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Last year we put together a post of books suggested by library faculty and staff that you might want to read over break. We didn’t double check whether we owned them or not, since we thought you might find them over break at another library. That post quickly soared to being one of our all time most viewed blog posts.

So this year we’re doing it again, but earlier and making sure we own a copy of every book recommended below, so be sure you stop over at the library and stock up before you head out for break. Some books have a copy at both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, others are only at one or the other. Check with a librarian if you have questions and remember you can get most Kirkwood library books delivered to you at any of the centers.

Between semesters is a golden time to do what you don’t have time for during the regular semester, read something that YOU pick! Stumped over what that should be? Check out our selections below.

“I’m recommending the middle four of the Elizabeth Peters series Vicki Bliss. While Peters is better known as the author of the Amelia Peabody sleuth/Egyptologist/Victorian series, I love Vicki Bliss better because of her nemesis Sir John Smythe. Sir John (although that’s not his real name) is a dashing professional art thief. Think of an even more dashing version of Robert Wagner’s character in It Takes a Thief. He is such a great character he makes it worth reading the books for him and his pithy advice alone. Skip the first one because Sir John isn’t introduced until the second, and I haven’t read the last yet, but be sure to check out the middle four; Street of the Five Moons, Silhouette in Scarlet, Trojan Gold, and Night Train to Memphis, all by Elizabeth Peters (Call Numbers: PB 813.54 P481s, 813.54 P481t, and 813.54 P481n).”
-Sarah S. Uthoff, Reference

“I am currently completely and totally absorbed in Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (Call Number: 974.727 L445r ) . Originally, I was introduced to the nonfiction book two years ago in a Creative Writing class at the University of Iowa where we were assigned a single chapter; after reading the chapter, I had to read the rest of the book! LeBlanc spent more than eleven years immersed in the daily lives of a clan of people in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx. The New Yorker said it best:” LeBlanc’s subjects sold drugs, did drugs, committed murder, went to prison, had sex, fell in love, got pregnant, fed their children. They shared ambitions and fears with a writer who was by their side for a decade. The book that resulted is an urban epic focused on Boy George, the successful and brutal young drug dealer of the trial; Jessica, a vibrant teen-age beauty, and one of Boy George’s girlfriends; Cesar, Jessica’s rambunctious younger brother; and Coco, Cesar’s first love. LeBlanc also writes about the social issues—benefits administration, prison systems, public housing, addiction, teen pregnancy—that, in large part, dictate the circumstances she witnessed.” My instructor at UI told us LeBlanc finally called her research quits after spending the day with Boy George and told her something to the effect of “I’m the one in prison, not you. This is pathetic; stop visiting me and get your own life, Adrian.” Random Family will hopefully remind readers “that people in poverty have complicated, meaningful lives—in other words, that the people in the book are, in fact, human beings.”
– Carrie Barker, Circulation

“Check out World’s Strongest Librarian: A Book Lover’s Adventures by Josh Hanagarne (Call Number: 020.92 H233w). This book has a little something for everyone.  It’s the true story of Josh Hanagarne – a 6’7” Morman, strongman,  and librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting. When he was six Josh started exhibiting symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome but wasn’t diagnosed until high school. This is the story of the power of family, overcoming disabilities, and wavering faith. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry and it will probably teach you some things you didn’t know.
– Julie Petersen, Reference

 “I recommend T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton (Call Number: PB 813.54 G737t). I love anything by Sue Grafton. She writes great mysteries. I have two at home waiting in my to be read pile right now.”
-Shelley Schultz, Technical Services

“I recommend Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Call Number: PB 813.54 D923g) to anyone.”
– Ryan Strempke-Durgin, Reference

You need to read the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com: How to Find Your Family History on the No. 1 Genealogy Website Paperback by Nancy Hendrickson (Call Number: 929 H498u) . While I have used the Family Tree Maker program since around 1993/94 and I have been on Ancestry for a very long time, there are still so many parts of Ancestry that I have not become familiar enough with. I am hoping that this book will help me to discover those different areas and show me the benefits from making better use of the online site. While the book covers basic searches to help get you started, it also goes into detail and gives you tips on different areas to search that you might not have thought about. Things like tax records, wills, old city directories. It also has web address links for other sites that Ancestry has, such as Find a Grave (www.findagrave.com), Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com) , Fold3 (www.fold3.com) and describes how each of these can be used for searches.
– Kathy Bopp, Technical Services

“I have chosen the book Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand (Call Number: 940.54 H651u), since it will becoming out as a movie on December 25th, with Angelina Jolie as director. I think it is always best to read the book, before seeing the movie! The book is about Olympian, Louie Zamperini, whose plane is shot down over the Pacific during WWII with two other crewmen. He survives on a raft for 47 days, only to be captured by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner of war camp. The book also describes his struggle to “survive” after the war is over and he tries to return to civilian life.”
– Sue Miller, Reference

“I pick American sniper : the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, and Jim DeFelice (Call Number: 956.704 K99a). The story of a true American hero.”
– Steve Sickels, Reference

Every Day by David Levithan (co-author of Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist & Will Grayson, Will Grayson) (Call Number: 813.6 L666e) is the first-person day-by-day chronicle of a person who wakes up every single day of his or her life in a different body. This is one of those realistic but other-worldly stories where we connect with a  character that seems utterly different from us in every way. Levithan, never losing sight of his compassion or humor, skillfully shares a story you won’t soon forget.”
-Kate Hess, Library Coordinator, Iowa City Campus

“I’ll go with a book that is already in the Kirkwood library – both print and eBook: Necessary courage: Iowa’s Underground Railroad in the struggle against slavery by Lowell J Soike (Call number: 326.809 S683n ). I was fascinated to learn there was a great deal of Underground Railroad activity in Iowa, particularly in southern Iowa where I grew up. Many Iowans risked their lives and livelihoods to hide slaves and help them escape to safety. A number of Iowa settlers who sympathized with the antislavery movement settled specifically in southern Iowa to help slaves coming over the border. They also helped stem the spread of slavery into states further west. Many personal stories make the history come alive. Very inspiring!”
Glenda S Davis-Driggs, Reference

“For our sports fans I would recommend Foul Trouble by John Feinstein (Call number: PB 813.6 F299f)  , and for our zombie lovers I would recommend The Infects by Sean Beaudoin (Call number: PB 813.6 B373i) .”
Jennifer Bishop, Reference

For more suggestions, be sure to check out our New Books posts which come out regularly or look for previous posts here.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.