What to Read During the Holiday Break

Primary tabs

The guests are gone, the dishes have been cleared, and you have some quiet time to yourself. So, where’s a good book when you need one?

We asked several avid readers for recommendations. The books range from a story of the reflections and adventures of a failed novelist to a how-to on bullet journaling.


By Andrew Sean Greer, Little, Brown and Company (2017)

“This national bestseller and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is the story of Arthur Less, a failed novelist about to turn 50, who responds to an ex-lover's wedding invitation by embarking on a trip around the world for a series of literary events. Regrets and reminiscences of past loves are interspersed with new adventures both endearingly awkward and deeply graceful. This was the perfect novel to read in my 49th summer. I recommend it for anyone who has ever been in love, or who wonders what a year of saying yes could be.”

—Marlee Givens, librarian for Modern Languages and Psychology

Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century

By Charles King, Doubleday Publishers (2019)

“An inspiring group biography told within the context of the social, cultural, and political events of the 20th century. Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ruth Benedict developed revolutionary methods and theories that challenged eugenics, the prevailing scientific theory at that time. The scientific community considered them a group of misfits but later they were recognized as the founders of cultural anthropology. Their courageous explorations of disparate cultures debunked absolutist ideas that there is a superior people. Interwoven in the chronicle of their professional lives, the author also shares personal tales of romance, friendships, and rivalries within the group of anthropologists.”

—Cathy Carpenter, head of Campus Engagement and Scholarly Outreach, Georgia Tech Library

Against the Grain: A Coach’s Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love

By Bill Courtney, Weinstein Books (2014)

“The author is the high school football coach featured in the Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated as well as Esquire magazine’s 2012 Coach of the Year. Bill Courtney coached the downtrodden Manassas High School football team in North Memphis to success after everyone else had given up on them. Not only were his coaching skills imperative to the team’s success, but they also made a deep impact on the individual lives of his players, including overcoming drug addiction, earning college acceptances at places such as West Point, and lifting up their communities. His core values of service, civility, leadership, character, commitment, and forgiveness are an example for all of us.”

—Jamison Keller, Assistant Dean of Students and director of Fraternity and Sorority Life


Engineering and Chemistry Librarian Isabel Altamirano recommended two books:

The Bullet Journal Method

By Ryder Carroll, Fourth Estate Publishers (2018)

“I was looking for a new method to keep track of my work and personal activities and decided to do it by the 21st-century learning method, YouTube. I found videos on bullet journaling, but they were too complicated — too many decorations and drawings.

Then I found the original source. Carroll's book shows that you just need a blank journal, a writing instrument, and a ruler. 

His method involves yearly, monthly, and daily planning with simple setups for repetitive tasks (like exercising or eating fruit), and a reflection section. By keeping up with the index, you can plan and execute different activities with just one journal.”

Journal Fodder 365: Daily Doses of Inspiration for the Art Addict 

By Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler, North Light Books (2012)

“Start 2020 by doing creative work that does not require extensive training. This paperback book shows how to be artistic with collage, simple stencils, watercolors, and markers.

Each activity has a writing prompt, recommended page layouts, and step-by-step instruction on how to achieve a cohesive look. And you don't need to start on New Year’s Day; the work can happen at any time.

It’s also perfect to have this book on hand if the electricity goes out during an ice storm. If children complain that they’re bored you can entertain them with the techniques found in this book.”

Some of these books are available by searching the Library’s online catalog. Visit You can also search other libraries, using Tech’s interlibrary loan system. Visit Or visit your local book store.

Happy reading!


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Victor Rogers
  • Created: 12/09/2019
  • Modified By: Kristen Bailey
  • Modified: 12/09/2019

Target Audience

No target audience selected.