ULC Picks for Summer Reading

photo of Golda Meir Library

We asked members of the University Libraries Committee (ULC) to tell us about books they will be reading or have recently read that they would recommend to the UWM community as we head into summer break. Several faculty and staff generously shared their picks:

photo of cover of Invisible Man
photo of cover of Motion of Light in Water

In my seasonally promiscuous bookstacking aspirations, I tend to be a size queen. Like: I hope to re-read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952; initially read Summer 1984). Meeting Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015) this last semester, I now want to revisit the novel that was clearly a model for Nguyen’s book, itself a page-turner so juicy, so harrowing (and funny), so nimbly ruminative in its evocation of the historically bullied experience of one “underground man.” Also on deck: an overdue immersion in Samuel R. Delaney’s queer coming-of-artistic-age memoir / sexual psychogeography The Motion of Light in Water (2004).

photo of stack of books

Carl Bogner is a recently de-prefixed Lecturer in the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, where he has taught (and done other stuff) for over two decades. Please note: all library materials in his carrel at this time are​ checked out.

photo of cover of Shoulder Season
photo of cover of Phantom Lady

I am looking forward to reading a newer book by film scholar Christina LanePhantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind HitchcockHarrison was Alfred Hitchcock’s secretary and then became an influential film and TV producer. I’m interested in this book not only because Harrison is a fascinating figure but because I am exploring how different scholars of media and popular culture have approached studying individual creators in order to help me shape my own research project about radio and TV writers Frank and Doris Hursley, who were from Milwaukee. I am also looking forward to reading the novel Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy this summer. Clancy is an alum of the PhD in creative writing in my department, English, here at UWM. I recently read her first novel, The Second Home, which is partially set in Milwaukee, and really enjoyed it. Shoulder Season is also set in part in Wisconsin, and explores the changing ideas about sex and gender in 1970s and 1980s, which also relates to my research interests!

photo of Elana Levine

Elana Levine is professor and coordinator of Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies in the Department of English at UWM. She is the author of Her Stories: Daytime Soap Opera and US Television History (Duke 2020) and Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television (Duke, 2007); co-author, with Michael Z. Newman (also of UWM) of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status (Routledge, 2012); and editor of Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the early 21st Century (Illinois, 2015).

cover of All That She Carried
cover of Floating Coast

Two works of environmental history that I read during the pandemic reframed my perceptions. Both books continue to resurface repeatedly in unexpected moments. Bathsheba Demuth’s Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait fundamentally shifted my understanding of how the biology of Bering Strait animal life became energy, profit, and resources for humans. Demuth traces parallel transformations in the United States and Russia. Neither capitalism nor communism gets off easily. Tiya Miles’s All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake is a joyful celebration of the love of mothers and daughters across three generations of a family of Black American women. Despite the cruelty of permanent separation by slavery, an embroidered sack gives evidence of how they sustained their ties of love. Miles’s historical imagination is without peer.

photo of Amanda Seligman

Amanda Seligman has taught at UWM since 1999. Her urban history scholarship includes two monographs about Chicago history and the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee. In 2020-2021 she was a teaching fellow in the UWM Libraries’ Digital Humanities Lab and in 2021-2022, she chaired the University Libraries Committee.