Starship troopers is a military science fiction novel based in the distant future that follows a young man who quickly rises through the ranks of the Mobile Infantry. For a book that was originally written in 1959 it was way ahead of its time and I end up reading it again and again.
-- Ben Cofer, Fleet Mechanic & Facilities Inventory Coordinator
This book starts in 1937 Shanghai and follows two sisters as the navigate the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, their sale as brides to two men they've never met, and their emigration from the city they love to Los Angeles. It paints vivid pictures of Shanghai and Los Angeles, captures the iron strength of the bond between sisters, and offers a unique look at the mid-century immigrant experience. (The sequel, "Dreams of Joy," is also a super interesting fictional glimpse into Communist China!)
-- Emily Sydnor, Political Science
I know Melissa Byrnes recommended this last year but if there's a spot for "Seconded" I'd love to put this in there! Based on her suggestion I read this and absolutely adored it.
-- Carin Perilloux, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Books about health and wellness are easy to find, but it's often difficult to determine if they're legitimate or scams filled with questionable science hawking dubious products or ideas to line the author's pockets [glares at Dr. Oz]. Endure is definitely in the legit category. If you're interested in understanding human athletic performance, this book is fascinating. You won't necessarily find health tips to improve yourself, but you will understand more about yourself. The only critique I would mention is that it's definitely written for people who want to nerd out on the topic. The author dives deep into scientific research, but does write in a way that allows the average person to understand it.
-- Ed Merritt, Kinesiology
On April 29, 1986, during a run-of-the-mill morning, a fire broke out in the stacks of the Los Angeles Central Public Library. News of the seven-hour blaze, and the millions of dollars in damages, was virtually eclipsed: a nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl consumed headlines that same week. The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, follows the twisty, still-unsolved mystery of the L.A. library fire. A fascinating cast of characters and L.A. library history weave through the chapters, making it much more than a true crime exploration of the event. It leaves you with the feeling of having wandered through a library’s stacks. Stand back, Amazon, libraries still rule!
-- Dena Garcia, Smith Library Center
The first time I discovered Tex-Mex food was in Oakridge, Tennessee, year 1985. My father-in-law was from Amarillo, Texas so he grew up with Mexican-American food as a young boy.
Many a Saturday evening we would meet for Tex-Mex dinners, freshly prepared by my mother-in-law. Friends would ask her to share the recipe but she would become downright protective of the recipe during my early years of marriage to Steve, my husband.
"Rooted in tradicion mexicana and infused with Texas food culture, tacos are some of Texans all-time favourite foods. In The Tacos of Texas, the taco journalists Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece take us on a muy sabroso taco tour around the state as they discover the traditions, recipes, stories, and personalities behind puffy tacos in San Antonio, trompo tacos in Dallas, breakfast tacos in Austin, carnitas tacos in El Paso, fish tacos in Corpus Christi, barbacoa in the Rio Grande Valley, and much more. -- Enjoy!
This is the first in an "Honor Harrington" series, featuring a strong woman in a military command position, in a galactic space-faring future that is dominated by political strife and intrigue that mirrors today's world. Character development is extensive in all the novels in the series, and all the characters on both sides of the conflicts are written from a first person POV. It is not good versus evil so much as personal motivations, perspectives and human traits. Weber would make a fair psychologist. Highly recommended. The series is in the G-town library.
-- Lee Fellows, Coordinator of Science Facilities and Equipment
This is a stunning mathematical demonstration of near identical mathematical patterns of growth which remain the same regardless of scale. It is an astrophysicist/mathematical who worked with biologists at the Santa Fe Institute, and others, working mainly off of the distributive patterns of resource of mammals (the circulatory system) to show similar they are to those in architecture, business and nature. E.g.: almost all mammals have about the same number of hearbeats in their lifetime (1.5 billion, humans are the exception, 2.5 billion). It proposes this knowledge as a path to sustainable design of businesses (which do die) and cities (which normally don't).
