With summer on its way, here’s what RiverTown staff are reading in June.

Reporter Rebecca Mariscal

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves on a Georgia plantation, who make their escape on the Underground Railroad. In the book the railroad is envisioned as a literal description, with the two riding a physical train through tunnels north in hopes of finding freedom. Told mainly from Cora’s perspective, the book also gives glimpses into the lives of other characters we meet along the way. Whitehead’s writing is entrancing. The story often feels outside of time, though it is grounded in the practices of the era, with slavery and its horrors at its root.

Reporter Steve Gardiner

“Front Row at the Trump Show” by Jonathan Karl

Jonathan Karl has been the Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News since 2012 and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association since 2019. He has closely covered the work of four presidential administrations, and is currently covering Donald Trump, a man he has known well for more than 20 years. In “Front Row At The Trump Show,” Karl takes readers behind the scenes of many of Trump’s press conferences and political events. Karl often sat with Trump one-on-one, so his insights into Trump’s character and actions are especially powerful. It is interesting to see some of the major news events of the Trump presidency from the eyes of a reporter who watched them unfold on a daily basis.

Web editor Michael Brun

“The Sandman, volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes” by by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III

After a failed attempt a few years ago to start Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed comic book series, I have once again ventured into the dark tale of the Lord of Dreams. Though loosely based in the DC Comics universe — lesser character John Constantine makes an appearance — the story draws inspiration from a wide range of mythology and folklore. In the first volume, which collects issues 1-8, Dream looks to retrieve three stolen totems, a journey that takes him, literally, through hell. Gaiman’s trademark storytelling shines on every page, accompanied perfectly by moody, 80s-era comic book art.

Reporter Rachel Fergus

“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander’s bestseller is a deep dive into the history of incarceration in the United States. The author begins the text during the reconstruction era and moves to the 21st century while tracking the rise and fall of Jim Crow and the practices that continued even after the Jim Crow era ended. The overarching focus of the book is how Black men are disproportionately imprisoned compared to other people groups in the country and how the “war on drugs” and mandatory minimums have impacted the justice system for decades.