Calling all bookworms — a (leisure) reading list for National Book Month

books stacked on a yellow background
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

October is National Book Month.

With a full schedule of activities on the docket for students, summertime leisure has dissolved into thin air — replaced with the mad rush of a school year and its familiar sequence of lectures, homework and exams.

But even amid the hustle and bustle of the fall semester, there’s always time to relax and recharge with a good book.  

For the more literary-minded Huskies, for whom the fall semester and seasonal change is an opportunity to curl up in a nook, there are plenty of titles to sift through. Northeastern Global News reached out to our campus librarians and others in the know to put together a book list for inquiring readers. 

All blurbs are taken from book covers, with credit to the publishers. 


Babel: An Arcane History by R. F. Kuang

“From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes ‘Babel,’ a historical fantasy epic that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British Empire.”

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Melinda Lo

“A story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.”

Murder Your Employer by Rupert Holmes

“A devilish thriller with a killer concept: The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to ‘delete’ their most deserving victim.”

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

“The creeping horror of Paul Tremblay meets Tommy Orange’s ‘There There’ in a dark novel of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.”

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

“Her search begins with an ending.…

The master of the Providence plantation in Barbados gathers his slaves and announces the king has decreed an end to slavery. As of the following day, the Emancipation Act of 1834 will come into effect. The cries of joy fall silent when he announces that they are no longer his slaves; they are now his apprentices. No one can leave. They must work for him for another six years. Freedom is just another name for the life they have always lived. So Rachel runs…”

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

“‘Siren Queen’ offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.”


Brace for Impact by Gabe Montesanti

“A powerful and redemptive story of how the dazzling world of roller derby helped one young woman transform her fear and self-doubt into gutsy, big-hearted, adventurous living.”

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach

“What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. The answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.”

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

“A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor — including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother — and how she retook control of her life.”

Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library by Amanda Oliver

“Who are libraries for, how have they evolved, and why do they fill so many roles in our society today?

Based on firsthand experiences from six years of professional work as a librarian in high-poverty neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., as well as interviews and research, ‘Overdue’ begins with Oliver’s first day at an ‘unusual’ branch: Northwest One…”

Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop by Danyel Smith

“American pop music is arguably this country’s greatest cultural contribution to the world, and its singular voice and virtuosity were created by a shining thread of Black women geniuses stretching back to the country’s founding. This is their surprising, heartbreaking, soaring story — written by one of the preeminent cultural critics of her generation.

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

“An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South — and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America.”

Tanner Stening is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @tstening90.