Summer Reading Staff Picks!

The semester is finally at its end!  Summer is officially on its way. That means a time for summer vacations, beach reading, and recovering from all the work you put in this spring. Unless you’re taking summer classes. But even if you’ve got schoolwork to come, we here at the library recommend taking a little time for yourself too. And what better way to relax than with a good book?

Here are the summer reading recommendations from CSN library faculty and staff for their favorite books to read on vacation. Most are available to check out at our library too!  Just ask a librarian if you need help finding one.


Summer’s End by Danielle Steel

This was my first Danielle Steel book and after reading this one, I was hooked.



Compositions for the Young and Old by Paul Tremblay

Tremblay is in the same blood-curdling, cynically imaginative vein as authors such as Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. This collection of short stories is varied, yet cohesive; it is a bit like Frankenstein’s monster—sometimes scary, often breathtaking, and always alive.

-Tavish Bell


Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Find in the library at call number: PS3619.T72 K47, Henderson campus

If you loved the film Juno, you’re going to really love this wonderful book.  Big warmhearted characters move back and forth through years of crazy  interconnected family all underscored by a shared passion for food and an understanding of the value of acceptance.  These folks stay with you!

-Clarissa Erwin


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Find in the library at call number: GV838.F57 A3, Henderson campus

Barbarian Days is possibly the most interesting book I’ve read in a long time.   Basically a memoir of a life surfing across the world, it examines in anthropological detail not just the sport itself but the culture of surfing camaraderie, the politics of far flung beaches and villages, and the science and psychology of mastering waves in deep powerful oceans.  Finnegan’s writing is so descriptive it’s impossible to put this book down – you’re literally on the board testing your limits and navigating dangerous sets along with him.  Just incredible.  This book won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

-Clarissa Erwin


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Coming soon to the Cheyenne campus library TCL

When I was a kid, summer vacation meant family road trips to California, and road trips meant long car rides where I could read to pass the time. My favorite books to bring on vacation were the sci-fi Animorphs chapter books by Katherine (K.A.) Applegate. I still love reading kids’ books today, and it turns out Katherine Applegate is still writing them! Her 2012 children’s novel, The One and Only Ivan, is a sad but heartwarming story of a gorilla in captivity and the friendships that become most important to him.

-Stephanie Espinoza


Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth

Find in the library at call number: RG650.W675, Cheyenne campus

Light reading about a woman who becomes a midwife working with nuns in 1950s London. The popular PBS series is based on it. You’ll love the characters and the stories

-Susan Gregg


The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff

Find in the library at call number: PS3555.B4824 A615, Cheyenne campus

If you want to learn more about the history of the Latter Day Saints pick up this novel that covers polygamy in 1875 along with a tense narrative of a present day fundamentalist family.

-Susan Gregg


Mama Fela’s Girls by Ana Baca

Find in the library at call number: PS3552.A2535 M36, Cheyenne campus

The female roles of a poor Hispanic family living in a small town during the 1930s are explored in this novel. Three generations of strong women are held together by the matriarch Mama Fela.

-Susan Gregg


Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Follow the outlaw lawmen Wax and Wayne as they investigate why the contents of train cars headed through the lawless roughs are disappearing. This is a fun, quick read that expertly brings together the best elements of epic fantasy, detective stories, adventure, and westerns and the scenery feels a lot like Nevada.

-Emily King


Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton

Find in the library at call number: GV1061.15.F39 A3 B&T, Cheyenne campus

A quick read, which tells the story of how mistreated mental illness led former three-time Olympic distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton from acclaimed athlete to escort.

-Flor Maria Macias


Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Find in the library at call number: PR6116.H49 G64, Cheyenne campus

A humorous modern day tale about the Greek gods, who do not have much power left. They all live together in a run-down house in London, and have menial day jobs. A woman is hired as a housekeeper, and she ends up getting entangled in a battle between a couple of the gods. A quick, fun read.”

-Caprice Roberson


When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Find in the library at call number: F128.9P85 S27, Cheyenne campus
This is wonderful coming of age memoir. Esmeralda takes you on her journey as she moves from Puerto Rico to New York City and all the challenges she experiences along the way as she adjusts to life in America.  I definitely recommended this book; it’s a great read for anyone interested in contemporary Latino literature and/or Latino culture, or life in the United States as a Latin American immigrant child/teen/tween

-Raine Rosales


Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Find in the library at call number: BF431.D8185 B&T
Duhigg (a journalist at the New York Times, earlier book: Power of Habit, 2012) discusses, among many other topics, the research at Google about what distinguishes the most effective and productive teams—not just the smartest people, not the most alpha-males, not a diverse mix, but rather a group able to create an atmosphere of “psychological safety,” encouraging input from all members.

-Jack Sawyer


Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the color of Disaster by Michael E. Dyson

Find in the library at call number: HV636 2005.G87 D97, Henderson campus or E185.615.D945, Cheyenne and Charleston campus

This work tells the story of how race and class play out during natural disasters such as Katrina. It will bring out your social justice instincts. I can’t wait to see the author Mr. Dyson at ALA conference in June!

-Beth Schuck


The Amateur Marriage: A Novel by Anne Tyler

Find in the library at call number: PS3570.Y45 A59

Told from both points of view, a husband and wife who perhaps should never have married, is an easy read. It will make you appreciate the small things about your partner.

-Beth Schuck


Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown

Find in the library at call number: GV796.B76

Set during the Great Depression in the United States and Nazi occupied Germany, this is a beautifully written true story about a group of hard working, amateur men from the University of Washington who enter the Olympics as a rowing team. The story is so captivating, you wont realize how much you are learning about history, the state of Washington and the sport of crew.

-Christine Shore