Skip Navigation

Worth a Thousand Words: UW Summer Reads

Choose your next summer read from our list of new books by Badger authors.

Whether you’re looking for a new book for yourself or for the Badgers-to-be in your life, these selections have something for everyone. From the story of a group of friends in Iowa City navigating a volatile year to a biographical series encouraging young girls to discover the possibilities of STEM.

If you get through this list and still need more to read, we’ve got you covered. Don’t forget, as an alum you still have access to UW Libraries’ services. (And if you’re a WAA member, there are even more perks.) You can also check out our Bookshelf to keep up to date with new publications by alumni and discover more books by UW–Madison authors.

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House.

From the publisher:

In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a loose circle of lovers and friends encounter, confront, and provoke one another in a volatile year of self-discovery. Among them are Seamus, a frustrated young poet; Ivan, a dancer turned aspiring banker who dabbles in amateur pornography; Fatima, whose independence and work ethic complicate her relationships with friends and a trusted mentor; and Noah, who “didn’t seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection.” These four are buffeted by a cast of artists, landlords, meatpacking workers, and mathematicians who populate the cafés, classrooms, and food-service kitchens of the city, sometimes to violent and electrifying consequence. Finally, as each prepares for an uncertain future, the group heads to a cabin to bid good-bye to their former lives — a moment of reckoning that leaves each of them irrevocably altered.

Photo courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir by Beth (Bich Minh) Nguyen, Dorothy Draheim Professor of English

From the publisher:

At the end of the Vietnam War, when Beth Nguyen was eight months old, she and her father, sister, grandmother, and uncles fled Saigon for America. Beth’s mother stayed — or was left — behind, and they did not meet again until Beth was 19. Over the course of her adult life, she and her mother have spent less than 24 hours together.

Photo courtesy of Adjective Animal Publishing.

From the author:

Inspire curiosity and confidence in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with this award-winning kids’ book series that disrupts the status quo and invites everyone into the unbelievably fun world of STEM. When girls can see it, they can be it! The Look Up series smashes gender barriers, celebrates diversity, and launches the next generation of leaders with some serious girl power by introducing kids to real, modern career women.

Photo courtesy of Black Spring Press Group.

From the publisher:

Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, this novel teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues — racial injustice, a war abroad, women’s and gay rights, class struggle — that galvanized the world in those decades.

Photo courtesy of Priti Srivastava.

From the author:

Villagers speak of a place — tales of terror told to children who won’t behave, a forgotten realm hidden from sight and full of danger — where cultists hold the only answer to progress and freedom. In search of enlightenment, Drishti has ventured out of the safety of her village seeking the knowledge that would ease her sisters’ suffering. Drishti has only the slightest idea of the horrors that await her on this journey, but she’s ready to face the biggest terror of all: those who have risked the path to pursue this cult and the knowledge they hold have never made it out of this hidden realm alive. In the world of The Chai House series, Srivastava invites readers to journey through the dread of the unknown on the quest to gain the endless treasures of freedom.

Related News and Stories