Staff Picks: Summer Reading 2019 Edition

Summer reading is here, which means some tough decisions about prioritizing those books in your TBR (to be read) pile.  Don’t worry about that–let us recommend some reads for you this summer! It’s time for Staff Picks: Summer Reading Edition!


Title:  On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthonypale horse

Where to find:  SMCM print collection

What it’s about:  Death came for Zane, but instead Zane became Death – by accident. Assuming the mantle of the grim reaper in a world where science and magic co-exist, Zane must work with the other incarnations of immortality (Time, Fate, War, and Nature) to save the woman he loves and defeat the earthy machinations of Satan.

Why to read:  This classic sci-fi/fantasy series (8 books total) is one I re-read every few years, finding something new every time. Anthony creates a fascinating world, and weaves an intricate plotline over the entire course of books, with characters and situations referring to each other back and forth, telling the tale from different perspectives and giving the reader new insights. A great summer read!

firemanAmanda VerMeulen

Title:  The Fireman by Joe Hill

Where to find:  USMAI, Lexington Park Library or Southern MD Regional Libraries

What it’s about:  It’s the end of the world as we know it thanks to a mysterious disease causing people to spontaneously combust and it’s up to a fireman, a pregnant nurse, and a kid to work together to stay alive and solve the mystery.

Why to read:  Post-apocalyptic lit with a surprising science connection from horror author and son of Stephen King, Joe Hill.

Justin Foreman

Title:  In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murchblink of an eye

Where to find:  SMCM print collection

What it’s about:  This is a non-fiction book on the art and craft of film editing authored by Walter Murch, a three-time Oscar winning editor and sound designer.

Why to read:  Interested in learning why the “cut” in film works? Walter Murch eloquently discusses fundamental ideas behind film editing in a very accessible way. He also provides an interesting history of editing innovations, from Steenbeck machines to today’s non-linear editing systems, and stories from films he’s worked on (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, to name a few). This is a great read if you’re a film-buff/student, or love “behind-the-scenes” documentaries about your favorite films.


hungerTitle:  Hunger by Roxane Gay

Where to find:  SMCM Overdrive Collection (eAudiobook), USMAI, Lexington Park Library or Southern MD Regional Libraries

What it’s about:  Roxane Gay, known as a writer, academic, and expert Twitter user, is a successful person by virtually any standard.  However, as a woman of color who has been overweight for most of her life, she has heard relentlessly negative messages about her appearance and place in the world.  Gay’s memoir reflects on broad and specific acts of body shaming from others and the greater society, analyzing the forces that have shaped her life.

Why to read:  Gay’s writing is excellent, and she’s a very insightful memoirist, connecting her unique experiences to the intersections of identity as an overweight, bisexual woman of color and child of Haitian-American parents.  Her honesty makes for both a relief and an incredibly heartbreaking read as Gay identifies the ways society has punished her and the ways she has punished herself.

Bonus pick!

Title:  Lake Success by Gary Shteyngartlake-success

Where to find:  USMAI, Lexington Park Library or Southern MD Regional Libraries

What it’s about:  After leaving New York under ambiguous circumstances, hedge fund manager Barry decides it’s the perfect time for a road trip. Under the pretense of finding his long-lost college love, Barry journeys across the States, encountering the citizens of “real” America and condescendingly trying to make their lives better. Meanwhile, he manages to dodge any responsibility for his shortcomings as a professional and as a father.

Why to read:  A fun and satirical road trip novel, this is a good read for a few laughs in the summer. Readers may appreciate the highly relevant commentary on Wall Street delusion and the insightful reflections on family that balance out the book’s sharp humor. A solid choice for those who prefer their humor slightly bitter.

Need more suggestions?  Keep following the summer reading blog to see what books are keeping other participants busy!

1 thought on “Staff Picks: Summer Reading 2019 Edition

  1. Pingback: Academic and Informal Pieces – Jillian Sandy, MLIS

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