-- Prof Thomas Noble Howe, Art & Art History
This is an epic, extremely well-written book that I read for my local book club. I loved trees before, but now I appreciate them even more and have a deeper understanding of them. Powers weaves together many lives over several decades, all with important relationships with trees.
-- Adrienne Inglis, Music
Captured my interest immediately! Dekker makes the reader look at their own preconceived notions and prejudices from a 'safe' distance. If you like Stephen King, give Ted Dekker a try! Unexpected twists and turns galore!!!
-- Peggy Freitas, Human Resources
This is the first book of the Farseer Trilogy and follows a bastard son (Fitz) of a prince as he is simultaneously cared for and ignored by the Farseer line who rules the land. It's an engrossing, massive fantasy tale. Hobb is a master of starting off slowly, really getting to know the characters in so much detail, and then bringing a multitude of storylines together in a massive crescendo that is suspenseful and beautifully wrought. If you enjoy it as much as I do, good news: there are more books and trilogies to continue the story!
-- Carin Perilloux, Assistant Professor of Psychology
This was the first book I picked up after completing my Master's degree in French Literature and I was instantly drawn in (not just because it's written in English!). The story follows two young people during World War II and shifts between the two characters every chapter, which are only a few pages a piece. You see how the war changes not only their surroundings, but also how they develop and grow as impressionable youth.
-- Meaghan Bellande, Study Abroad & International Student Services
James Yates wrote this account of the events leading up to his volunteering for the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Starting with his grandmother's liberation from slavery the author recounts his journey away from the racial terrorism of the Deep South to the labor movements in the northern United States during the Great Depression. His path to Spain and reasons for volunteering are simular to those of other African-American volunteers. His experience in Spain permanently changed his life and gave him a sense of solidarity with his fellow man that he was lacking beforehand. This is an honest account of his experience and one of the best books written by any of the American volunteers.
-- Randal Scamardo, Spanish Dpt.
Once you read this first book you will be hooked. Louise Penny writes thoughtful detective stories that take place in Three Pines, a fictional town in Canada. Chief Inspector Gamache and the other characters are multi-dimensional and quirky. Each book wrestles with a social problem and encourages the reader to think critically. I am not usually a fan of detective stories, but fell in love with these books and finished the series in no time.
-- Sarah Brackmann, Center for Integrative Learning
An amazing sci-fi novel (and beginning of the fantastic Expanse series) that delves into the social structures and inherent inequalities of a solar system-wide human population. This is a great beach or deck read.
-- Heath Roberie, Fiscal Affairs
Fantastically imagined Afropolitian world that extends beyond earth and with astoundingly interesting other beings; raises questions of identity, connection and belonging in really interesting ways. I loved it and as I write this want to go read it again.
-- Melissa Johnson
Traitor or defender of our constitution? A great read that takes you through the evolution of how he became compelled to expose the mass surveillance of US citizens by our own government. This book will make you reflect on your own beliefs toward privacy and how fundamental rights as Americans are being given away freely by us all in exchange for convenience.
-- Todd Watson, Information Technology
This novel was written over several decades as the last commander of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion reflected on his experiences in the opening battle of World War II, the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Mitch Castel's bravery and ruggedness in battle is contrasted with Leo Rogin's cowardice and sensitivity during the turmoil of the Spanish conflict until these opposing reactions to the violence of war can no longer coexist. This fictionalized account of Wolff's experience represents the authors effort to seek absolution for one of the many types of loss he was party to during the struggle against fascism in Spain.
-- Randal Scamardo, Spanish Department
Circe is a mesmerizing re-imagining of the mythological goddess, narrated from her perspective. Many familiar characters from Greek mythology make their appearance in her tale. Their encounters with her contain the germ of the original myths, but surprise and enlighten when viewed through this different lens. A highly entertaining read.
