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Posts Tagged: books

Variety of book covers on top of a yellow background

Staff Book Recommendations

If you’re having trouble finding your next read, don’t worry, we have lots of reading suggestions from our staff! All the books listed are available in your library for check out.

The Last World by Christoph Ransmayr

This Austrian author is fond of stories within stories within stories, time-bending, and genre-blurring (also check out his multilayered Terrors of Ice and Darkness). This retelling of Greek and Roman mythology is also a mystery, a fantasy, and historical fiction. The main character, Cotta, sets out from worldly and wondrous Rome in search of his friend, the poet Ovid, who had been exiled to a decaying town on the Black Sea as a result of insulting, through his poetry, the Emperor Augustus. Cotta encounters people who knew Ovid, and they tell his fantastical stories of transformation. But these individuals themselves also become the characters of myth, with their existence woven into the ancient mythological tales. The obsession of the poet drives the obsession of Cotta to learn more. The book, like a metamorphosis, is as unsettling as it is beautiful.

Beau Case, Dean of Libraries

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s astonishing novel takes us inside the mind of this double agent, a man whose lofty ideals necessitate his betrayal of the people closest to him. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today”–Publisher’s website.

Also, HBO has ordered the A24 drama series adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel with Downey attached to co-star. Downey will play multiple characters in the series, including a California congressman, a CIA agent, a Hollywood movie director, and more, with the plot following a half-French, half-Vietnamese Communist spy during the war and his exile to the United States, in what’s designed as a cross between a cultural satire and a political thriller.

Ven Basco, University Librarian

Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in the void by Mary Roach

The author of Stiff and Bonk explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity. Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As the author discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), she takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

Megan Haught, Administrative Assistant

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

A gripping tale that reads as if it were a whodunit. It recounts the vast fire in 1986 that destroyed many valuable materials at the main location of the Los Angeles Public Library. It delves into fire and arson science, but also reveals the major workings of a research library. And who really started the fire?

Richard Harrison, Associate Librarian

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler

I love many of Anne Tyler’s novels due to her fully developed characters, but this one is my favorite.  It is a touching story of 17-year-old Ian Bledsoe in 1965 whose careless comment leads to tragedy that changes him and his family forever.  The novel follows him and his family over 20 years as he tries to atone for what he has done. 

Dawn Tripp, Library Technical Assistant

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

The first in a trilogy of books about the life of Theodore Roosevelt won both the Pulitzer and National Book Award for Biography.  This is a well-researched and wonderfully approachable book about the life of Roosevelt prior to become president.  The reader has an intimate look into the events that shaped and molded Roosevelt from a sickly, privileged child of New York into the Rough Rider, Progressive reformer, and future president.  This is a book that I revisit and one I recommend to readers of history or biographies. 

Jason Phillips, Associate Librarian

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Surprisingly funny story of how the author’s existence was a crime; being born to a white Swiss father and Xhosa mother at a time when such a birth was punishable by five years in prison.  Trevor shares his unusual upbringing of being hidden by his mother until the end of apartheid. I enjoyed the author’s humorous stories but also the opportunity to learn about this period in South African history from a personal perspective and how it affected those forced to live under it.  

Cindy Dancel, Graphics Specialist

Celebrate Library Awards, pictured Sara Duff, Cynthia Kisby, Tina Buck, Peggy Nuhn

Congratulations to our award winners!

Four of our UCF Librarians were recently honored with awards for their publications at this year’s Author’s Celebration held earlier this month in the Live Oak Room. The event recognizes faculty who have published books recently.

Among this year’s 47 honorees were the following librarians and their works:

Sara Duff and Tina Buck

Guidance for Librarians Transitioning to a New Environment

Cynthia Kisby

100 Books to Think About

Peggy Nuhn

Supporting transfer student success: The essential role of college and university libraries 

For more on this story, check out 


Banned Books Week

Books Unite Us: Censorship Divides Us
If you’ve ever read a book, chances are good that you have read a banned book. Books are banned for many reasons of often for multiple reasons; check out the list below and see if any of your favorites have been pulled from shelves and why. Or enjoy being a rebel and choose your next read!

Presence of Witchcraft

Wizard of Oz book cover

The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
Dorothy travels to the land of Oz via tornado where she befriends a tin man, a scarecrow, and a lion.

The Witches by Roald Dahl
A young boy and his Norwegian grandmother, who is an expert on witches, together foil a witches’ plot to destroy the world’s children by turning them into mice.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter discovers his magical heritage on his eleventh birthday when he receives an acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Offensive Language

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay Gatsby orders his life in an attempt to capture the past.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Teen Holden Caulfield searches for truth after being expelled from school.

The Color Purple by Alice Waker
Teenaged Celie narrates her life as she is raised in an abusive rural home in Georgia.

Sexual Content

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Collection of short stories written in the 14th century continues to draw controversy for its language, sexual content, and religious commentary.

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Follows the tale of a boy who moves to an all white high school from a Spokane Indian Reservation School.

Spotlight: Books

Library Author Spotlight Series: Books

You may go to the library building or website to look for books, but did you know the library has authors, too? Your very own UCF librarians have written, edited, and translated books!

Peruse the list below about books by our very own Peggy Nuhn, Tina Buck, Sara Duff, Cynthia Kisby, Sai Deng, Larry Cooperman, Penny Beile, Jeremy Lucas, Barbara Tierney, and Rich Gause.


Blind Date with a Book

Downtown February Feature: Blind Date with a Book

Blind Date with a Book dating profile

The Downtown Campus Library is celebrating Valentine’s Day through its new display, Blind Date with a Book! There is no chance to judge a book by its cover here. Show your love of reading by picking out a book solely on its dating profile.

Our staff selected niche titles then giftwrapped and decorated each with a dating profile describing the book. Each one contains a short description for you to get to know the personality of the book, and a few emojis that book might send to woo you 😉

Take a chance on love! Come to the Downtown Campus Library, DPAC East Wing, Room 265 today to make a new connection with a book you might not have considered otherwise. Blind Date with a Book will be featured in the library through February.

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