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What Are You Reading? Monday's Access Utah

Image of open book held by person reading

As we head into summer we want to know what you’re reading. What’s on your nightstand right now?  Is there a book that has had a big impact on you? What are you looking forward to reading? Perhaps you’d like to tell us a personal story connected to a favorite book. We’d love to hear about books in the adult, young adult & children’s categories. One suggestion or many are welcome. Post your list on the Utah Public Radio Facebook page, email us or use the comments section below.

We also want to know how you are reading: Good old fashioned book? ebook? iPad? Kindle? And how do you engage your children in reading? We’ll read your book ideas on Monday’s Access Utah and you can call us at 1-800-826-1495 Monday morning between 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. We’ll also get reading suggestions from Weller Book Works, The King’s English Bookshop, The Book Table, and Logan Library. UPR producer and avid reader Elaine Thatcher will join us for the hour.


McKenna Nelson and Kimberly Nelson with The Book Table in Logan:

Their List can be found here at the Whitney Awards.

Margaret Brennan Neville  from The King's English Bookshop in SLC:

Paperback fiction

  • The Yellow Birds, Kevin Power
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, Marie Semple
  • Juliete in August, Dianne Warren

Paperback non-fiction

  • Saving Italy, Robert Edsel
  • Buried in the Sky, Peter Zuckerman

Hardback fiction

  • TransAtlantic, Colum McCann
  • Benediction, Kent Haruf

Juvenile Fiction

  • The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey (12 and up)
  • Doll Bones, Holly Black (12 and up)
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's LIbrary, Chris Grabenstein (9 and up)
  • A Little Book of Sloth, Lucy Cooke (all ages)

Andy Nettell from Back of Beyond Books in Moab:

  • Slickrock Paradox--A Moab based mystery with a bookseller protagonist.  Books are always more meaningful when you know the country.  Author Stephen Legault captures the canyon country well!
  • Serpent's Tooth--Craig Johnson's latest Walt Longmire Mystery, complete with a 200-year old Orrin Porter Rockwell, a rare copy of the Book of Mormon and classic Longmire high plains drama.
  • And the Mountains Echoed--From the author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini takes us on another cultural feast in this multi-generational saga.  No one writes characters as well as Hosseini.
  • In the Shadow of the Sabertooth--Doug Peacock takes on global warming, the first Americans and the terrible beasts of the Pleistocene.
  • Emerald Mile--The epic story of the fastest ride in history through the Grand Canyon by boat.  Kevin Fedarko straps on the life jacket and writes a heck of a good, true tale.

Steven E. MacIntyre

  • Mark Moffett's "Adventures Among Ants — A Global Safari With A Cast of Trillions". The title tells you what you know. Moffett is a research associate at the Smithsonian and an extraordinary photographer.
  • Mario Livio's "Is God A Mathematician?" Livio is an astrophysicist at the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, and his book is an exploration of what scientists call "the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences." Is math a human invention or is it a universal phenomenon that we discovered? And why is it so uncannily effective predicting and describing the physical world around us? Livio engages in some engaging philosophical analysis and presents some interesting and accessible mathematics, and along the way traces the discoveries and breakthroughs made by people like Archimedes, Galileo, Descartes and Newton.

Janis Merrill Hughes

  • Frozen In Mitchell Zuckoff. An epic story of survival and a modern quest for lost heroes of World War II. Bounces back and forth between 1942 when the planes went down in Greenland and 2012 and the attempt to find the planes and bring them up from under the ice.

Jennifer Pemberton

  • Human Voices by Booker Prize-winner Penelope Fitzgerald. It takes place at the BBC's Broadcast House in the 1940s, and follows the chaos of a news center when war breaks out and the fight for delivering Truth to the hunkered down citizens of England. Think girls with Victory rolls in their hair running records up and down the halls and combat sounds captured on wax cylinders. The employees are bunking in the defunct concert halls and the windows are all blacked out.

Erin Brewer

  • Visit Sunny Chernobyl. Looks at some of the most polluted places on earth, but also does a nice job of balancing the negative with some upbeat insights. Well written and funny while addressing some very serious topics.

Mary Exum Griffin

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Great book on how intuitive and logical systems of the brain work.

