Summer Reading Recommendations, Part 5: Spencer Roberts

For the 2021 Pitts Summer Reading Blog, Pitts took to the hallways of the Candler School of Theology building in search of “the best resource you discovered during quarantine.” This week, the fifth in our series, we spoke to Spencer Roberts, Systems and Digital Scholarship Librarian. Spencer maintains all the software systems that run the library, and he coordinated digital scholarship projects for the library and for students and faculty at Candler and Emory. 

Spencer’s first suggestion is a memoir of a childhood that reminded him of his own, Tara Westover’s 2018 Educated: A Memoir. Spencer writes, “Tara Westover’s memoir about her childhood and teen years in a survivalist homeschooling family in Idaho had me revisiting my own past as a member of a small Christian denomination and homeschooler. The book received high praise and hit many bestsellers lists when released but I only encountered it last year. Reading about the physical and emotional challenges that Westover faced can be difficult, but her story is filled with honest reflections on the relationships that shaped her early life.” This book is available in print at Emory’s Woodruff and Oxford Libraries and is available as an ebook online to all Emory patrons, as well as an audio book for all Emory patrons.

Next, Spencer mentions his pandemic re-reading of a technology novel that relates to his work at Pitts, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. He writes, “This quirky mystery weaves together techno-wizardry and bookselling in a twisting tale that will appeal to readers and nerds of every kind. Published in 2012, it made the rounds in the digital humanities community, which loved the focus on old and new technologies working together. Rereading it this past year, I was again surprised by how much I enjoyed this intriguing story about a 24-hour bookstore and the mysteries it contains.” You can find this book in print at Emory’s Woodruff Library, and it is available online for all Emory patrons.

We hope you enjoy Spencer’s recommendations. Check in next week for more of our favorite resources! Looking for more recommendations? All summer reading blog posts are archived at