Happy summer! Congratulations to all iSchool students who graduated last month, and kudos to those students who just wrapped up their first year of library school.
Summer break may mean nicer weather and perhaps a vacation for some, but us LIS students are still very academically and professionally active this time of year. Whether it’s a summer class, an internship, a conference, a job (or all of the above)— us LIS-ers sure do keep busy!
Commitments aside, hopefully we all find some time for summer reading. And who better to ask a Reader’s Advisory question than a library student?! Maybe a librarian with an MLS degree, but hey, we’re almost there.
Whether you prefer young adult (YA) fiction, or non-fiction, or you enjoy a little bit of everything, you can find something that tickles your fancy in our 2017 Summer Reading List picks.
If You’re Into Young Adult (YA) Fiction
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Recommended by Alexa Hirsch, MSLIS ’17
“If you’re at all immersed in the YA world you know about this book, and if you haven’t read it yet now is the time! Starr is in the passenger seat when her friend, an unarmed black teenager is shot and killed by the police. Sneak a peek into her world where everything is changing and she doesn’t know what her life is like anymore. I recommend this to every single person living in the world right now, it is so freaking important for everyone to read.”
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Recommended by Smote Mote, MSLIS ’18
“Sabriel was recommended to me when I was searching for books with strong female leads. It’s in the fantasy genre and mixes a little modern history with old-fantasy for a unique and incredible world. Sabriel is a book that deals strongly with death and the afterlife and has an interesting take on those subjects. I’ve re-read the Old Kingdom series enough that my books have fallen apart and I’ve bought new copies. I’d highly recommend it for anyone interested in strong female characters and a rich and immersive world built in a fantasy setting.”
If You’re Feeling Science Fiction
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
Recommended by Jill Scarson, MSLIS ’19
“I’m currently reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne because I loved his Southern Reach Trilogy, and I’m working on an American Gods re-read to go along with the show. I’m reading slowly because I have no time. But summer and SciFi go together.”
If You’re in the Mood for a Memoir
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Recommended by Nicole Potter, MSLIS ’18
“Hillbilly Elegy was an incredibly interesting read; I greatly enjoyed it. It was one of those books you can’t put down, I read it all in a single sitting (which was easy to do since I was traveling). It’s the story of class issues in the U.S., both past and present, and how the socioeconomic status you’re born into shapes you for the rest of your life. Not to get overly political, but I do think that this is an incredibly relevant and important book in today’s world. I would highly recommend Hillbilly Elegy to anyone interested in understanding how the socioeconomic divide that is currently plaguing our country developed.”
If you Enjoy Reading Nonfiction
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Recommended by Tori Ward, MSLIS ’18
“It was a topic I was unfamiliar with so I wanted to read more about it. Also, I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie.”
Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality by John Boswell
Recommended by Andrew Roache, MSLIS ’18
“It’s a nonfiction history book. My reasoning in reading this is that when it was published, it got a lot of bad press … and I think that is odd. So I wanted to look further into the work.”
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle
Recommended by Paul Halley MSLIS ’19
“I like this book because it expands my knowledge about how we, as a society, build relationships, define privacy, and explore solitude in this new digital age. The book makes you wonder if we’ve become more connected through our devices, or if it is merely an illusion.”
If Mystery is Your Jam
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Recommended by Becky Fitzgerald, MSLIS ’17
“This is a first novel from Robin Sloan. It reminded me of an adult version of Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library; that and the cover drew me to this book. It’s a whirlwind of an adventure that kept me intrigued. The detailed descriptions painted vivid imagery in my mind, making it a great fit for a movie adaptation.”
If You Love to Listen
Anna and the Swallow Man, written by Gavriel Savit and narrated by Allan Corduner
Recommended by Kayla Del Biondo (yours truly!), MSLIS ’18
While at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this past week, I attended the “2017 Odyssey Awards for Excellence in Audiobook Production,” which honored four excellent audiobooks that you can read about here. Excitingly, three out of the four books’ narrators read an excerpt live at the reception which was such a theatrical treat.
There’s something about oral storytelling that I really enjoy; it’s nostalgic and again, theatrical. I’ve also found that audiobooks are perfect in the summertime (because who wants to strain their eyes reading at a super sunny beach?!), and they come in handy during car rides.
Excitingly, I left ALA with a copy of Anna and the Swallow Man, the winner of the 2017 Odyssey Award. It is a young adult book based on a seven-year-old girl whose father is taken away by Nazis in 1939. Hearing Gavriel and Allan talk about the book at ALA was so moving, and I can’t wait to see how the award-winning story unfolds.