¼ of the book was footnotes. Even they were interesting.  The information for the book came from various libraries, national, and family archives including photographs that descendants of Jennings shared with the author.  Mr. Jennings was born into slavery on the Madison plantation.  As a child he was the personal attendant of Dolley Madison’s young son, and later James Madison’s personal attendant  and coachman before, during, and after Madison’s presidency of the United States, until Madison’s death.  This is such a good book that I bought a copy and gave it to one of my daughters.


With the popularity of the PBS series, “Sherlock”, I decided it was time to refresh my memory and reread the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. However, I first listened to the most popular stories on a CD set the SAU Library owns, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, narrated by Ralph Cosham.

“In a gravelly voice, Ralph Cosham becomes the voice of Dr. Watson as he narrates twelve of his adventures with Sherlock Holmes…Cosham brings these immortal tales to life once again, replete with details both significant and trivial and the sights and sounds of late-nineteenth-century London…Cosham captures the genius of Sherlock Holmes, the faithful friendship of Dr. Watson, the language of their time, and their zest for adventure.”—AudioFile


On my desk is Behind the Beautiful  Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai  Undercity by Katherine Boo, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Coming Soon from another library are Thrive : Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner ; I just heard the author interviewed, and think this will be entertaining as well as interesting; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach  (Will this ever play in the Quad Cities? I think the previous/UK title was These Little Things?); and Home by Toni Morrison.

So get ready, my hammock!

Barb, again

Toni Morrison’s Home: A young Korean War vet, who couldn’t wait to leave the African American town in Georgia his family migrated to in his childhood, returns after receiving a letter from a stranger about the younger sister “Come fast – she be dead if you tarry”. Though a slim volume, the events of the book, the memories of war and of growing up in a racist society have been haunting my thoughts since reading it. Would make a good discussion book.

Roz Chast  What I Hate from A to Z (Had to ILL this – no one in RiverShare has bought it). New Yorker cartoonist. Cover is parody of Munch’s The Scream gazing upon a child offering a yellow (Y entry) balloon (B entry). With minimal angst-ridden explanatory text, which had me annoying my office-mate with my snickering.


Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book, so I’ve decided it’s about time I read some of her other works. I just finished The Professor and Villette is up next. I also plan to work my way through the novels of Jules Verne this summer.

For something more contemporary, I’ve finally placed a hold at the library for The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay — I can’t ignore books that have been given such high praise from so wide an audience!


I just finished Feed by M.C. Anderson, it is hard to believe that it was written 10 years ago, part of the plot deals with ” the feed, a next-generation Internet/television hybrid that is directly hardwired into the brain”. On my headboard for quick, light reading are Our Savior’s Kvindherred 150th Anniversary : a collection of recipes by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Calamus IA, and Julia Margaret Cameron’s women by Sylvia Wolf. Right now I’m enjoying The Guide by R. K. Narayan, and next plan on reading, Books a living history by Martyn Lyons, and City of tranquil light by Bo Caldwell.


About libstaff

Bryan Hinds Evening Circulation Supervisor St. Ambrose University 518 W. Locust St. Davenport IA 52803
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