All work and no play makes Johns Hopkins a dull boy!

And as much as we love diving deep into our academic research, you may not be surprised that our librarians have an equal passion for all types of reading! So, in the spirit of summertime relaxation, your librarians have compiled a list of some fun reads that can help you to refresh and relax with a good book. Make sure you check back with the blog often to see more recommendations coming down the pike!


Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Our first selection was recommended by not one but TWO of our librarians, Heather Furnas (History) and Susan Payne ( Assessment & User Experience), Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow can be borrowed from the Eisenhower Library.

Sam and Sadie— two college friends, often in love, but never lovers— become creative partners in a dazzling and intricately imagined world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality. It is a love story, but not one you have read before.

Penguin RandomHouse

Exit West by Mohsin Hadid

Another book to receive the backing of two of our librarians, Sue Vazakas (Sciences and Engineering) and Don Juedes (Humanities), is Exit West by Mohsin Hadid. Exit West is available through the Enoch Pratt Library in various formats.

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through…

Penguin RandomHouse

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Rounding out our fiction recommendations for this edition is The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, recommended by Liz Mengel (Associate Dean for Collections and Academic Services). The Keeper of Lost Things is available through the Enoch Pratt Library in various formats.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious— a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made. As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Harper Collins


Good Pop, Bad Pop: An Inventory by Jarvis Cocker

Our first non-fiction recommendation comes from our own Heidi Herr (Humanities) and is written by certified rock star Jarvis Cocker. Good Pop, Bad Pop: An Inventory can be requested through the library’s BorrowDirect service.

We all have a random collection of the things that made us – photos, tickets, clothes, souvenirs, stuffed in a box, packed in a suitcase, crammed into a drawer. When Jarvis Cocker starts clearing out his loft, he finds a jumble of objects that catalogue his story and ask him some awkward questions:

Who do you think you are?

Are clothes important?

Why are there so many pairs of broken glasses up here?

From a gold star polycotton shirt to a pack of Wrigley’s Extra, from his teenage attempts to write songs to the Sexy Laughs Fantastic Dirty Joke Book, this is the hard evidence of Jarvis’s unique life, Pulp, 20th century pop culture, the good times and the mistakes he’d rather forget.

Penguin Books

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono

Staying with our rock and roll themes comes another recommendation from Liz Mengel, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story written by another one-named rock star you may have heard of, Bono. Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story can be found at the Enoch Pratt Library in various formats

As one of the music world’s most iconic artists and the co-founder of the organizations ONE and (RED), Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Writing with candor, self-reflection, and humor, Bono opens the aperture on his life— and the family, friends, and faith that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him.

Penguin RandomHouse

Hip: The History by John Leland

Straying only slightly from the rock and roll theme is Hip: The History, recommended by Joshua Everett (Social Sciences). You can use this one to learn to be cool but more importantly to learn why you want to be. Hip: The History is available through the Enoch Pratt Library in various formats.

What is “hip”? We can all recognize it when we see it, and yet very few manage to achieve true hipster status. But the meaning of hip goes far beyond an artsy movie or the right pair of sunglasses. Hip’s impact belongs to the mainstream, permeating our language, music, literature, fashion, and commerce. From the conservative to the most socially daring, large numbers of Americans hold a nearly identical vision of this inherently subjective standard. In his book debut, New York Times reporter John Leland tracks the evolution of hip, and how it helped America shape its view of itself. Hip: A History is ultimately the story of the development of American popular culture over the 20th century. While the racial, economic, and philosophical tensions that gave rise to “hip” a century ago have not gone away, they have evolved. And so has hip, as it continues to shape and be shaped by our national character.

Harper Academic

Remember to stay tuned for more recommendations and happy summer reading!