Skip to Main Content
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Call Number: PS 3623 .E4324494 P76 2021
This fast-paced sci-fi novel will keep you guessing right up to the last sentence. The story begins with a man alone in a spaceship with no memory of who he is or why he's there. Through bursts of flashback the reader slowly figures it out with him. Obviously well-researched, Weir sometimes dives deeply and accurately into the science that drives the story. Very witty and hugely heartwarming, this book will take you on a journey through the question of how far you'll go to help those you care about.
-Erica Stratton, Library Technical Assistant I
The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro
Call Number: NA 9085 .M68 C37 1975
Publication Date: 1975-07-12
Consarnit! One of the things that gets on my very last nerve these days is how unsophisticated people seem to be when it comes to the issue of power. To be specific; the acquisition and execution thereof. Before Caro became obsessed with LBJ he gave us a 1344-page pamphlet on the subject. Never heard of Robert Moses? Don’t sweat it, you’re in common company. People didn’t know who he was back in the day either. However, he changed the entire landscape and re-structured the socio-economic strata of NYC. He was one of the most powerful people in America during the 20th century. The guy whispered in Governor’s and President’s ears. Ultimately, it’s a sad tale. Suffice to say he started out with good intentions. What he did with all his good intentions is for you to find out, if you’re curious. The Modern Library chose this as one of one hundred best books of the 20th century. Pulitzer prize too. Just sayin.
-Todd Nuckolls, Public Services Librarian
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Call Number: PZ 7.1 .J274 Goo 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-04
Fans of One of Us is Lying will love this fast-paced murder mystery set in small-town Connecticut. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder draws you in immediately with its mixed-media format. Interview transcripts, maps, and journal entries are interspersed throughout the novel to form a full picture of the investigation. Holly Jackson does a splendid job of dropping hints throughout the narrative that leave you trying to solve the murder yourself. There is a shocking conclusion you won’t see coming. If you’re looking for a book you can read in a weekend, this is the one for you! Once you start reading, you’re not going to want to put it down.
-Jasmine Smith, Library Technical Asst.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Call Number: PS 3619 .T828 S58 2020
Publication Date: 2020-02-11
Winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, this debut novel by Douglas Stuart stupefies with the heart-breaking tale of Hugh Bain (Shuggie) and his family during the 1980s and 1990s in Glasgow, Scotland. The novel traces the moves and disintegration of Shuggie’s family as they leave the relative safety of the city to subsist in surreal Pithead, public housing on the edge of Glasgow. In that depressing community, Shuggie and his older brother Leek face their mother Agnes’s intensifying alcoholism, as well as the dangers of homophobia and toxic male culture. Shuggie, the youngest of Agnes’ three children, devotes himself to saving his mother from drink and lascivious males, while Leek escapes through his art and hard labor. Agnes alternates between awareness of her problem and a defiant determination to drink more, all while maintaining her impeccable appearance and pride. Described as resembling Elizabeth Taylor, Agnes exemplifies the push/pull between being a strong, independent female and a damsel in distress. The reader is alternately disgusted by and empathetic with Agnes, as Shuggie’s love engenders the reader’s hope that she will change her life and that of her children. Stuart’s prose is unflinching yet poetic, creating powerful visuals and emotional responses. Through scenes such as this, Stuart is able to carry the reader into a world that is both beyond belief and horribly realistic. We follow Shuggie through it all, loving him for his force of goodness, amazed by his ability to survive.
-MaryGrace Paden, Asst. Professor of English
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Call Number: PR 9199.4 .S727 S73 2015
Publication Date: 2015-06-02
It’s hard to believe that Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven was written before the time of COVID. The apocalyptic, post-pandemic setting within the novel struck a chord in readers' imaginations when the world transformed in 2020. The story’s character-based, intertwining narratives chronicle the before and after the downfall of modern civilization, and how the characters survived, reformed communities, and navigated their new lives with fractured memories of the old world. Throw in some creepy cults, some celebrity obsession, some blurred lines between science fiction and reality, along with tender, introspective moments of what it means to be human during the most challenging of times, and you have one of the most unique works of fiction during the modern era.
