The weather outside can be scary, but curling up with a good book sounds wonderful. What should you read?
Here, Georgia Tech Library staff members offer their recommendations. The books range from graphic novel series about how misinformation can become reality to memoirs of a long time Danger! hosted by Alex Trebek.
By James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds (Image Comics, 2021 and ongoing)
Cole Turner has always been a bit of a conspiracy theorist: the JFK assassination, lizard men, mysterious government super agencies and the like. He had no idea he was right. This ongoing graphic novel series details what happens when Cole is recruited into a government agency that helps determine what reality is. This series is a dystopian contemporary sci-fi look at how misinformation can become reality – while being both fictional and a little too real. The first three trade collections are out and will be a quick read for those who don’t have a lot of free time over the break. John Mack Freeman, Public Service Library Manager
Author: Charmaine Wilkerson (Ballantine Books, 2022)
Estranged siblings Benny and Byron reunite after their mother dies, leaving them with only two things: an eight-hour voice recording (and the requirement that they listen to the whole thing together, in the presence of their family lawyer) and black cake (a traditional Caribbean dessert). Listening together, they hear the story of a determined Caribbean girl named Covey who loves to swim. They learn long-kept family secrets, turning what they thought they knew about their mother on its head. This evocative and beautifully written story follows the extraordinary journey of one family forever changed by the matriarch’s decisions. Alex McGee, University Archivist
Author: Alison Bechdel (Mariner Books, 2021)
What drives some of us to measure every mile we run, track our resting heart rate, or shop for the coolest new workout gear? Alison Bechdel is penetrating, witty The secret of superhuman strength is a memoir focused on exercise and the aging body. Anyone who takes an obsessive interest in a sports hobby only to choose a new favorite a few years later will find themselves gently skewered here. Bechdel’s illustrations are cute and sarcastic; details and little gags throughout reward repeat reading. Liz Holdsworth, Librarian for STEM Disciplines and Digital Learning Objects
By Lucy Foley (William Morrow, 2020)
This mystery novel is set on an island off the coast of Ireland with characters gathered for a wedding. The characters narrate the chapters from their own perspectives, and their complex web of relationships is revealed as the plot progresses. As the festivities begin, old grudges, feelings and traditions begin to surface, and eventually someone turns up dead. This novel reads like a classic Agatha Christie novel – full of clues and a bit dark, but comfortable. Catherine Manci, specialist in public programming and community engagement
Matt Haig (Viking, 2020)
Midnight Library tells the story of Nora Seed, a woman who may be at the end of a life full of regret and anger. Before she leaves, however, she passes through a liminal space filled with books (supervised by a librarian) that tell the story of her life choices and how things might turn out otherwise. The librarian acts as a spiritual guide, but at heart, she is a real librarian – not giving Nora the answer, but providing the tools Nora needs to find her own path to happiness. Marlee Givens, Modern Languages Librarian and Library Learning Consultant
Michael Useem (Crown, 2001)
This 2001 book explores the role of leadership from several different levels. The author uses historical events that most readers would be familiar with, such as the Rwandan genocide, and cleverly weaves them into a compelling leadership story and teaching session. The complete disconnect between the front line in Kigali and the executive suite in New York was a reminder that sending an unsolicited message to the top can be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most important, actions for a top leader. Garth Milford, Head of IT Services Delivery
Author: Alex Trebek (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
The book is a quick and easy read and touches on everything about Alex Trebek’s life. It contains lots of photos and short chapters about life, humility, courage, conscience, friendship, teamwork, work-life balance and, of course, Danger! Trebek delicately manages the art of writing an engaging memoir about his life, even with his own impending death. His writing is witty, philosophical, optimistic, self-deprecating and engaging. Audiences will enjoy reading his celebrity stories (Queen Elizabeth), Danger! champions and his favorite books (Bronte and Maugham). It’s a real treat for Danger! and not-Danger! fans alike. Anu Moorthy, Electronic Resources Librarian
By Farah Jasmine Griffin (WW Norton & Company, 2021)
This has been my favorite read of the year so far. The journey these 10 chapters take you on, as Professor Griffin recounts her personal story of growing up in Philadelphia and provides insights and lessons from black American writers, is incredible. In the introduction it is written: “This book begins with a girl and ends with grace.” Along the way, through a combination of memoir and readings of African American literature, it touches on issues of mercy, the elusive search for justice, the overcoming of beauty, even in the presence of death, and, overall, hope in the face of despair.” I enjoyed this book because through literary and musical readings it provides insight into topics we face and struggle with every day.Don’t just read until you understand, but also listen. Robert L. Jordan Jr., Facilities Manager for the Library and Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
Robert O’Meally, Columbia University Press (2022)
Although this book deals with a slightly more difficult subject, I still found it entertaining and informative. Professor O’Meally explains how the concept of antagonistic collaboration is modeled in jazz performance through friendly competition, challenge and support to create beautiful musical experiences. Through the works of artists such as Romare Bearden and Jean-Michel Basquiat, the literature of Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison, and the music of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, he provides great examples of antagonistic collaboration. When we face challenges when collaborating with others as colleagues and leaders, antagonistic collaboration can help us grow, develop, and mature. Through the author’s eyes, “antagonistic cooperation is a form of competition in community building and coordination with the spirit of love of jazz musicians”. Robert L. Jordan Jr., Facilities Manager for the Library and Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
This is an edited version of the article “What to Read During Winter Break” published in the Georgia Tech News Center on December 5, 2022.
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