Staff Bookshelf September 2023

In this blog post we highlight what the CUA Press has been reading. Featured in this staff bookshelf we have a fun range of genres spanning across fantasy, historical fiction, scholarly humor, romantic comedy and more!


I continue on my Discworld binge by rereading an old favorite by Terry Pratchett, Jingo. The fourth book in the Watch series, Jingo follows the familiar protagonists of Commander Samuel Vimes and his officers as the city of Ankh-Morpork is swept up in a tide of warmongering against their neighbors, the Klatchians, over the reappearance of a sunken island. If they want any chance of stopping the war before it starts, the Watch must investigate their way through the murky layers of bigotry, nationalism, and “politics” to discover the real culprit behind an attempted assassination of a Klatchian prince—encountering along the way an eccentric inventor, belligerent aristocrats, and the elusive 71-hour Ahmed


I have finally started listening to the Audible audio version of Kristin Lavransdatter, which comes out to roughly 45 hours. I got about five hours into it after I purchased it and couldn’t stay with it, but now I’m finding the same portion rather gripping. The author, Sigrid Undset, won the 1928 Nobel Prize for literature when it was mostly a Scandinavian award.


I am currently in the grip of The Swallows of Kabul, an enthralling novel by Yasmina Khadra (the nom de plume of an Algerian author, Mohammed Moulessehoul) that is set in Afghanistan of the 1990s, under the first Taliban occupation. It portrays the erosion of relationships and moral sensibilities among characters for whom any normal reader must feel sympathy. These are four ordinary people who are suffocating emotionally and starving physically under an oppressive regime that does not allow music or even laughter.


I just finished reading Happy Place by Emily Henry, which was the perfect book to end summer! I’m hoping to pick up Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney next, as it’s the only one of her books I haven’t read yet – I have high hopes that it will become a new favorite.


I recently read Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It’s set at a war college where the end goal is to become a dragon rider. I’d call it a cross between the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series. It was a fun read and I’ve pre-ordered the sequel, which is out this November!


Currently reading The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. She’s always amazing I have probably read all of her work. This one is based on a true story, set in 1950s North Dakota, the Congress is attempting to make American Indians no longer subject to any of the treaties that were signed. The main character (apparently based on the author’s grandfather) is a night watchman and member of his tribal council who is attempting to fight this pending resolution, with several other colorful surrounding characters.


I just wrapped up a fluffy summer read called Beach Read (also) by Emily Henry. Two authors writing in opposing genres, romance and literary fiction, and they happen to be neighbors during their vacation/current stay in Lake Michigan. The authors, Gus and January, also happen to be literary rivals. The two writers strike a deal to write a novel in each others’ respective genres in order to prove whose genre is more challenging to write. Romantic antics ensue, all amidst the thematic backdrop of learning to cope with loss.

Trevor C.

I’m reading Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi which is a near-future science fiction book where climate change has caused catastrophic damage to the Earth and precipitating the flight of the middle and upper classes to orbiting space colonies. The book centers around a young couple who are priced out of the space colonies and are part of a collection of people who move back to gentrify the planet and how they interact with the (predominantly Black) people who could never leave.

Trevor L.

I’ve been reading Bruce Montague’s Book of Shakespearian Useless Information, which contains a foreword by Time Rice, of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber fame. I love it, as it’s chock full of true, but often completely beside the point, if not entirely irrelevant, information that might help you view Shakespeare and his plays in an entirely new way. Or not.

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