Texas Tech University

What Our Faculty Are Reading This Summer

Lucy Greenberg

June 20, 2023

Summer Reading

Texas Tech faculty share their favorite summer reads.

Summer is a good time to finally read those books you've been adding to your list. And while some readers have a curated list ready to go, for some, it can be overwhelming. There are so many books to choose from and one can cringe thinking about wasting time or money on a dud. 

It got us thinking, who better to put together a trust-worthy reading list than the bright minds of the Texas Tech University faculty? Many of these folks read or write for a living, as well as teach, research and innovate. 

They know what's trending and what's worth spending time on. 

So, if you're wondering what to read this summer, check out this list our faculty put together. It's got a little bit of something for everyone. Also, we've linked each book so you can find it on Amazon, but don't forget you can access many titles through Texas Tech's University Libraries.


Cleopatra and Frankenstein

Publication: “Cleopatra and Frankenstein” by Coco Mellors

Professor: Leslie Cuevas, College of Human Sciences

Review: This novel is about an impulsive marriage and how the decisions made impact those around them. The writing is raw and complex, describing characters' experiences through different phases and discusses topics of identity, mental health and relationships. 


Deep Color: the shades that shape our souls

Publication: “Deep Color: the shades that shape our souls” by Keith Recker

Professor: Kelli Cargile-Cook, College of Media & Communication

Review: What I find the most enjoyable about this book is its exploration of the cultural meanings of color and its effects on us. The first chapter on black ranges from the “darkness on the face of the deep” in Genesis to Coco Chanel's little black dress. Each chapter examines a different color and Recker's prose will appeal to readers of all ages.


Fairy Tale

Publication: “Fairy Tale” by Stephen King 

Professor: Jo Grant Langston, College of Media & Communication

Review: I am such a fan of King and have most of his books on my shelves. I love the time spent in his fantasy worlds, balancing out the stress of the semester!


Silent Patient

Publication: “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides 

Professor: Lucy Greenberg, College of Media & Communication

Review: I could not put this book down. Michaelides blends his mastery of narrative writing with a knowledge of psychotherapy that makes for the perfect psychological thriller. I finished the book in one weekend. 


Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

Publication: “Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin 

Professor: Sarai Brinker, J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA)

Review: The book is about video games but also about friendship and the creative process. I give it five stars!


Fellowship Point

Publication: “Fellowship Point” by Alice Elliott Dark

Professor: Mark Charney, VPA

Review: One of the best books I have read about friendship, aging and how we remember each other. 



Art & Survival

Publication: “Art and Survival: Patricia Johanson's Environmental Projects” by Caffyn Kelley

Professor: Travis Neel, VPA

Review: A wonderfully researched book on the art and ideas of artist Patricia Johanson, who is a pioneer of “eco-art.”


Neapolitan Quartet

Publication: The “Neapolitan Quartet” series by Elena Ferrante 

Professor: Sarah McKoin, VPA

Review: This is an epic quartet of books chronicling the lives of two childhood friends from youth into their 60s. The character development, psychology and detail grabbed me and made me want to keep reading. Set in Naples, Italy, it is one heck of a wild ride, and the series has now been adapted on HBO. But make sure to read before watching!


Demon Copperhead

Publication: “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver 

Professor: Kate Peaslee, VPA

Review: An intense read at times, great character development and it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2023.



Well of Souls

Publication: “Well of Souls: Uncovering the Banjo's Hidden History” by Kristina Gaddy

Professor: Christopher J. Smith, VPA

Review: Gaddy is a friend and a fine vernacular musician. This is a compelling story of the banjo's cultural and spiritual implications across the worlds of the African Diaspora and Black Atlantic. 


Far and Away: a prize every time

Publication:“Far and Away: a prize every time” by Neil Peart

Professor: Andrea Bilkey, VPA

Review: For those who are fans of the Canadian rock band “Rush,” they'll recognize Neil Peart as the late drummer and lyricist. Peart's preferred method of traveling to each performance venue is by motorcycle. This account of his adventures on the road is written in a journaling style, detailing his life as a professional artist.  


Optical Poetry

Publication: “Optical Poetry: The life and work of Oskar Fischinger” by William Moritz

Professor: Francisco Ortega, VPA

Review: A wonderful biography about artist Oskar Fischinger. I recommend it because Fischinger is a person who dedicated his life to abstract art and music and merged them together in film as short animations. Today, these compositions might be done in a couple days, but Fischinger achieved his work by hand, painting the frames one at a time. A reminder of the importance of human resilience in an age of AI. 


The Passenger and Stella Maris

Publication: “The Passenger” and “Stella Maris” by Cormac McCarthy

Professor: Chris Taylor, Huckabee College of Architecture 

Review: I am a longtime admirer of McCarthy's work. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author writes a thrilling story of a brother and sister, haunted by loss, pursued by conspiracy and longing for a death they cannot reconcile with God. 




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