What we’re reading

While all of us here at the Press love the books and journals we publish, we do save time to enjoy books from other publishers. As the weather warms up and so many of us get the itch to just sit outside and read, we thought we’d share the books we are reading or recently finished.

I’m in a slow reading period now so am picking and choosing from the 2011 Best American Nonrequired Reading, an eclectic selection of essays and short stories. Before I embarked on this, I read Post Office, a 1971 novel written by Charles Bukowski. I don’t really know how I stumbled upon this book, but the straightforward (and sometimes profane) writing style really engaged me. The semiautobiographical book was reportedly written in under a month, but part of the appeal comes from the rough edges.

Share in the comments what you’re reading these days and take a look at what has some other Press staffers engaged outside of the office:

Michael Carroll, Digital Production Manager & Electronic Publications Project Administrator
40 Million Dollar Slaves, by William Rhoden

I chose this book because I’m a huge sports fan (especially football and basketball) and I find it extremely intriguing to see the varied ways in which black athletes carry themselves, how they are viewed by mainstream America, and how many of them are still portrayed as entertainers with little other value to society. Based on what I’ve heard of Bill Rhoden’s book my expectation is that he will give historical context to the struggle and perception of the past and modern-day black athlete. And I must admit that based on what I’ve read so far, he’s spot-on.

Kris Zgorski, Production Coordinator, Journals Division
The Orphanmaster, by Jean Zimmerman

I recently finished reading an advance readers copy of this novel, Zimmerman’s first, which will be officially published on June 19. It is a well-researched and engaging historical novel. Part mystery, part romance, and sprinkled through with period detail, this novel is sure to be a notable book of 2012. Set in 1663, in New Amsterdam (present-day Manhattan), the novel follows the stories of Blandine von Couvering, a female trader, and Edward Drummond, a British spy, as they work both separately and together to determine why the orphaned children of the village are going missing.  Superstitious townsfolk believe it is the work of Witika (Wendigo), a malevolent creature who inhabits the woods, but Blandine and Edward believe it might be something even more sinister—a serial killer.