Joseph N. Anderson from Logan Library:

  • Ender's World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender's Game edited by Orson Scott Card.If you read science fiction, you're familiar with Ender's Game and probably also its place in the sci-fi canon. Ender's World is a nonfiction collection of writings on the perennial sci-fi favorite that address diverse subjects such as the evolution of the child hero in literature, what the military could learn from Ender about leadership, Ender's Game as a guide to life, and more.
  • Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis edited by Daniel Webster & John Vernick. More than 31,000 Americans are killed using guns each year, making this an "urgent public health issue." This collection of ideas for solving the difficult problem of gun violence was compiled by Johns Hopkins University and includes the recommendations of more than 20 experts.
  • Get Started Growing Vegetables by Simon Akeroyd. This book is one of a new set from DK, a publisher known for its fantastically informative and illustrated nonfiction books for all ages. Growing Vegetables is joined in the series by titles on baking, preserving, wine appreciation, Pilates, yoga, and knitting.
  • WHAT I'M READING: Eyewitness to History edited by John Carey. Dr. Norm Jones, former USU history department head, instilled in me an interest in reading history through primary documents and first-person accounts. This book is a treasury of such writing, covering events from the death of Socrates in 399 BC and the battle of Agincourt in 1415 to an American slave sale in 1846 and the first moon landing in 1969.

Jason from Logan Libray:

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Best selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns comes out with his next book. More expansive than his earlier books, this book follows a family for three generations including their lives, choices, and loves. With locations ranging from Kabul to Paris and San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos, this book is sure to be a hit like Hosseini's previous works. (Released in May)
  • TransAtlantic by Colum McCann. Winner of the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann is known for deftly lacing his fiction with historical events. In this book we are placed in 1919 Newfoundland, Canada when aviators Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown are preparing for a harrowing nonstop flight to Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean. (Released in June)
  • WHAT I'M READING: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Clint Morton

  • "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. It is about a young girl who is living with her foster parents in germany during WW2. It is narrated by death and is a great book, but warning you will cry.

Marianne Sidwell

  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman-a delightful and funny fantasy novel
  • So Brave Young and Handsome by Leif Enger-an adventure story, compelling and heartbreaking
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett-a suspenseful page-turner, wonderfully written
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls-I read this book as if it was a novel, couldn’t put it down, then discovered at the end it was autobiographical.

Patrick in Farr West

  • I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed America by Brian Lanker

Barbara From Hyrum

  • House of Rain; Craig Childs
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird; Harper Lee

Catherine Weller from Weller Book Works in SLC:

  • Barry, Max. Lexicon: A Novel
  • Corbett, Julia. Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West
  • Davis,  Wade. River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado
  • Gaiman, Neil. Ocean at the End of the Lane.
  • Holt, Jim. Why Does the World Exist?
  • Reiss, Tom. Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
  • Schwalbe, Will. End of Your Life Book Club.


  • Compton, Todd M. A Frontier Life: Jacob Hamblin, Explorer and Missionary
  • Doig, Ivan. Sweet Thunder
  • Klosterman, Chuck. I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling With Villains (Real and Imagined)
  • Pessl, Marisha. Night Film

April Ashland

  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant: The story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob in the old testament. This book tells the story of what it might have been like in biblical times in the bible for women.
  • One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, by Jim Fergus: The fictional story of a white woman who took part in the secret “Brides for Indians” program in the days of Ulsyss S. Grant
  • Lioness Quartet: Tamora Pierce: This is a quartet for late middle school to high school aged adults (and adults, I still read them!!) about a young woman who defies custom and trains secretly to be a night, hiding the fact she’s a woman. It’s a quartet about friendship, testing the limits, and adventure. As a side note, everything Tamora Pierce writes is good. She’s one of my all-time favorite authors.
  • The Jungle: Upton Sinclare: This book is about the meat packing factories in early 1900s. It will change the way you look at the factories, meat, immigration, and socialism. A classic. And a great read.
  • FOR TEENAGERS: The Witch of Blackbird pond, Elizabeth George Speare: A story about a young woman from Barbados to live in a puritan community in 1687. This story is about the adjustment, and her quirks in a small, suspicious town.

Elaine Thatcher

  • My life in france by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme. 
  • The best in the Garden: The Ture story of a predator's deadly return to suburban America, by David Baron. 
  • Sing it Pretty: a Memoir by Bess Lomax Hawes
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child, by Elva Trevino Hart
  • The Road to Coorain by Jill Ker Conway
  • This House in the Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind, by Ivan Doig
  • ​Sweet Promised Land by Robert Lakalt

Classic Literature

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 
  • Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy 
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens 

Fantasy/ Historical Fiction

  • The Skystone by Jack Whyte
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


  • Shatter by Michael Robotham

Science Fiction 

  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  •  A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

International Fiction 

  • Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee
  • My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
  • Midnight's Childeren by Salman Rushdie

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.