What to Read this Month: June 2022

Looking for something new to read?  Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy!


The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America by Deepa Purushothaman. A deeply personal call to action for women of color to find power from within and to join together in community, advocating for a new corporate environment where we all belong—and are accepted—on our own terms. Women of color comprise one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, yet often we are underrepresented—among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. For too long, corporate structures, social zeitgeist, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to “fit in” and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.  Deepa Purushothaman  met with hundreds of other women of color across industries and cultural backgrounds, eager to hear about their unique and shared experiences. In doing so, she has come to understand our collective setbacks—and the path forward in achieving our goals. To learn more, watch this interview or read this article outlining five key insights.


Taste: My Life through Food by Stanley Tucci. From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia ; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last. You can read reviews here and here.


The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird by Jack E. Davis. The bald eagle is regal but fearless, a bird you’re not inclined to argue with. For centuries, Americans have celebrated it as “majestic” and “noble,” yet savaged the living bird behind their national symbol as a malicious predator of livestock and, falsely, a snatcher of babies. Taking us from before the nation’s founding through inconceivable resurgences of this enduring all-American species, Jack E. Davis contrasts the age when native peoples lived beside it peacefully with that when others, whether through hunting bounties or DDT pesticides, twice pushed Haliaeetus leucocephalus to the brink of extinction. This book is a cultural and natural history that demonstrates how this bird’s wondrous journey may provide inspiration today, as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale. You can learn more through this review and and this review.


The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections: A Novel by Eva Jurczyk. A stunning debut following a librarian whose quiet life is turned upside down when a priceless manuscript goes missing. Soon she has to ask: what holds more secrets in the library–the ancient books shelved in the stacks, or the people who preserve them? Liesl Weiss long ago learned to be content working behind the scenes in the distinguished rare books department of a large university, managing details and working behind the scenes to make the head of the department look good. But when her boss has a stroke and she’s left to run things, she discovers that the library’s most prized manuscript is missing. Liesl tries to sound the alarm and inform the police about the missing priceless book, but is told repeatedly to keep quiet, to keep the doors open and the donors happy. What Liesl discovers about the dusty manuscripts she has worked among for so long–and about the people who care for and revere them–shakes the very foundation on which she has built her life. If you want to visit a real-life rare books and special collections, make sure to check out our Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.


Joan is Okay: A Novel by Weike Wangoan. Joan is a thirtysomething ICU doctor at a busy New York City hospital. The daughter of Chinese parents who came to the United States to secure the American dream for their children, Joan is intensely devoted to her work, happily solitary, successful. She does look up sometimes and wonder where her true roots lie: at the hospital, where her white coat makes her feel needed, or with her family, who try to shape her life by their own cultural and social expectations. Once Joan and her brother, Fang, were established in their careers, her parents moved back to China, hoping to spend the rest of their lives in their homeland. But when Joan’s father suddenly dies and her mother returns to America to reconnect with her children, a series of events sends Joan spiraling out of her comfort zone just as her hospital, her city, and the world are forced to reckon with a health crisis more devastating than anyone could have imagined.  You can read an interview here and a review here.

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