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Reading Recommendations

Student sitting outside on campus reading a book with their feet propped up.

Staff Pick Recommendations | WashU Libraries Book Club | Faculty Book Talk

The University Libraries are your informational hub for research – but we also read for fun. Join us in celebrating and discussing some of the books your University Libraries’ staff and university faculty have enjoyed. Goodreads users can follow us for recommendations directly.

Want a more comprehensive reading selection? Check out our LibGuide on Local Libraries in the St. Louis area to see how Washington University students living on campus can get a library card. University Libraries involve more than research, so be sure to browse their book discussion or events calendars!

Staff Pick Recommendations

Staff Picks features many books the University Libraries staff recommended in recent years.

Cover of Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age.
Tahmima Anam’s A Golden Age
Book cover of Honey & Spice
Bolu Babalola’s Honey and Spice
Cover of Fredrik Backman's My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry.
Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Cover of Alberto Cairo's How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information.
Alberto Cairo’s How Charts Lie
Cover art for Karen Dionne's The Marsh King's Daughter. The cover shows a house standing in a swampy marsh with the title over the photo.
Karen Dionne’s The Marsh King’s Daughter
Cover of Emma Donoghue's The Wonder.
Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder
Cover for Tim Falconer's Bad Singer: The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music.
Tim Falconer’s Bad Singer
Cover of The Upstairs House by Julia Fine
Julia Fine’s The Upstairs House
Cover of David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon
Cover of Lauren Greenfield's Generation Wealth.
Lauren Greenfield’s Generation Wealth
Cover of Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind
Cover of Leon Hendrix' Jimi Hendrix: A Brother's Story.
Leon Hendrix’s Jimi Hendrix
Cover of The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng by Lady Hyegyeong as edited JaHyun Kim Haboush.
Lady Hyegyŏng’s Memoirs
Cover of Lee Israel's Can You Ever Forgive Me? Memoirs of a Literary Forger.
Lee Israel’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Cover of Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing
Cover of Mikki Kendall's Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot.
Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism
Cover of Esther Kinsky's Grove.
Esther Kinsky’s Grove
The cover of Eric Klinenberg's Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. There is line-art of cities and the people who live in them drawn on the cover.
Eric Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Cover of Russell Means' Where White Men Fear to Tread.
Russell Means’ Where White Men Fear to Tread
Cover of Michael Meyer's The Last Days of Old Beijing
Michael Meyer’s The Last Days of Old Beijing
Cover of Trevor Noah's Born a Crime
Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime
Cover of Thomas Pynchon's Vineland.
Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland
Book cover of Ephemeral City by Rosa Salzberg
Rosa Salzburg’s Ephemeral City
Cover of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo.
George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo
Cover of Richard Shone's The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss.
Richard Shone’s The Books that Shaped Art History
New Ways to Kill Your Mother
Colm Tóibín’s New Ways to Kill Your Mother
Cover of Jeffrey Toobin's The Run of His Life: The People V. O.J. Simpson.
Jeffrey Toobin’s The Run of His Life
Cover of Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts.
Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts
Cover art for Ryan H. Walsh's Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968. The cover has a singer at a microphone with other famous musicians in a collage.
Ryan H. Walsh’s Astral Weeks

WashU Libraries Book Club

Each book club gathering begins with a discussion or presentation, followed by a discussion of the book selected for the month. Visit the Events page for more details about upcoming book club events.

Cover art for Mark Adams' Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time.
Mark Adams’ Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Front cover of Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz's nonfiction book, Dr. Mutter’s Marvels. Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s Dr. Mutter’s MarvelsThe King's Anatomist book cover
Ron Blumenfeld’s The King’s Anatomist
Cover art for Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 shows a man made out of origami book pages standing atop a pile of books. Both the origami man and pile of books are burning.
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Cover of Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. The cover has a drawing of a butterfly wing in gold and blue,
Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book
Cover of Rachel Caine's Ink and Bone, first in The Great Library series.
Rachel Caine’s Ink and Bone
Front cover of The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomspon.
Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason’s The Rule of Four
Cover image of Alix Christie's Gutenberg's Apprentice.
Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice 
Cover of Ruth Downie's Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire. The cover art shows a bottle labeled with a Staff of Aesculapius with three drops of blood.
Ruth Downie’s Medicus
Margaret the First book cover
Danielle Dutton’s Margaret the First

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man 
Cover of Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death.
Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death
Cover for Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of all Things.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things
Book cover art for The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer.
Joshua Hammer’s The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu
Cover art for Robert Hellenga's novel, The Sixteen Pleasures.
Robert Hellenga’s The Sixteen Pleasures

