28 Jul

Top Ten Gifts for people who can’t get enough Harry Potter

20 Jul

Book Club Wrap-Up: The Secret History

Thank you to every­one who came out to talk about The Secret His­tory on Sun­day! Gen­eral con­sen­sus was that this book was SO worth the read. We had a lively dis­cus­sion about human nature, for sure.

Next up, we’ll be read­ing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!!! Start read­ing now and join us on Aug 28th at 6pm to dis­cuss this seri­ously one of a kind book. <3

Don’t for­get to log your books for #KUBook­Bingo!! Remem­ber, the more you read this sum­mer, the more likely it is that you’ll be our BIG WINNER!!!

guide to the galaxy email header-2

16 Jul

Even More Summer Reading Lists!

Summer Reading

We’ve given you a LOT of lists this week, but if you STILL aren’t sure about what you should be read­ing this sum­mer, HERE ARE SOME MORE! These are lists we’ve used in past sum­mers, but they are still just as hot as they were when they were posted the first time!
Read on, Read­ers! 

15 Jul

Jessi’s Summer Reading picks!


Jessi is the Queen of Geek Cul­ture and Board Games. That is her offi­cial title. Her other titles include “Boss Lady”, “Duchess of Kards” and “Jedi Princess”. Every­thing you want to know about good Sci­ence Fic­tion can prob­a­bly be answered by Jessi. Also, she will kick your ass HARD in any game of any kind prob­a­bly. Just say­ing.
Here are Jessi’s Sum­mer Read­ing sug­ges­tions!















14 Jul

J.D.‘s Summer Reading Picks!


So you like graphic nov­els? Well. You’ve come to the right place. J.D. is now KU’s unof­fi­cial Graphic Novel wiz­ard. Why? Well, he’s read a lot of them. And he has opin­ions. And from we can tell so far, his opin­ions are pretty good qual­ity!
J.D. has some reg­u­lar books sug­ges­tions as well. Check ‘em out!







13 Jul

Mariann’s Summer Reading Picks


Mar­i­ann has been here at KU for just a few months, but she’s got our jive down pretty well. She’s a quiet one, but damn is that girl good at orga­niz­ing things. In her pre­vi­ous life she was prob­a­bly a dragon that kept her hoard filed alpha­bet­i­cally.
Check out her Sum­mer Read­ing selec­tions!



Col­or­less Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pil­grim­age by Haruki Murakami
Murakami’s lat­est work of fic­tion is a must for even the most casual fan. Ethe­real and wist­ful, this story fol­lows our despair­ing pro­tag­o­nist on a quest to seek clo­sure in a lonely life defined by com­par­ison. One ques­tion haunts the nar­ra­tive and when answered leaves us trou­bled by the unfor­tu­nate nature of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion.


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigs­burg
Run­ning away to live in a museum has never been more fun. Part mys­tery, part brother-sister bond­ing tale, this is a time­less clas­sic (not just for chil­dren!) that deserves a re-read.


A Heart­break­ing Work of Stag­ger­ing Genius by Dave Eggers
The more I’ve thought about it, the title of this book is strik­ingly apt. Apt in that it is jok­ing, play­ful, snide, and know­ingly self-aware, much like the work itself. A med­i­ta­tion on the endurance of the human spirit, the “genius” is in the jour­ney I was happy to take and you will be too. With a superb nav­i­ga­tor, this is a fan­tas­tic intro­duc­tion to the genre of cre­ative non-fiction


If on a Winter’s Night a Trav­eler by Italo Calvino
As the pro­tag­o­nist of the text, “you” fall in love with a beau­ti­ful woman you meet in a book­store. As the pro­tag­o­nist of the text, you are ensnared in the inner-workings of the lit­er­ary world. As a reader of the text, each chap­ter is the begin­ning of a new genre-specific novel that is inter­rupted right as the text begins to evolve. Some­how these two par­al­lel nar­ra­tives impres­sively mix and mash together to cre­ate an intrigu­ing work of post­mod­ernist fic­tion.


Mrs. Dal­loway by Vir­ginia Woolf
A good place to start if you’re at all curi­ous about Vir­ginia Woolf’s writ­ing. A woman of high soci­ety ques­tions her mar­riage and social oblig­a­tions. In a world before the diag­no­sis PTSD, a vet­eran expe­ri­ences flash­backs that push him into the dark­est of places. How do we age with pas­sion, how do we expe­ri­ence time? Float down the stream of con­scious­ness with Woolf’s mus­ings on past, present, and par­ties.


New York Tril­ogy by Paul Auster
The ulti­mate detec­tive col­lec­tion twists and turns through a few gumshoes’ per­sis­tent search for the truth in con­flict­ing real­i­ties. Orig­i­nally pub­lished in install­ments, these three sto­ries com­ple­ment one another in their meta-fictional essence. This col­lec­tion doesn’t take itself too seri­ously and instead offers a refresh­ing take on the tra­di­tional hard-hitting crime story.


Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
A vague account of dreams, maps, sky­di­vers, and oil spills, an anthro­pol­o­gist is tasked with writ­ing a report for a sus­pect mega-corporation. This text exam­i­nes why we ana­lyze soci­ety and cul­ture and who this analy­sis ben­e­fits. I read it in one sit­ting.


Still Life with Wood­pecker by Tom Rob­bins
Before the illu­mi­nati con­spir­acy craze swept the Amer­i­can under­ground, there were hypothe­ses about pres­i­den­tial des­tiny and the imagery hid­den on a pack of Camel cig­a­rettes. What does this have to do with red­heads, black­ber­ries, and the city of Seat­tle? Read along to find out.


The Stranger by Albert Camus
This exis­ten­tial clas­sic will have you grap­pling with the impli­ca­tions of a person’s moral con­sti­tu­tion. As far as the per­fect sum­mer read­ing book, well, it does take place on a beach…


Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyn­gart
The near dystopian future is falling in love online. It is an awk­ward nego­ti­a­tion between dig­i­tal avatars and a global econ­omy on the polit­i­cal fritz. Immor­tal­ity and image col­lide to bring a satir­i­cal take on unex­pected, cloy­ing romance.


A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jen­nifer Egan
Are you an aging record pro­ducer? Someone’s per­sonal assis­tant? A for­mer punk, a future par­ent, a love-struck fool? If the answer to any of these ques­tions is yes, this book is for you. Travel through the years with a cast of char­ac­ters who are truly rock and roll. Egan crafts a hilar­i­ous and heart-wrenching tale of bro­ken dreams and new begin­nings. As a home­less bassist utters mid-way through the text, “time is a goon.”


The Year of Mag­i­cal Think­ing by Joan Did­ion
The mem­oir to end all mem­oirs. The empti­ness of grief is explored with such com­plex­ity from a jour­nal­is­tic and per­sonal per­spec­tive. The jar­ring and sud­den death of a spouse. The ill­ness and decline of a daugh­ter. If ever there were a book to make you cry, this is it.

12 Jul

Adam’s Summer Reading Picks!


Adam wears birken­stocks and reg­u­larly uses a foun­tain pen. He also at one time was heard say­ing that he was “what hip­sters wish they were.” So this list may or may not be full of books that he knew were good about before you did. But hon­estly, he has pretty good taste, so give his list a try!



Geek Love by Kather­ine Dunn
I read this book in a post-modern lit­er­a­ture class in col­lege.  I went into the class not really lik­ing post-modern lit.  I found it over­wrought and vac­u­ous and largely com­pletely unin­ter­est­ing.  There were sev­eral books over the course of the class that changed my mind and this was one of the first and best.  If you like sto­ries of freak shows and weird cults, and fam­ily bond­ing, this book is def­i­nitely for you.


The Secret His­tory by Donna Tartt
I had never heard of Donna Tartt before my good friend Jody handed me this book, told me that it was one of her favorite things she’d ever read, and told me to read it.  This book inter­ested me from the out­set because the main char­ac­ter goes to col­lege and majors in Clas­sics and if a book about a Clas­sics major in col­lege sounds bor­ing to you, just trust me that the tip of this ice­berg does not begin to do jus­tice to the remain­der.  Intense friend­ships, bac­cha­na­lia, and creepy secrets make this piece by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of
The Goldfinch is absolutely a must read.


The Jun­gle Books by Rud­yard Kipling
The Jun­gle Book and The Sec­ond Jun­gle Book were orig­i­nally pub­lished sep­a­rately, but are fre­quently printed and sold as one vol­ume now.  This is one of those books that no film adap­ta­tion has ever even come close to touch­ing, so if you saw Disney’s newest adap­ta­tion ear­lier this year and either liked it or didn’t like it, just for­get about it and pick up the book.  It’s fun, a great story to share with kids, and one of the most sur­pris­ingly emo­tional sto­ries I’ve ever read.  As an added bonus, the book is actu­ally a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, which makes it per­fect as a bed­time story option or com­mute book!


The Hob­bit by J.R.R. Tolkien
It is (hope­fully) glar­ingly obvi­ous to any­one who’s read this blog even a bit (or talked to me in per­son) that I absolutely love Tolkien.  He is basi­cally a deity to me.  
The Hob­bit is a great Sum­mer Read­ing option because it’s light and fun and about a trip, which makes it the per­fect vaca­tion book!  Plus when the vaca­tion­ing is done and you’re ready for some­thing with a lit­tle more grav­i­tas you can grad­u­ate to The Lord of the Rings, The Sil­mar­il­lion, or even Unfin­ished Tales of Numenor and Mid­dle Earth!


Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
First of all, every­one should have at least one Dahl book under their belt.  He’s a clas­sic children’s/young adult author for a rea­son, folks.  
Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox is my favorite Roald Dahl book because sto­ries about crafty ani­mals out­smart­ing humans are pretty much my life blood.  Plus, one of the char­ac­ters sub­sists on noth­ing but hard cider, which is how I aspire to live my life.


