Find a book to read this year

University members recommend books that made an impact on them.
Stock photo. A person reading in a hammock with an open book.

Kick off the year by grabbing a new book. We curated a list of recommended book titles submitted by the University community. Browse the following list and check our previous lists (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, and vol. 4) to find more suggestions from colleagues and students.

Is there a book or podcast you enjoy? Share your book or podcast recommendations.

The Antiracist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom
Felicia Rose Chavez
“‘The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop’ combines memoir with pedagogy in a comprehensive and invigorating approach to realigning the classroom dynamic toward a student-centered collective.” —Mia Leonin, senior lecturer of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Subjects: anti-racism, study and teaching, authorship, English language, rhetoric, social aspects, multiculturalism, racism in education, writers' workshops

Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand
“It’s an epic tale of industry, responsibility, and social mores.” —Megan Cicurel, communications director, Division of Continuing and International Education and UOnline
Genres: novel, science fiction, philosophical fiction, romance novel, mystery, adventure fiction, dystopian fiction, libertarian science fiction

Big Bosses: A Working Girl's Memoir of Jazz Age America
Althea McDowell Altemus, Robin Faith Bachin
“This book is interesting in that much of it takes place in Miami during prohibition and is illustrative of women's roles in the working world during the Jazz era.” —Robyn Hardeman, secretary, Faculty Senate
Subjects: biography, autobiography, business, historical, personal memoirs, economics, women in business, 20th century, social science, women's studies, rich people, United States, single mothers, social conditions, working mothers

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Isabel Wilkerson
“The topic and size of the book may seem overwhelming, but once you begin reading, it’s hard to stop. It’s a deep dive into the origins of the caste system and how it continues to influence our lives today.” —Aniette Lauredo, senior manager, inclusion programs, Human Resources
Genre: reference work

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
“Rothstein provides a lens into the history of segregation in our country, and how legislation not only enabled but helped to promote segregation.” —Miriam Lipsky, director of special project, Office of the Provost
Subjects: history, 20th century, housing and urban development, political science, city planning and urban development, social science, discrimination, African American and Black studies, ethnic studies, race and ethnic relations, segregation, discrimination in housing, government policy

Bram Stoker
“One of the great novels of the nineteenth century, Irish novelist Stoker's version of ‘Dracula’ has not aged with time. This is not exactly a summer read. I would recommend reading this novel during the autumn months. As with Hemingway's ‘A Moveable Feast,’ Stoker's ‘Dracula’ has been recorded as an audiobook and makes for wonderful listening as well as reading. After reading (or listening), students would do well to watch Francis Coppola's film ‘Bram Stoker's Dracula’ as well.” —Catherine Judd, associate professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genres: gothic fiction, novel, horror fiction, Comics, epistolary novel, graphic novel, fantasy fiction, invasion literature, fantastique

Ego Free Leadership: Ending the Unconscious Habits that Hijack Your Business
Brandon Black, Shayne Hughes
“From the title you would think it is strictly a business book but it is so much more. It forces you to look at your own insecurities and behaviors and shows how these things show up not only at work but in your personal life as well.” —Sarah Sandiford, senior manager of research support, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Genre: biography

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
Don Miguel Ruiz, Janet Mills
“Everyone should read this book. It’s a reminder and a blueprint for staying in tune with what really matters. So much is happening these days and life seems to be speeding up. This book helped me refocus on the foundation of a well-lived life: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don't Take Anything Personally, Don't Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best. And the best part, it’s all in my control!” —Aniette Lauredo, senior manager, inclusion programs, Human Resources
Genre: self-help

Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love
Zack McDermott
“It is a heart-wrenchingly accurate portrayal of mental health and how far we will go for our family.” —Megan Cicurel, communications director, Division of Continuing and International Education and UOnline
Genres: biography, autobiography

Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague
Maggie O'Farrell
“O'Farrell writes in moving prose of the short life of Shakespeare's son; she gives an unforgettable representation of the plague disrupting the vividly rendered world of Shakespeare's England. More even than these strengths, the novel fully renders the life of Anne (Agnes) Hathaway, of whom we know so little. O'Farrell tips the balance the other way: though she never refers to William Shakespeare by name, O'Farrell humanizes him through the lens of his family and imagined contemporaries.” —Kathryn Freeman, professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genres: historical fiction, biographical fiction

Infinite Country
Patricia Engel
“This book provides an insightful view into the story of immigrants to America.” —Robyn Hardeman, secretary, Faculty Senate
Genre: domestic fiction

