In what has become an annual holiday tradition, we offer once again a list of suggestions of what to read over break this year from Kirkwood Library Services. Find lists from previous years, 2013, 20142015, 2017, and 2018.

Some books have a copy at both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, others are only at one or the other. A few we don’t own copies of, but you should be able to find them at a local public library. 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.

Cover of God LandGod Land: A Story of Faith, Loss and Renewal in Middle America by Lyz Lenz
This book is about a personal journey as well as an examination of the intersection of politics, religion and economics in Midwestern states.  Lyz is currently a columnist for The Gazette newspaper of Cedar Rapids.
~Arron Wings, Library Dean
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
Montgomery is best known for her Anne of Green Gables series, but she wrote many other books. This one is the start of a trilogy with a little girl who inspires to someday write novels as the star. I must admit, unlike most of Montgomery’s books I didn’t like Emily when the book started, but she grows up a lot of the course of the book and by the end I saw why so many of my friends love her. This was the first time I read an Emily book and I did it because I took part in the L.M. Montgomery readalong. You should check it out.
~Sarah S. Uthoff, Reference Librarian


The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers takes place in two timelines.  One is set in Chicago during the AIDS crisis of the mid-1980s and the other follows a mother’s search for her estranged daughter in Paris in 2015. The two stories are connected as they explore the effects of senseless loss and the efforts to overcome it. Makkai’s portrait of a group of friends, most of them gay men, conveys the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years and follows its repercussions over decades.  This book has won several awards including The Stonewall Book Award and it has been optioned by Amy Poehler.
~Julie Petersen, Reference Librarian

Circe by Madeline Miller
Like her debut novel, Song of Achilles, Miller gives us an account of ancient Greek mythology through 21st century eyes. This time focusing on the minor character Circe from Homer’s The Odyssey. Here, Miller expertly crafts a tale of the immortal title character attempting to navigate a world of gods and men. Along the way she meets several characters from various Greek myths, including Daedalus, Medea and Odysseus. A fascinating reimagining of classic literature.
~ Ryan Strempke-Durgin, Collection Services Librarian

Dune by Frank Herbert
This epic tale, the winner of the 1966 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1966 Hugo Award for Best Novel, is foundational of science fiction literature. The intergalactic setting defies the limits of space. Human kind’s achievements have transcended the barriers of nature; where control of the mind and body is the final frontier. Several behemoth organizations, royal planetary rulers, and darker factions maneuver politically to achieve dominance, for to control Arrakis, Dune, and the most valuable commodity ever known, spice mélange, is the key to ultimate wealth and power. Leviathan sandworms are the greatest challenge to the safety of the harvest, but the constant threat of subterfuge, ambush, and conspiracy by the enemies of House Atreides are always lurking. If you’ve ever wondered how derivative George Lucas and Star Wars is, check out the Dune series!
~Joseph McKinley, Reference Librarian

Cover of Dead MountainDead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident​ by Donnie Eichar
“An unsolved mystery of a tragic hiking accident in Russia 60 years ago has intrigued the author of this book in a quest to find a reasonable explanation to the events of that fateful day. Gathering now de-classified reports, visiting familiars of the missing group and even taking the same hiking trip, you will feel deeply invested in the missing crew history, and the writer’s quest for answers”
~Andreas Calvopina, Library Assistant

Sail by James Patterson & Howard Roughan
A tale about greed, evil and deceit. But at the end, evil gets his dues and karma does her job.
~Yolanda Hasler, Library Assistant

The Porpoise by Mark Haddon
The Porpoise is a dark, beautiful, and tragic novel that intertwines two story lines from different times and places, connected through the rich inner life of the girl at the center of the book. Be prepared to cry!
~Kate Hess, Digital Librarian

Becoming by Michelle Obama
I would like to recommend Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. As the first African American woman to serve as First Lady of the United States, I found her story to be fascinating. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, who would have thought her life’s journey would take her to Harvard and ultimately the White House. Whether or not you agree with her politics, I think you will relate to her honesty and authenticity.
~Sue Miller, Access Services Librarian

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.