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2023 Summer Reading Picks - Part Two

We recently polled library staff and librarians on their summer reading plans. We're pleased to highlight the second half of the selections. The featured titles cover a wide breadth of subjects to explore this summer, including historical fiction, science fiction, mystery, nonfiction, and memoirs. A physical display of the books is on view at Payson Library.


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Ringworld, by Larry Niven

Selected by Allen Wessels, Technical Infrastructure Analyst

Two humans and two aliens, who are traveling to distant reaches of space to prevent a future catastrophe, crash on a ringworld apparently created by superior technologies.

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The Birdcatcher, by Gayl Jones

Selected by Kristin Peace, Research and Instruction Librarian

Set primarily on the island of Ibiza, the story is narrated by the writer Amanda Wordlaw, whose closest friend, a gifted sculptor named Catherine Shuger, is repeatedly institutionalized for trying to kill a husband who never leaves her. The three form a quirky triangle on the white-washed island.

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The Best Strangers in the World: Stories from a Life Spent Listening, by Ari Shapiro

Selected by Bailey Badger, Librarian for Description, Documentation, and Discovery

In his first book, broadcaster Ari Shapiro takes us around the globe to reveal the stories behind narratives that are sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking, but always poignant. He details his time traveling on Air Force One with President Obama, or following the path of Syrian refugees fleeing war, or learning from those fighting for social justice both at home and abroad. As the self-reinforcing bubbles we live in become more impenetrable, Ari Shapiro keeps seeking ways to help people listen to one another; to find connection and commonality with those who may seem different; to remind us that, before religion, or nationality, or politics, we are all human. 

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Memoirs of a Kamikaze: A World War II Pilot's Inspiring Story of Survival, Honor and Reconciliation, by Kazuo Odachi

Selected by Mia McGee, Payson Library Public Services Evening Supervisor / Librarian in Training

This book tells the story of Kazuo Odachi who—in 1943, when he was just 16 years-old—joined the Imperial Japanese Navy to become a pilot. A year later, he was unknowingly assigned to the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps—a group of airmen whose mission was to sacrifice their lives by crashing planes into enemy ships.

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Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey

Selected by Sally Bryant, Associate University Librarian for Public Services and Instruction

Humanity has colonized the solar system -- Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond -- but the stars are still out of our reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for -- and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations -- and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

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Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, by Benjamin Stevenson

Selected by Kristin Hronek, Library Acquisitions Supervisor

Ernie Cunningham, crime fiction aficionado, is a reluctant guest at his family reunion. Family reunions aren't for everyone, of course. But Ern's part of a notorious crime family--and three years ago, he witnessed his brother kill a man and immediately turned him in to the police. Now Ern's brother is being released from prison and the family is gathering to welcome him home. As if that weren't bad enough, the reunion is taking place at a remote mountain resort. The day before Ern's brother is set to arrive, a man's body is found frozen on the slopes. While most Cunninghams assume the man simply collapsed and died of hypothermia during the night, Ern's stepsister spots a strange detail--the man's airways are clogged with ash. He appears to have died by fire...in a pristine snowfield...without a single burn mark on him. The longer the body goes unidentified, the more overwhelmed the local policeman becomes, and the more Ern realizes it's up to him to find the murderer.