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Lemieux Library
Lemieux Library

Recommended Reads: Staff Picks

Staff picks! Lemieux Library and Learning Commons staff have put together an eclectic reading list of their favorite titles. Enjoy everything from nonfiction to fantasy in this fun compilation from your friendly library community! 

Staff Favorites

Between the World and Me

"Parenting black children in this country prior to the Covid crisis was already an enormous and exhausting daily feat and it is maddening to see the blatant racism that continues even amidst this all. It has been a while since I've read this book but the current climate brings it back to mind as I think about how to help them to navigate this world!"
-Angie Jenkins

The Fifth Season

"First book of the, 'Broken Earth Trilogy', which was one of the most imaginative speculative fiction/fantasy series I have ever read. It even won the Hugo award in 2016!"
-Rita Dufresne

How To Invent Everything

Bestselling author and time-travel enthusiast Ryan North shows you how to invent all the modern conveniences we take for granted--from first principles. This illustrated manual contains all the science, engineering, art, philosophy, facts, and figures required for even the most clueless time traveler to build a civilization from the ground up. Deeply researched, irreverent, and significantly more fun than being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, How to Invent Everything will make you smarter, more competent, and completely prepared to become the most important and influential person ever. You're about to make history... better.

Wow, No Thank You

A rip-roaring, edgy and unabashedly raunchy new collection of hilarious essays. Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friend-zoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. Wow, No Thank You. is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.

The Eighth Life

"A new classic in the "sweeping family saga" category, The Eighth Life is the epic novel about the Caucasus nation of Georgia I didn't realize I was waiting for. Yes, it's a lengthy commitment, but it's worth making time to experience the entire twentieth century alongside a family both blessed and cursed by a secret recipe for unbelievably delicious hot chocolate. Heartfelt and heartbreaking, one day this international bestseller will hopefully get the lavish television miniseries treatment it deserves."
-Rochelle Lundy

No Longer Invisible

No Longer Invisible documents how, after decades when religion was marginalized, colleges and universities are re-engaging matters of faith-an educational development that is both positive and necessary. Religion in contemporary American life is now incredibly complex, with religious pluralism on the rise and the categories of "religious" and "secular" often blending together in a dizzying array of lifestyles and beliefs. Using the categories of historic religion, public religion, and personal religion, No Longer Invisible offers a new framework for understanding this emerging religious terrain, a framework that can help colleges and universities-and the students who attend them-interact with religion more effectively.

How To Do Nothing

"How to Do Nothing is an engaging meditation on how technology has led to distractions overtaking our lives, minimizing what's really important. Odell blends personal experience with references to science, art, philosophy, and popular culture to create a convincing argument in favor of slowing down and paying attention to the world right in front of us. For me, it has been the perfect book for life under Covid."
-Natalie Bicknell

The Healing of America

"The Healing of America follows the author as he travels to different countries exploring the various health care systems, all the while comparing these systems to the American health care system. He easily explains the complex health care systems, lays out the facts, while providing entertaining stories about his travels. Really puts our health care system into perspective, not only through a global aspect, but especially during Covid-19."
-Courteney Belai


The first installment of her Seasonal quartet—four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are)—and it casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d'esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history making. Here's where we're living. Here's time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic. From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves.

The Book of Longings

Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything. Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her.

The Story of More

"The rare book about climate change that will leave you empowered rather than overwhelmed, The Story of More is a short, accessible read. Hope Jahren's writing is engaging and informative but never condescending, and she provides concrete suggestions for individual action along with a compelling argument for why it matters more than the changes we often fail to implement at the national or global levels."
-Rochelle Lundy


A multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner’s powerful saga of survival and destiny in a near-future dystopian America. One of the world’s most respected authors of science fiction imagines an apocalyptic near-future Earth where a remarkable young woman discovers that her destiny calls her to try and change the world around her.


In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald. But the road to knighthood, as she discovers, is not an easy one. Alanna must master weapons, combat, and magic, as well as polite behavior, her temper, and even her own heart.

The Turner House

"Covers generations of a Black family in Detroit. It’s about family life and the complexities of sibling relationships. It ties in the housing crisis of inner-city families. I love this book because it’s about how a house becomes the story of its inhabitants."
-Mary Sepulveda

Maps for Lost Lovers

Jugnu and Chanda have disappeared. Like thousands of people all over England, they were lovers and living together out of wedlock. To Chanda's family, however, the disgrace was unforgivable. Perhaps enough so as to warrant murder. As he explores the disappearance and its aftermath through the eyes of Jugnu's worldly older brother, Shamas, and his devout wife, Kaukab, Nadeem Aslam creates a closely observed and affecting portrait of people whose traditions threaten to bury them alive. The result is a tour de force, intimate, affecting, tragic and suspenseful.

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