Sunshine, warmth and the end of classes mark the near return of summer. While many people will take vacations on the upcoming beautiful days, the freedom of this time of year offers a perfect opportunity to explore a new world or faraway places through literature. We asked UNH faculty and staff to share their recommended summer reads.
English and journalism lecturer Meg Heckman recommends “The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss” by Max Wirestone, noting that it suits lovers of the Nancy Drew series and Dungeons and Dragons. The novel “takes readers deep inside geek culture to solve a murder mystery with clues online and in the real world. It's a nerdy page‐turner with just the right amount of suspense,” says Heckman.
A New England-centric recommendation is “The Winter of Our Discontent” by John Steinbeck. “If you like reading Steinbeck, you would love this one — a story about a small town supposedly in New England,” says Luchen Li, associate provost for international programs at UNH and president of the International Society of Steinbeck Scholars.
John Cerullo, professor of history at UNH Manchester, suggests several Phillip Kerr novels: "March Violets," "The Pale Criminal," "The One from the Other" and “If the Dead Rise Not.” He says, “Anyone who likes classic 'hard-boiled detective' fiction will love these novels. Also history buffs, of course.”
Along with these, Cerullo recommends "How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n Roll” by Elijah Wald, which he says studies the evolution of the music industry and mass communication. “I think anyone interested in popular culture will find it illuminating, as will anyone who enjoys those biographies and autobiographies of musicians that have been coming out lately,” says Cerullo.
Cerullo also gives a nod to the work of John O’Hara, who is “highly observant, possessed of a really fine sense of irony and downright brilliant at sketching a character in a sentence or two,” says Cerullo, also noting O’Hara’s influence on the creation of The New Yorker short story.
James Ramsay, professor of security studies and homeland security at UNH Manchester, suggests “Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before” by Tony Horwitz. “It’s a lot of fun and explores Captain Cook’s adventures in a hilarious fashion,” says Ramsay.
Professor of computer science Mike Gildersleeve also recommends a humorous novel — “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. “It’s a great blend of dark and off-the-wall themes with laugh-out-loud humor. It’s the most fun one can have reading about Armageddon,” says Gildersleeve.
Looking for even more recommendations?
UNH associate professor of English Tom Paine offers them up on this edition of NHPR’s "The Bookshelf."