The weather outside can be scary, but cuddling up with a good book feels delightful. What should you read?
Here, Georgia Tech Library staff members offer their advice. The books range from a series of graphic novels about how misinformation can come true to a longtime memoir Danger! hosts 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: JFK assassination, lizard people, shadowy 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 the government agency that helps determine what reality is. This series is a contemporary sci-fi dystopian take on how misinformation can come true – and it’s both far-fetched and a little too real. The first three commercial collections are out and will be a quick read for those who don’t have much free time during their hiatus. John Mack Freeman, head public services librarian
By Charmaine Wilkerson (Ballantine Books, 2022)
Estranged brothers Benny and Byron are reunited when their mother dies, leaving them with only two things: an eight-hour voice recording (and the stipulation that they must listen to it all together, in the presence of their family lawyer), and a black pie ( a traditional Caribbean dessert). Listening together, they hear a story about a determined Caribbean girl named Covey who loves to swim. They learn long-kept family secrets, turning upside down what they thought they knew about their mother. This evocative and beautifully written story traces the extraordinary journey of a family forever changed by the choices of its matriarch. Alex McGee, university archivist
By Alison Bechdel (Mariner Books, 2021)
What drives some of us to time every mile we run, track our resting heart rate, or buy the coolest new workout gear? Alison Bechdel is incisive, funny The secret of superhuman strength is a memoir focused on exercise and the aging body. Anyone with an obsessive interest in a sporting hobby only to pick up a new favorite a few years later will find themselves fondly skewered here. Bechdel’s illustrations are adorable and sardonic; the details and little gags reward repeated reading. Liz Holdsworth, STEM and Digital Learning Objects Librarian
By Lucy Foley (William Morrow, 2020)
This mystery novel is set on an island off the coast of Ireland with a cast of characters thrown together for a wedding. The characters narrate the chapters from their own perspective and their complex web of relationships is revealed as the plot progresses. As the festivities begin, old grievances, feelings and traditions begin to resurface, and eventually someone is found dead. This novel reads like a classic Agatha Christie novel, full of clues and a little dark, but welcoming. Catherine Manci, specialist in public programming and community engagement
By Matt Haig (Viking, 2020)
The Midnight Library tells the story of Nora Seed, a woman who may be at the end of a life full of regrets and resentments. Before she leaves, however, she walks through a liminal space filled with books (supervised by a librarian) that tell the story of her life’s choices and how things could have been different. The librarian serves as a spiritual guide, but at heart she is a true librarian, not giving Nora the answer but providing her with the tools Nora needs to find her own path to happiness. Marlee Givens, modern languages librarian and library learning consultant
By Michael Useem (Crown, 2001)
This 2001 book explores the role of leadership from several levels. The author uses historical events most readers would be familiar with, such as the Rwandan genocide, and deftly weaves them into a compelling leadership story and coaching session. The complete disconnect between the front line in Kigali and the executive suite in New York was a reminder that carrying an unwanted message all the way to the top can be one of the most challenging but also one of the most important actions for the ascendant leader. Garth Milford, IT Service Delivery Manager
By Alex Trebek (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
The book is a quick and easy read and touches on everything about the life of Alex Trebek. Includes many photographs and short chapters on life, humility, courage, conscience, camaraderie, teamwork, work-life balance, and of course, Danger! Trebek delicately masters the art of writing a gripping memoir about his life, even with his imminent death. His writing is humorous, philosophical, optimistic, self-effacing, and engaging. The public will enjoy reading his stories about celebrities (Queen Elizabeth), Danger! samples and his favorite books (by Brontë and Maugham). It’s a real treat for Danger! and notDanger! likewise the fans. Anu Moorthy, Electronic Resources Librarian
By Farah Jasmine Griffin (WW Norton & Company, 2021)
This, by far, was my favorite read of the year. The journey these 10 chapters take you on, as Professor Griffin tells her personal story of growing up in Philadelphia and provides insights and lessons from black American writers, is amazing. In the introduction she writes: “This book begins with a girl and ends with grace. Along the way, through a combination of memoirs and readings of African-American literature, he touches on the question of mercy, the elusive pursuit of justice, the prevalence of beauty, even in the presence of death, and, throughout, hope in the face of despair. I enjoyed this book because it offers an insight through literature and music readings on the issues we grapple with and grapple with on a daily basis. Not only read until you understand, but listen as well. Robert L. Jordan Jr., facility manager for the Library and Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
By Robert O’Meally, Columbia University Press (2022)
While this book deals with somewhat heavier topics, I still found it entertaining and informative. Professor O’Meally explains how the concept of adversarial cooperation is shaped 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 illuminating examples of adversarial cooperation. When we face challenges when collaborating with others as colleagues and leaders, adversarial cooperation can help us grow, develop and mature. Through the author’s eyes, “antagonistic cooperation is a form of competition to build community and coordination with the loving spirit of a jazz player”. Robert L. Jordan Jr., facility manager for the Library and Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons
This is an edited version of an article, “What to Read During Winter Break,” posted on the Georgia Tech News Center on December 5, 2022.
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