Ashley Alfirevic relaxing with a book under the trees on the south side of Eddy Hall, a popular site for such things

Today is the last day of finals week, Spring 2017. As students finish tests and projects, and teachers wrap up their grading, it’s time to turn our attention to a very important question: What are you reading this summer? We asked the same of English department faculty and staff, and here are the books they are planning to read, or recommend that you read.


Department Chair Louann Reid is planning to read:

  • Unflattening by Nick Sousanis (Dissertation, Graphic Narrative)
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by by Amor Towles (Fiction)
  • The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art, collection edited by by Frances Gateward and John Jennings


Communications Coordinator Jill Salahub wants to read:

  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction)
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance (Memoir)
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay (Memoir)
  • Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History by Camille T. Dungy (Memoir)
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) – (intern Joyce Bohling agrees, wants to read this too)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Fiction)

She also recommends these classics, either revisiting them or reading them for the first time:

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


Intern Joyce Bohling wants to read


Intern Katie Haggstrom wants to read:

  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami (Short Stories)

She also recommends:

  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Poetry)
  • Gravity by Robert Drake (Fiction)


Assistant Professor Tim Amidon is planning to read


Assistant Professor Zach Hutchins is reading

  • the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of War and Peace (Fiction)


Instructor Rebecca Snow recommends:

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Fiction)
  • The novels of Marilynne Robinson: Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, and Lila (Fiction)


Instructor Judith Lane recommends:

  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Fiction)


Assistant Professor Todd Mitchell says that “several of my students’ favorite book from this semester, and a great summer read” is:

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Saenz (Young Adult, Fiction)

And a book he looks forward to reading this summer:

  • Things That Are by Amy Leach (Essays)

And his wife would recommend:

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Fiction)


Graduate Programs Assistant Marnie Leonard says, “So many good books, not enough time to reread them, so I’m hoping to enjoy those that I can, at least once.” She recommends:

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Nonfiction)

And she is going to read:

  • A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor (Nonfiction)
  • Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree by Mary Ellen Sanger (Associate Director of the Community Literacy Center in our English department), (Memoir)
  • Managed Care by David Milofsky (Professor Emeritus of our English department), (Fiction)


Some fun sites for finding recommendations:


Let us know if there’s anything you’d add to our list. What are you reading this summer?