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What Are You Reading? Wednesday's Access Utah


Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, when you may have some extra time for books, we’re compiling our latest UPR booklist. I’ve recently jumped headlong into the history of the Civil War. I’ll tell you which books I recommend on that subject. Elaine Thatcher, our usual co-host for these episodes, always has several fascinating books on her nightstand. She’ll share her list with us. We’ll also get recommendations of interesting new books from booksellers in Moab and Ogden. Andy Nettle from Back of Beyond Books in Moab and Kent and Julie Ann Winward from Booked on 25th in Ogden, will join.

Tom’s List

“The Impending Crisis” by Edward Potter

“Grant” by Ron Chernow

“Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson

“Race and Reunion” by David Blight

“Stamped From The Beginning” by Ibram Kendi

“The March of Folly” by Barbara Tuchman

“The Inimitable Jeeves” by P.G. Wodehouse


Elaine Thatcher

“The Woman in White” by Wilie Collins

“Stories of Your Life and Others” by Ted Chiang

“Out of Africa/Shadows on the Grass” by Isak Dinesen

“A Man Called Intrepid” by William Stevenson

“She Shall Be an Ensign” by Ardis Parshall


Andy Nettle

Stony Mesa Sagas by Chip Ward  Publisher: Torrey house Press

Elk Mountain Mission by Tom McCourt and Wade Allinson  Publisher: Southpaw Publications

Last to See Me by M. Dressler  Publisher: Skyhorse

All of Katie Lee's Books

Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle

Glen Canyon Betrayed

Sandstone Seduction

Ghosts of Dandy Crossing

Ballad of Gutless Ditch

Birding Without Borders by Noah Stryker  Publisher: Harcourt Mifflin Houghton

Letters Like the Day--On Reading Georgia O'Keeffe  by Jennifer Sinor  Publisher: University of New Mexico Press

Art of Loading Brush--New Agrarian Writings by Wendell Berry  Publisher: Counterpoint

First Impressions--A Reader's Journey to Iconic Places of the American Southwest by David Weber and William DeBuys  Publisher: Yale

Kent and Julie Ann Winward

The Brothers K” David James Duncan
The Art of FieldingChad Harbach
Bright Lights, Big CityJay McInerny
Shalimar the ClownSalman Rushdie
BlindnessJose Saramago
My StruggleKarl Ove Knausgaard


The StrangerAlbert Camus
The Trial Franz Kafka
Crime and PunishmentFydor Dostoyevsky
Les MiserablesVictor Hugo
Big Sur Jack Kerouac


Anti-FragileNassim Nicholas Taleb
Debt: The First Five Hundred YearsDavid Graeber
American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America  Colin Woodard
Redeployment Phil Klay
America’s Bitter Pill Steven Brill
The New Jim CrowMichelle Alexander
We Were Eight Years In PowerTa-Nehsi Coates
Local-ish Authors:
No Apologies: Poems J.A. Carter-Winward
Altman's Tounge Brian Evenson
Daredevil Shawn Vestal
The Backslider Levi Peterson

Beginnings by Carol Lynn Pearson
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Complete Poetry Collection of Michael Madsen
Fire in the Earth* by David Whyte

Infinite Jest**, The Pale King by David Foster Wallace***
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
Then We Came to the End, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Act of Love, The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

The Kindness of Women by J.G. Ballard
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
The Children Act by Ian McEwan

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Pretty much every novel by Philip Roth (except the meta-fiction) but specifically: Nemesis, Sabbath's Theater, Portnoy's Complaint, and Plot Against America.

Robert Olen Butler deserves a special line as well: From Where You Dream, Hell, A Small Hotel, and Severance.

*contains a poem that has informed my whole life--"Self-Portrait." I want it on my...epitaph, tombstone, or urn. Or cryo-chamber. I mean right? You don't know.

**I read IJ all the way through, then, at the very end, went back to the very beginning and re-read. It was, and is, That. Freaking. Good.

***If you've never seen it, the speech Wallace gave called This is Water is literally...for lack of a better term, my scripture."


Since you are discussing magazines as well as books today, I want to lob in a recommendation:  Harper’sMagazine, which I continue to read avidly as I have been doing since the 1970s. Harper’s  has much in common with TheAtlantic (which you have already mentioned) but in my opinion with deeper reporting and better writing.   

Not sure why this would be so, since they are both monthlies — perhaps it is the legacy of Lewis Lapham, who was the editor of Harper’s for many decades.

When I was young, I subscribed to and avidly read, TheAtlantic, TheNewRepublic and Harper’s and would often pick up TheNewYorker on newsstands.  But of the four, over the years, Harper’s is the only one I still read regularly.

Susan Jelus in Newton, Utah

I have been enjoying All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.  The short chapter lengths make it ideal for bedtime reading.  It covers the time period of the nazi occupation of France, which may not make it such good bedtime reading for some.  It’s well-written, with some endearing characters.

For magazines, I enjoy Mother Earth News.  There is always something of interest in it for the gardener/do-it-yourselfer/homesteader.


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.