Ho, ho, holiday reading suggestions


By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Season’s greetings, everyone!

’tis the season to kick back under the glow of holiday lights and indulge in a little pleasure reading (You know, instead of all the under-pressure reading you do for your classes!).

Traveling for the holidays? No problem…download an audio book to your Smartphone or mobile device.

Ah…but what to read/listen to? We went straight to some of the biggest book lovers on campus — Lilley library staff members and Creative Writing faculty members.  Here are the tomes they suggested:

“I just finished reading, Flash, The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances by Rachel Anne Ridge. It contains awesome messages that would benefit all who read it.” — Patti Mrozowski, information resources and services support specialist

“I’ve been listening to Olive Kitteridge in the car and it is remarkably good. I had watched the miniseries but, of course, the book is always better because the author can explain what she is feeling and thinking, and the reasons she acts the way that she does.”   — Jane Ingold, associate librarian

“I just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and loved it! I enjoy books and movies about love, and I especially like ones that make me cry. So, when I saw a review on the back cover that said, “to be devoured like candy, between tears,” I knew I wanted to read it. Essentially, it’s about a woman who is hired to spend time with a depressed, quadriplegic man. The story makes you consider two sides of a very controversial topic that I won’t mention for risk of spoiling the book. I saw recently that it will be made into a movie starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games). I just started the sequel, After You.” — Stephanie Diaz, reference and instruction librarian

“This book isn’t brand new, but Col. Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is excellent. It contains lots of interesting, but understandable science and advice on how to turn use those lessons here on Earth.” —Russ Hall, associate librarian

“I really loved Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by  Mindy Kaling. It’s a very funny memoir in which she writes about her time writing and acting for The Office (a show I loved), romance, Hollywood, friendship, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck. She is very relatable, and she made me laugh out loud!” — Stephanie Diaz, reference and instruction librarian

“Two of our creative writing alumni have amazing new books out. Both Corey Zeller’s You and Other Pieces (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015) and Heather Slomski’s The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons (Iowa UP, 2015) are formally innovative—both writers experiment a bit in terms of how stories get told—but these books also do what readers have always wanted books to do. They expose and celebrate the mysteries of love and loss, pain and renewal.” — Dr. Tom Noyes, associate professor of English and Creative Writing

“I love anything by Philippa Gregory, an English historical novelist. This time of year, though, I like to read Christmas books. Last year I read a fun, off-the-wall book — Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop by Otto Penzler.  Richard Paul Evans, author of The Christmas Box, has written a few other  Christmas-themed books, too.” — Lisa Moyer, information resources and service supervisor – manager

Tips for Book Lovers

If, like me, you always forget which books friends have recommended, try one of these strategies:

1. Make a list on your Smartphone using a “note” application and you’ll always have your list with you when you’re browsing at the Lilley Library or out shopping.


2. Create a wish list at an online bookseller (I use Amazon) and add titles to your “to read” list when friends recommend them. It’s a convenient and easily-accessible way to keep track of books you want to read. (Tip: See if you can borrow the book through the Lilley Library before you purchase. I’m linking the books below to Amazon just so you can see the



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