David Hill’s The Vapors 
Cover for Katherine Howe's The Psysick Book of Deliverance Dane.
Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Eva Jurczyk’s The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Cover of Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink.
Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink
Cover of Mary Beth Keane's Fever.
Mary Beth Keane’s Fever
Cover of Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. The cover has a negative image of a ship trapped in ice.
Alfred Lansing’s Endurance
Cover of Katharine McMahon's The Alchemist's Daughter.
Katharine McMahon’s The Alchemist’s Daughter
Cover for Candice Millard's River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey.
Candice Millard’s River of Doubt
Cover of David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Book cover art for The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny.
Regina O’Melveny’s The Book of Madness and Cures
Cover for Orhan Pamuk's My Name is Red.
Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red
Cover of Carolyn Porter's Marcel's Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate.
Carolyn Porter’s Marcel’s Letters
Cover of Oliver Pötzsch's The Hangman's Daughter. Shows legs in pointy dress shoes hanging over a city.
Oliver Pötzsch’s The Hangman’s Daughter
Book cover of Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia.
Kate Racculia’s Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
Cover of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind
Cover of Vanitha Sankaran's Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages.
Vanitha Sankaran’s Watermark
Cover of Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.
Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Cover of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club.
Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club
Cover art for Rose Tremain's Restoration features a torso of a man dressed in a brocade overcoat.
Rose Tremain’s Restoration
Cover of Luis Alberto Urrea's The Devil's Highway: A True Story.
Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway
Cover of Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World.
Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss
Cover art for Pip Williams' The Dictionary of Lost Words . The cover shows an open suitcase with a teacup and a single poppy flower.
Pip Williams’ The Dictionary of Lost Words

Faculty Book Talk

The Faculty Book Talk series at Washington University Libraries features professors discussing their published work. Learn more about these events on our Events page.

Front cover of Tazeen M. Ali's The Women's Mosque of America: Authority & Community in US Islam.
Tazeen M. Ali’s The Women’s Mosque of America

Heather Berg’s Porn Work

Patrick Burke’s Tear Down the Walls
Cover of Todd R Decker's Hymns for the Fallen: Combat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam.
Todd R. Decker’s Hymns for the Fallen
Cover for Jonathan Fenderson's Building the Black Arts Movement: Hoyt Fuller and the Cultural Politics of the 1960s.
Jonathan Fenderson’s Building the Black Arts Movement
Cover for Gayle J. Fritz's Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Heartland.
Gayle J. Fritz’s Feeding Cahokia
Cover of Hillel J. Kieval's Blood Inscriptions: Science, Modernity, and Ritual Murder at Europe's Fin de Siecle. the Cover shows a cadaver on a mortuary table with men - presumedly doctors - surrounding it.
Hillel J. Kieval’s Blood Inscriptions
Cover of Rebecca J. Lester's Famished: Eating Disorders and Failed Care in America.
Rebecca J. Lester’s Famished
Cover of Edward McPherson's The History of the Future: American Essays.
Edward McPherson’s The History of the Future
Cover art for White Allies Handbook: 4 Weeks to Join the Racial Justice Fight for Black Woman by Lecia Michelle
Lecia Michelle’s The White Allies Handbook
Cover for Professor Sowande’ Mustakeem's Slavery at Sea. There is a ship sailing on a red sea.
Sowande’ Mustakeem’s Slavery at Sea
Cover for Jake Rosenfeld's You're Paid What You're Worth: And Other Myths of the Modern Economy.
Jake Rosenfeld’s You’re Paid What You’re Worth
Cover art for Henry I. Schvey's Blue Song: St. Louis in the Life and Work of Tennessee Williams.
Henry I. Schvey’s Blue Song
Cover of Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein's Our Higher Calling: Rebuilding the Partnership between America and Its Colleges and Universities.
Holden Thorp and Buck Goldstein’s Our Higher Calling
Book cover for Miguel Valerio's Sovereign Joy: Afro-Medican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640. The cover depicts a man, presumedly a king, with a feathered crown and parasol seated on top of an elaborately decorated elephant.
Miguel A. Valerio’s Sovereign Joy
Cover of Rebecca Wanzo's The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging.
Rebecca Wanzo’s The Content of Our Caricature
Cover for Adia Harvey Wingfield's Flatlining: Race, Work, and Health Care in the New Economy.
Adia Harvey Wingfield’s Flatlining