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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.”

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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.

So, what do you think?