The Widow Clic­quot by Tilar Mazzeo
I’m not a huge oenophile (though I like wine a lot) nor am I an espe­cially eager reader of non-fiction, but this book hooked me. In fact, this book is one of the rea­sons I’ve been more into biogra­phies lately. The story of how Barbe-Nicole Clic­quot Pon­sardin not only han­dled her husband’s com­pany like a boss after he died but also com­pletely rev­o­lu­tion­ized the cham­pagne busi­ness, ran block­ades to sell her lux­ury wine, and basi­cally was an all-around hero for, like 60 years until Death finally showed up and was like, “Come on, lady, you’re mak­ing me look bad here,” is one that I can read over and over again.  She was
OG, man.


Lit­tle, Big by John Crow­ley
The novel picked for the inau­gural meet­ing of the
KU Book Club (and also the sec­ond meet­ing when we showed up and dis­cov­ered that none of us had fin­ished it) has stuck with me in a huge way since then.  This book got me into read­ing tarot cards.  It also uses the ubiq­ui­tous idea of Faerie in a supremely fas­ci­nat­ing way and basi­cally is every­thing you could pos­si­bly want in a book.  I’ve never really been able to ver­bal­ize this until right now, but you know what Lit­tle, Big is?  It’s a Neil Gaiman novel from before Neil Gaiman was writ­ing nov­els.  I don’t know if Gaiman was directly influ­enced by Crowley’s book, but I have to say, I’d kinda bet on it.


I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle
I’ll be hon­est with you, I read this book because I saw the movie and really liked it.  I saw the movie because Hay­den Panet­tiere was in it and I really like her.  My moti­va­tions notwith­stand­ing, though, this book is excel­lent.  Any­one who has ever gone to high school will find some­thing to relate to here.  It’s funny, heart­felt, and makes you glad you grad­u­ated years and years ago.


Mother, Can You Not? by Kate E. Siegel
I started fol­low­ing the Insta­gram account @crazyjewishmom months and months ago.  At that time, it was just an account where this young woman posted screen­shots of text con­ver­sa­tions with her over­bear­ing, hilar­i­ous, and com­pletely filter-less mother.  It has since grown into a huge viral phe­nom­e­non and Kate has rolled with the punches, com­ing out with this book ear­lier this spring.  It’s just as hilar­i­ous as the IG account, and I’d rec­om­mend it to any­one who’s ever had a con­ver­sa­tion with their mom that turned into some­thing resem­bling an Abbot and Costello skit from a crazy par­al­lel uni­verse.  


The Blue Sword by Robin McKin­ley
I found this book in my ele­men­tary school library when I was in 5th grade or so.  It enchanted me in a way that no book had done before and few have done since.  It’s rare to find fan­tasy, high or low, that so per­fectly cap­tures the world it cre­ates.  Magic and sword fights and pet big cats are things that all of us have wanted (and/or cur­rently want) in our lives, and this book will give you those feels in abun­dance.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Roth­fuss
Before I read this book, I noticed that one of the blurbs on the back said, “Shelve
The Name of the Wind with The Lord of the Rings and look for­ward to the day when it is men­tioned in the same breath and per­haps as first among equals.”  This, to me, con­sti­tuted extremely — almost impos­si­bly — high praise.  Hav­ing read it, I can say unequiv­o­cally that Rothfuss’s book lives up to that praise.  If you enjoy fan­tasy at all, you should give this book your undi­vided atten­tion at your ear­li­est pos­si­ble con­ve­nience.  


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This is a book many of us knew from our child­hoods.  If you’re around my age or a lit­tle older, you prob­a­bly have fond mem­o­ries of the ani­mated film of 1973, which is an excel­lent adap­ta­tion of what is prob­a­bly White’s most famous work.  If you have or know a young child who loves ani­mals, or if you just want to nour­ish that small child within your­self, pick up Charlotte’s Web and share it with some­one.  It’s a book best read with a friend. 


A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Mar­tin
The first book of Martin’s epic
Song of Ice and Fire is a fan­tas­tic book to read over the sum­mer.  While fans of the series may enjoy the later books more (book 3, A Storm of Swords is most fans’ favorite), A Game of Thrones is the per­fect first book of a series, mak­ing grand intro­duc­tions, set­ting the stage for the incred­i­ble events to fol­low, and draw­ing the reader into the uni­verse so com­pletely that you’ll be hard-pressed to put any of these books down (until, of course, you throw one of them across the room in a Martin-inspired rage.)


Pride & Prej­u­dice by Jane Austen
This is lit­er­ally one of the most per­fect books of all time.  Even if you don’t like period pieces; even if you don’t like roman­tic come­dies; even if you don’t like British lit­er­a­ture; even if you don’t like the Clas­sics, give this book a chance.  Austen’s incred­i­ble com­mand of com­edy and emo­tional depth make P&P one of my favorite books.  You’ll be laugh­ing and ugly-crying in equal por­tions due to the snark and mooshy-ness in this book.  If you don’t love it, I will lit­er­ally eat my hat.