-- Carol Fonken, Smith Library Center
This famous vase has been at the center of the controversy over who owns antiquities since it was illicitly excavate from Cerveteri and bought by the Met in 1972 for $1million, but that's not really what the book is about. It's about the remarkable innovations of a group of Athenian Vase painters, lead by Euphronios, working around 520-500 B.C. during the foundation of the Athenian democracy who experimented with and discovered the ways in which the human anatomy actually works around inner structure and flexible flesh. They make have almost worked in one workshop, and explored not only how the body looks when it moves to different positions, but how the body positions reflect human thought and emotion. Poses like the dangling arm of a corpse ("braccio morte"), invented by painter Euphronios, survive right into the modern age.
-- Thomas Howe, Art and Art History
I loved this novella! An introverted, newly-free (thanks to hacking its governor module) snarky security robot who names itself Murderbot and loves to binge watch a show called Sanctuary Moon? Yes, please!
-- Theresa Zelasko, Smith Library Center
On UT Austin's summer reading list last year. [I was planning a trip to Israel and wanted to learn about the country.] Collins and Lapierre, investigative journalists, went to Tel-Aviv for a long weekend and stayed 3 years in the middle east interviewing participants about the time after WWII, in the spring of 1948; when on a designated date, the British Army left Palestine unprotected and the state of Israel was officially recognized by the United Nations.
It is the account of dramatic events in the two months prior and the battles in the months after to take and hold the state of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. It would be 20 years before it was accomplished. Viewpoints included from all parties involved Jews, the Arabs, British and Americans; whether Jewish, Christian, Moslem or Armenian.
Seeing the bullet holes in the gates of the Old City brought this history lesson back to me in stark relief.
-- Barbara Breitschopf, on-call campus operator
The author provides a personal and compelling perspective on career, meaning, and some of the most important cultural shifts impacting our lives today. She recounts her experiences as a young woman with a liberal arts education, transitioning to a career in the startup ecosystem of Silicon Valley. As great memoirs often do, this book uses the particular to challenge its reader to consider complex issues with far-ranging consequences.
-- Kim McArthur, Biology Department
This is New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Egan's ninth book. His previous subjects have ranged from a hitory of the Dust Bowl (it won the National Book Award) to the story of Teddy Roosevelt and the 1910 forest service fires to a griping biography of photographer Edward Curtis. And many places in between. Egan's "Pilgrimage" reflects his wide-ranging interests in a terrific blend of travelogue, history (both religious and political), memoir, and family story. By the end of his 1200 journey we have learned a lot and wish we could not only follow in Egan's footsteps but also break bread with him.
-- David Gaines, Department of English
This is a magical, romantic romp for the senses. Two special kids are given an unbelievable opportunity to learn magic, by two very different teachers. They are groomed through adolescence to one day compete against one another in magical displays, centered around a mysterious and luxurious circus that pops up all over the world unannounced and opens only at night.
One tip: pay close attention to the dates listed at the top of each chapter - it can get a little confusing but by the end of the book you'll see that (timing) was kind of the point :)
-- Carin Perilloux, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Excellent read on leadership written as a non-fiction story and not as a lecture or textbook. Excellent summaries at the end of each chapter with recommended application exercises.
-- Rick Martinez, Facilities Management
I picked up this book because it was recommended at a bookstore in London. This is not my usual read, but the story was fascinating and weird, otherworldly. The story has stuck with me long after reading it.
-- Katy Ross, Spanish
by Philip Best
Of all the author's I've read, I think that Philip Best of best aware of how to use language as a blunt weapon. CAPTAGON is a kind of psychedelic zoetrope describing war and its human consequences, conveyed with unparalleled emotional and concussive force---not only an explosive novel, but a novel explosion. I cannot recommend it highly enough. As well, Best resides in Austin and frequently gives readings which are powerful and enlightening in their own right.
-- Shane Harrison, Upward Bound
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician that decided to change his successful professional career and focus on philosophy and religion. He was Catholic, however, he contrasted the tradition of the church with some relativism ideas of a powerful priest elite of his time.
-- Pedro A. Diaz Gomez, Visiting Assistant Professor