-Erik Sugg, Instruction Librarian
When Things Get Dark by Ellen Datlow (Editor)
Call Number: PS 648 .H6 W463 2021
Publication Date: 2021-09-28
Ellen Datlow is a renowned editor of horror, sci-fi and fantasy anthologies and this is another winner from her. All of the tales have been inspired by the Shirley Jackson, author of The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House. Jackson's writing is a kind of quiet horror, tales of ordinary life where the evil is hidden just below the surface and the authors in this collection do her proud. Authors include Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Tremblay and Josh Malerman. If you are a fan of Shirley Jackson, you won't be disappointed with the stories. My favorite is Tip-Toe by Laird Barron; if you don't find yourself looking over your shoulder after reading this story, you have nerves of steel.
-Paula Hartman, Public Services Librarian
A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
Call Number: PS 3606 .O857 G66 2020
Publication Date: 2020-03-10
I absolutely love this novel and this author, who lives here in the triangle and got her PhD in creative writing from NC State University. The book takes place in North Carolina in a small community and gradually turns into both a love story as well as a commentary on how difficult it can be to define the concept of equality, especially in the south.
-Elena Fleggas, Asst. Professor, English
Conscious by Annaka Harris
Call Number: BF 311 .H3527 2019
Publication Date: 2019-06-04
A fascinating and accessible book on an intriguing and complex subject. You'll start asking yourself questions like, "What is the difference between consciousness and the concept of self? Is consciousness essentially being conscious of consciousness? Do we, as sentient conscious beings, have the capacity for free will? Does the interconnectedness among plants provide evidence of consciousness existing in places we previously thought it could not? Does the exchange of mind-altering toxoplasma between animals challenge the perspective of will and conscious decision-making? Are we capable of discovering tangible evidence to support the theories of panpsychism? Are we, as human beings in our atomic makeup, simply a multifaceted version of 'micro' consciousnesses, no different than the non-sentient matter we believe holds no consciousness?" If any of that sounds interesting, you should read this book.
-Erik Sugg, Instruction Librarian
Nobody's Victim by Carrie Goldberg; Jeannine Amber (Contribution by)
Call Number: HQ 1237.5 .U6 G63 2019
Publication Date: 2019-08-13
*Cue the Law & Order: SVU theme song* In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous—and Carrie Goldberg is going to bring the psychos, stalkers, pervs, and trolls to justice. Goldberg is a victims’ rights lawyer specializing in harassment, sexual assault, blackmail, and revenge porn cases. Her book details the terrible ways in which her clients were attacked and how often our institutions failed to protect them. Blending memoir, true crime, and legal drama, this book is sure to keep you hooked. Prepare to be enraged and find yourself considering law school. *dun dun*
-Megan Rudolph, Campus Librarian
Still don't know what to read? Want more book reviews? Check these out:
Very Bad People by Kit Frick
Call Number: PZ 7.1 .A526 Sco 2022
Publication Date: 2022-04-05
This thrilling YA dark academia novel keeps you on your toes from beginning to end. Fans of One of Us is Lying and a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder will enjoy Kit Frick’s latest novel. When Calliope Bolan begins her junior year at the prestigious Tipton Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself drawn into the mystery of the campus’s secret society, Haunt and Rail. As she finds herself more tangled in their web, questions arise about the tragic death of her mother six years prior and whether Haunt and Rail was involved. The novel has a leisurely beginning that quickly picks up halfway through and ends with a jaw-dropping conclusion. You won’t be able to put this book down once you’ve started!
-Jasmine Smith, Library Technical Assistant
Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anne Sebba
Call Number: HX 84 .R578 S426 2021
Publication Date: 2021-06-08
Growing up, I had heard about the Rosenberg’s but this was the first book that I had ever read specifically about Ethel Rosenberg. Ethel Rosenberg, along with her husband, Julius, was executed on June 19, 1953 for spying on the behalf of the Soviet Union. The evidence against her at the time was uncertain at best and new evidence proving her innocence has surfaced since then. This book shows the hopes and dreams that Ethel had as a young woman and what life was like for her as a wife and mother dealing with the misogyny and anti-Semitism of that era in American history. The author uses the letters that Ethel exchanged with her husband, her lawyer and her therapist while in prison to show her love, her loyalty and her courage. It’s a fascinating look at a woman who has long been reviled.
-Paula Hartman, Public Services Librarian
Want to contribute a book review? Contact us!
Book Reviews Editor