Books @ Work Logo Books @ Work Logo

Read, Share, Learn & Connect

Books@Work brings professor-led literature seminars to workplaces and community settings to build confidence, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. As a non-profit organization, we strive to develop a broad network of life-long learners and advanced readers whose passion spreads through companies, families, and communities.

What are we reading? Check out our bookshelf.

The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien

A narrative of American soldiers in Vietnam: “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.”

Othello - William Shakespeare

A tragedy of jealousy, manipulation, and revenge. Alongside Hamlet, the villain Iago may be one of Shakespeare’s most remarkable characters.

Read related content

Bartleby the Scrivener - Herman Melville

Subtitled “A Tale of Wall Street,” this story focuses on the relationship between a lawyer and his employees, most notably the enigmatic copyist Bartleby who, when given a task, replies that he would “prefer not to.”

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - Frederick Douglass

Published in 1845, Douglass’s memoir is a foundational account of American slavery, recounting his journey from childhood on a plantation to his role as a spokesperson for the abolitionist movement.

Germinal - Émile Zola

Facing extreme poverty, miners protest worsening working conditions in a French mine and confront societal norms.

The Giver - Lois Lowry

In a dystopian society where emotions have been erased, the child who retains deep feelings struggles to find his place.

Stoner - John Williams

A powerful novel that follows the quiet tragedies and dreams of William Stoner, a fictional English professor at the University of Missouri.

Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen

One of the most famous novels in the English language, Austen’s masterpiece explores the role of “first impressions” in society and romantic relationships.

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Forget everything you know about green monsters covered in scars. Shelley’s gothic novel, which she began writing when still a teenager, is a tale of loneliness, hubris, and the pursuit of knowledge.

The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever

Sixty one stories from a master short story writer that explore people beneath the surface: the dichotomy between outer appearances and inner thoughts.

Read related content

In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

One of the most influential works of literary non-fiction, Capote tells the story of a murdered family in a small Kansas town.

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Written in 1931 and originally intended as a satirical novel, Brave New World depicts contemporary 20th century issues through a futuristic utopian lens.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

A sincere and deeply human autobiographical graphic novel about the author’s childhood during and after the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Five Dialogues (Euthyprho, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo) - Plato

Five powerful dialogues covering the most famous aspects of Socrates' life: his trial and subsequent execution.

Read related content

Dracula - Bram Stoker

Written in 1897, Dracula is the gothic novel, written in letters, that introduced the famous vampire and his efforts to move to England from Transylvania.

Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankl

The story of Frankl’s imprisonment in Auschwitz and his theories of what keeps people going in life challenging situations: meaning and desire to live for something larger than the self.

Saving Fish from Drowning - Amy Tan

Eleven misguided, and sometimes oblivious, American tourists travel to China and Burma. A study in relationships against the backdrop of political instability.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg

An inventive novel about two woman, one middle aged and one elderly, enriched by the stories they share of the latter’s youth in Whistle Stop, Alabama.

My Antonia - Willa Cather

A masterpiece of regional American literature, a novel of the prairie written in 1918 tells the story of the families of a fictional town in Nebraska.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories - Annie Proulx

Known best for the story Brokeback Mountain, Proulx’ stark and often brutal short stories explore the rough edges of hardship, missed opportunity, sadness and spirit.

Read related content

Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell

First published in 1938, Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell's account of his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

A post-apocalyptic tale of a father and son, traveling a landscape marked by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and the majority of life on Earth.

Brother, I'm Dying - Edwidge Danticat

A powerful memoir, written in 2007, by a young Haitian writer whose life (and love) is split between family members in Haiti and the US, and the tragedies that befall both.

Noah's Compass - Anne Tyler

A solitary 60 year old man comes to term with his life as he engages with his three grown daughters.

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

The story of Amir, a young Afghan boy, whose closest friend is Hassan, his father's young servant.

The Republic of Wine - Mo Yan

A novel by Nobel Laureate Mo Yan about the Chinese people and their relationship to food and drink.

A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There - Aldo Leopold

A 1949 non-fiction book by an American ecologist, writing about the land around his Wisconsin home.

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin

Winner of the
Hugo and Nebula prizes for science fiction, LeGuin's
powerful novel tells the story of a human voyager to a planet where inhabitants can change their gender at will.

Lost Illusions - Honore de Balzac

The story of the handsome would-be poet Lucien Chardon, who learns that talent counts for less than money, intrigue and a lack of scruples. A classic of French literature.

The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

The first woman to
win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for this novel, Edith Wharton explores the values, biases, and institutions of people living in nineteenth century New York.

Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw

The classic play that inspired the much loved musical, My Fair Lady.

On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Perhaps the most famous book of the "beat generation," On the Road narrates a drive across the country in search of what Kerouac called "the inherent goodness in American man."

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

The 1969 autobiography of the early years of the poet and writer, Maya Angelou. Through rich metaphor, the book explores the lives of women in a male-dominated society.

The Periodic Table - Primo Levi

A memoir in the form of short stories by Holocaust survivor and chemist, Primo Levi, linking chemistry and humanity in broadly relevant ways.

A River Runs Through It - Norman McLean

A semi-autobiographical collection of short stories marrying nature, religion, humanity and fly fishing.

My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

A novel of family love and the issues that arise when a child is conceived to help save the life of her older sibling.

Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

A satirical novel, centered around the fire-bombing of Dresden, exploring the World War II experiences of a soldier named Billy Pilgrim. Broadly considered Vonnegut's best novel.

The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

A science fiction novel of Mars and martians, first serialized in 1897 and made famous by Orson Welles' radio broadcast in 1938. First presented as a news bulletin, Welles' production caused panic among the listeners who thought the report was real.

The Vintage Book of Latin American Short Stories - Carlos Fuentes, Julio Ortega, editors

An anthology of short stories by prominent Latin American writers, including stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Beyond the workplace, Books@Work builds a network of readers. Texts, ideas, and voices move from the seminar to work floors, homes, schools, public spaces, and the broader community. In this manner, Books@Work encourages creativity and critical thinking everywhere.

Community Get Involved Locally

Latest chapter from the notebook

The Nobel Prize’s Power to Lift Authors from (Relative) Obscurity

Regardless of the focus of their coverage of the Nobel Prize announcement, most American news outlets mentioned Patrick Modiano’s relative obscurity outside of France. Obscurity does not always — or generally — make great literature, and well loved and well known works often have considerable value. But literary prizes like the Nobel have the power to change what we read, rescuing titles that may have been previously inaccessible to us, and empowering us to consider new points of view.

Read more

What are people saying?

Participating in this program has been a real joy. It has deepened my love of literature and ideas. It doesn’t matter what color your collar is, books can speak to you.

-Ryan Honomichl, Professor

Read more