Summer reading list, Week 2

illustration of person reading a book in a hammockDuring the rest of the year, students, faculty and staff lug around heavy books about literary theory, economics or U.S. history on their way to class or the local coffee shop.

But summer is different. Summer is the time for leisure reading.

Beginning last week, we’re asking UIC readers for their summer reading recommendations. Send your recommendations (and why you like them), plus what you’re doing this summer, to


Abhinaya Konduru, sophomore in finance (minor in mathematics)

This summer, Konduru joined a start-up company to help with finance and accounting. Even her summer reading focuses on finance, like Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

“If you ever trade on financial markets, you should know what happens to your order after you hit ‘enter’ on your brokerage account,” said Konduru. “I definitely learned a lot of interesting things about Wall Street and the big banks in the business.”

Between learning more about finance and exploring the city with friends, Konduru is reading J.K. Rowling’s new short stories on Pottermore, which provides a follow-up on Harry Potter and the gang. “All the characters are in their 30s,” said Konduru. “Having been able to read all the books in the past, this is a great addition.”

Konduru plans to read Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by environmental historian William Cronon, a portrayal of Chicago in 19th century America.


Melanie Snow, graduate student in learning sciences

Snow just finished reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, now a major motion picture. “I liked it for the witty writing,” she said. “The story, although sad, is a celebration of life.”

She’s been recommending Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel that focuses on love, loss and family in Appalachia. “The writing has a lot of great imagery woven into the three stories that make up the novel,” she said.

Aside from reading, Snow is exploring Chicago in her free time. “It’s easy to forget how great the city is when you live here,” she said.


Michael Siciliano, assistant professor of public administration

Summer has been a relaxing time for Siciliano, currently staying in a cabin near Deer Lodge, Montana. He and his two boys, ages 1 and 3, are connecting with nature through horseback riding, hiking and fly-fishing.

“One of the things I have learned about being a parent is that appreciating and mindfully enjoying all of the tasks that are required to raise a child is the key to truly enjoying the wondrous reality of being a father,” he said.

Siciliano is reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

“The book emphasizes one’s ability to avoid your mind wandering onto thoughts of the future,” he said. “This is a critical skill for any new assistant professor and parent!”

He is also a big reader of classic America writers like John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.




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