Four Summer Reading Selections for the Fourth of July
We recently polled library staff and librarians on their summer reading plans. The four we selected cover a wide breadth of subjects to explore this summer, including historical non-fiction, African-American literature, science fiction, and arts and culture. A physical display of the books is on view at Payson Library, just in time for Independence Day.
Selected by Dana Robinson, Public Services Assistant
One of the most influential books of the past fifty years, Team of Rivals is Pulitzer Prize–winning author and esteemed presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s modern classic about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln, his unlikely presidency, and his cabinet of former political foes. It is the winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inspiration for the Oscar Award winning–film Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Tony Kushner.
Selected by Allen Wessels, Technical Infrastructure Analyst
Widely acknowledged as one of Robert A. Heinlein's greatest works, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress rose from the golden age of science fiction to become an undisputed classic—and a touchstone for the philosophy of personal responsibility and political freedom. A revolution on a lunar penal colony—aided by a self-aware supercomputer—provides the framework for a story of a diverse group of men and women grappling with the ever-changing definitions of humanity, technology, and free will—themes that resonate just as strongly today as they did when the novel was first published.
Selected by Maria Brahme, Head Librarian of the West Los Angeles Campus Library
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
Selected by Lauren Haberstock, Director of the Genesis Lab Maker Space and Academic Center for Excellence and Librarian for Emerging Technologies and Digital Projects
Created by the ever-curious minds behind Atlas Obscura, this breathtaking guide transforms our sense of what people around the world eat and drink. Covering all seven continents, Gastro Obscura serves up a loaded plate of incredible ingredients, food adventures, and edible wonders. Ready for a beer made from fog in Chile? Sardinia’s “Threads of God” pasta? Egypt’s 2000-year-old egg ovens? But far more than a menu of curious minds delicacies and unexpected dishes, Gastro Obscura reveals food’s central place in our lives as well as our bellies, touching on history–trace the network of ancient Roman fish sauce factories. Culture–picture four million women gathering to make rice pudding. Travel–scale China’s sacred Mount Hua to reach a tea house. Festivals–feed wild macaques pyramid of fruit at Thailand’s Monkey Buffet Festival. And hidden gems that might be right around the corner, like the vending machine in Texas dispensing full sized pecan pies. Dig in and feed your sense of wonder.