Pollak Library Must-Read Books For Summer 2014

2014 Summer Reading RcommendationsLooking for a good beach read? Something to bring along on vacation? A few books to take your mind off of research, studies, or teaching this summer?

While our primary mission is to support teaching, learning, and research, the Pollak Library does have some popular and leisure reading titles in our print and eBook collections. We also provide access to titles we do not own, through other libraries. Although the book stacks in Library South remain closed due to earthquake repairs, Pollak Library patrons can still use our fast handy Book Paging Service to request titles from those restricted areas.

Following are some favorites recommended by our own faculty and staff. Enjoy! Please use the Comment box below to share what you are reading this summer.


AbaratTitle: Abarat
Author: Clive Barker
Recommended By: Joy Sage, Reference & Instruction Librarian

This is a dark and creepy Wizard of Oz story. Candy is from small town Minnesota and she finds herself in a dark land filled with strange folks she would never meet at home and they need her help. Let the adventures begin. Also check out the sequel- Days of Magic, Nights of War.


Ambassador of Lindy HopTitle: Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop
Author: Frankie Manning
Recommended By: Joy Lambert, Reference & Instruction Librarian

From the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NY, to the battlefields of the south Pacific during WWII, and back to Broadway, Frankie Manning lived quite a life. A very innovative dancer, Frankie was a legend in the dance halls and ballrooms of New York, and appeared with his dance troupes in several films of the 1930s and 40s. After returning home from proudly serving his country overseas, Frankie worked a civilian job and then in later years became an award-winning choreographer and world-renowned teacher of the Lindy Hop. Dancers and non-dancers alike can appreciate the memoir of this talented American artist.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeTitle: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Recommended By: Helen Dolbin, Collection & Processing Services

The book is a little bit mystery and a lot of interesting human insight. A teenaged boy discovers a neighbor’s murdered dog and decides to investigate the crime. The story, told from the perspective of a mathematically gifted teenager with an unspecified Asperger-like condition, is fascinating without coming across as gimmicky.


I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsTitle: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Author: Maya Angelou
Recommended By: Cynthia Bruns, Reference Coordinator

With the passing of the author, Maya Angelou, it is a pleasure to revisit or explore for the first time, this modern American classic on the strength of spirit of a small childn in face of great adversity.


Ladies and GentlemenTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning : 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City
Author: Jonathan Mahler
Recommended By: Rob Sage, Business Librarian

Reggie Jackson Vs. Billy Martin Vs. George Steinbrenner for control of the Yankees, Ed Koch Vs. Mario Cuomo Vs. Abe Beame for control of the city. The Son of Sam killer. The Blackout. Studio 54 and CBGB’s….. This is a summer read about the most eventful summer in the history of New York City.


OutlanderTitle: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Recommended By: Barbara Miller, Chicana & Chicano Resource Center Librarian

What if your future was in the past? This genre bending novel – a romance on steroids, time traveling alternate universe, well-researched historical novel or all of the above – is the first of nine in a series that follows WWII combat nurse, Claire Randell, as she tumbles through an ancient stone circle in the Scottish Highlands and into the arms of a young Scottish Laird, Jamie Fraser. The year is 1754, and Claire, now the Sassenach (outlander), must learn to deal with jealousy, politics, intrigue, plagues, and violence that threaten her life in the 18th century, reconciling her growing love for Jamie with the memories of her husband, Frank, left back in 1945. A television series based on the novel premieres August 9th on Starz Channel.


Pale FireTitle: Pale Fire
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Recommended By: Jon Cornforth, Circulation Library Services Specialist

Insanely clever and inventive, it’s difficult to describe this book without spoiling the fun. It consists of a big long poem and someone’s commentary on it. Sound kinda boring? Actually it’s amazing! This “novel”–full of suspense, international intrigue, biting satire, questions of authorship and mortality, and more–is a hilarious yet spellbinding mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Oh and the setting is a college town and campus. Check it out!


RebeccaTitle: Rebecca
Author: Daphne Du Maurier
Recommended By: Joy Sage, Reference & Instruction Librarian

A classic creepy ghost story set in England. Poor Rebecca is swept off her feet by a handsome rich man who carries her off to live in a beautiful mansion. Unfortunately for Rebecca, that’s where the fairy tale ends and the nightmare begins.


Rent CollectorTitle: The Rent Collector: A Novel
Author: Cameron Steve Wright
Recommended By: Cynthia Bruns, Reference Coordinator

This fiction book is set in Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal dump in Cambodia. Sang Ly, a young mother with a sick child, struggles to survive with her husband by picking scavenging through trash in the dump. The story becomes one of hope and redemption when Sang Ly asks the bad-tempered rent collector to teach her to read.


UnbrokenTitle: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Recommended By: Colleen Greene, Systems Librarian & Communications Coordinator

This inspiring biography of Southern California Olympian Louis Zamperini — to be released as a movie in December 2014 — is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. During World War II, Zamperini survives being lost at sea after his Army Air Forces bomber crashes into the ocean, only to be rescued, imprisoned, and brutalized by the Japanese as a Prisoner of War. Zamperini’s story is suspenseful, touching, humorous, and powerful. Zamperini passed away July 2, 2014 at the age of 97.

Leave a Comment, Question, or Suggestion!