Lab Girl
Hope Jahren
“This autobiography is easy to read with interesting characters and stories. Hope Jahren skillfully shares her passion for research, science, and nature. I love getting a window into the mind, joy, and struggles of a female scientist. Plus I get the added bonus of seeing plants, trees, and flowers through a unique and richer lens.” —Aniette Lauredo, senior manager, inclusion programs, Human Resources
Genres: memoir, biography, autobiography

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel
George Saunders
“This is a powerful imagining of Abe Lincoln, his relationship with his son who died in childhood, and the spirit world.” —Kathryn Freeman, professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genres: novel, historical fiction, experimental literature, magical realism, biographical fiction

Matrix: A Novel
Lauren Groff
“It is a beautifully written tale of a woman who evolves into a powerhouse under very challenging circumstances. The writer creates a detailed world and brings us along for an unusual ride.” —Barbara Gutierrez, communications officer, University Communications
Genre: historical fiction

Merciless Gods
Christos Tsiolkas
“This is a breathtaking book of short stories by one of Australia's most important contemporary authors. Read more Australian literature!” —Barbara Hoffmann, lecturer in composition and English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genre: fiction

Mexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“It is a fun and captivating book. I could not put it down once I started it. Plus, it is good to take a break from reality and enjoy a nice fictional story.” —Denise Hassinger, student, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Genres: horror fiction, gothic fiction, fantasy fiction

Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in the Dating App Inferno
Mary Jo Sales
“‘Nothing Personal’ by Mary Jo Sales, is part memoir and part journalism. It is a well-researched look at the effect of online dating on contemporary relationships.” —Mia Leonin, senior lecturer of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genres: biography, humor, autobiography

The Old Drift: A Novel
Namwali Serpell
“I am just starting this critically acclaimed book. It's an epic historical novel, following three families in Zambia—of African, European, and Indian extraction—that's narrated by a chorus of mosquitoes. Zany! It starts with the explorer Dr. Livingstone, who died of malaria, and ends in an imaginary dystopian future that involves a vaccine, digital surveillance, and revolution. She published it before the pandemic, and I want to see how it compares with our current dystopia.” —Brenna Munro, associate professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genre: novel, science fiction, historical fiction

A Pale View of Hills
Kazuo Ishiguro
“It's a fascinating look at a character who is caught between two worlds—present and past—and grappling with guilt in a way that might just be twisting her memory. An amazing read that will stick with you.” —Amanda Lamadrid, graduate student
Genres: novel, psychological fiction

The Red Umbrella
Christina Diaz Gonzalez
“‘The Red Umbrella’ is a moving story about a family's transition from Cuba to the United States. The author signed my book with ‘may your reading of this book give you a deeper understanding of what your parents experienced as Pedro Pan kids.’” —Ivan Ceballos, executive director, Student Life
Genre: historical fiction

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
William L. Shirer
“This 1,000-page eyewitness history of Hitler's terrifying rise to power, beginning with his failed 1923 failed coup d'etat and ending with his death in Berlin in 1945, is a classic must-read for every well-educated reader. Shirer was an American journalist and radio broadcaster who had a bird's-eye view in Berlin of the goings-on of the Hitler regime prior to Hitler's invasion of Poland and the start of WW II.” —Catherine Judd, associate professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genre: nonfiction

Sabrina and Corina: Stories
Kali Fajardo-Anstine
“It's a book by an incredible Latina writer that offers the most delightfully surprising short stories I have ever read. You will continue thinking about it long after the final page. She inhabits so many voices so well to portray a nuanced portrait of life outside the margins.” —Amanda Lamadrid, graduate student
Genre: fiction

Seven Days in June
Tia Willams
“A love story with rich and deeply flawed characters finding a second chance at love as adults. It is also a funny, witty, thoughtful novel. The type of romance I would recommend to non-romance readers.” —Saily Marrero, senior library assistant, Louis Calder Memorial Library
Genres: fiction, romance novel, contemporary literature

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Simon Sinek
“It goes back to the root of decision making and how purpose, focus, and clear intention help drive ‘the why’ we do things.” —Heather Kopec, assistant vice president, Development and Alumni Relations
Genre: self-help

Caridad Moro-Gronlier
“Tortillera is a book of poems by a Miami-based, Cuban-American poet. This debut collection is fierce and funny.” —Mia Leonin, senior lecturer of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Genre: poetry

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots
Deborah Feldman
“It is a memoir of a young Jewish woman's escape from a religious sect into the world finding herself and where she fits in.” —Fran St. Fleur, Workplace Equity and Inclusion investigator, Human Resources
Genres: autobiography, biography