I was looking for a novel to read while on vacation, so picked up The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. This book kept me engaged and was a quick read. It wasn't overly juicy but I liked the story and it kept me reading until the end to see what happened.
I recently picked up The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and enjoyed this novel. It's a multi-generational family saga that looks at racial identity, family and privilege. The book kept me engaged until the very end to find out what happened, it was thought provoking and felt timeless.
I enjoyed An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I wanted to read another novel this summer and have also been wanting to keep reading Black Lives Matter recommendations or books by black authors. This one was hard to put down, it was well written. There were certain parts of the book I wanted to be different but all in all I was connected to the story and the characters and thought this was an illuminating portrayal not just of relationships but of the effects of wrongful conviction and racism in America.
The Giver of Stars is the second book I've read by Jojo Moyes, having also read Me Before You. This book took place in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky during the Depression. It was about a team of women who ran the Packhorse Library, an initiative spearheaded by Elenor Roosevelt to expand literacy to poor, rural areas of the country.
I loved the historical backdrop of the book and the characters Moyes created. Her books read like a movie, it's no wonder this is already being made into a motion picture (as was Me Before You).
I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen in the book and even during the slower parts, Moyes doesn't disappoint with her descriptive writing and excellent character development. As this was a novel set in a factual time in history, Moyes gives keen insights and beautiful descriptions around equality for women and blacks, the struggles of the poor, the issues surrounding coal mining in the 30's as well as morality, religion and the pressures of a patriarchal society.
It's been a while since I've read a current novel. I picked up Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould (which came out last month) after reading about it in an article in The New Yorker.
It's unlike me to try a new book that I haven't heard much about yet but I was in the mood for a breezy novel and this looked like it fit the bill.
I enjoyed Gould's writing as well as the storyline. I quickly got wrapped up in the story and its characters and devoured this book in a few days. The writing was fast paced and to the point but had a nice flair to it and didn't shy away from the deep and profound. The characters and the story really stuck with me, like watching a good TV mini series. I wish I could read more of this and stay with the characters a bit longer.
I read Ask The Dust by John Fante because it's Ryan Holiday's favorite novel. The book was published in 1939 and is about Arturo Bandini, a young writer in the 1930's trying to survive in Los Angeles.
I still haven't decided if I loved this book or not. Although I don't finish books that I don't want to read, so that's saying something. Fante's writing caught me immediately, it was different than what I'm used to reading and sort of had me captivated as I quickly read each paragraph to find out what happened next.
Bandini is completely self obsessed, almost ironically crazy. His insights into the other characters in the book are often humorous. I read the book wondering what Fante might have been saying about mental illness. He was able to write about a delusional, neurotic man rather beautifully. I read somewhere that the Bandini character is John Fante's alter-ego.
I've been trying to read older novels - novels that have stood the test of time or are liked by the good writers of today. This one is still relevant today and also an interesting peek into LA in the 30's.
I read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe in my World Literature class in college and decided to read it again. I remembered enjoying it but couldn't remember most of the story.
It was fun re-reading this almost 15 years after I was first introduced to the book by a professor who focused our class on Colonialism.
The book is about pre-colonial Nigeria and its eventual clash with British missionaries. Even though it's written in third person, the book gives a non-Western (and refreshing) view into the life and culture of the tribes of Africa as it follows the life of fictional main character Okonkwo.
White it's a work of fiction it is also a historical and engaging critique of European Imperialism. Achebe gives a clear view into the impact of Colonization from the perspective of the Colonized.
What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg was another recommendation by Ryan Holiday. I read this in a week, it was an engaging and well written story, a classic Hollywood novel from 1941 that I haven't come across until now.
The story is sort of a cautionary tale of the true cost of egoism and narcissism, as well as a glimpse into how "old" 1930's Hollywood worked. The story proves it has stood the test of time, as Sammy characters are still seen in our world today.
Though it's a novel, Schulberg was a talented screen writer in his day and his father ran one of the then top production studios in Hollywood. Hollywood is certainly Schulberg's element and it shows in this portrayal of the business of movies.
Apparently Schulberg got flack when the book was published for giving Hollywood a bad look and was accused of antisemitism (because Sammy is Jewish). These arguments don't seem as relevant today, (and in the updated publication of this book Schulberg counters the anti-Semitic argument) and this story I think stands the test of time and would be a great read for a young professional, recent grad or anyone in the business world.
If anyone today hails the character Sammy as a hero, they are missing the point. While it may appear Sammy has achieved everything he set out for, in the end it comes at a great cost.
This book was recommended reading suggested by the company I work with, Cheshire Impact. I read it in just a few sittings. It's a quick read and I really enjoyed it.
Fish: A Proven Way To Boost Morale And Improve Results is a fictional tale about transforming your work into something you enjoy. Through an easy to read parable, you learn how to bring energy and fulfillment back to your work.
Here's the thing - many of us cannot simply change our jobs or our line of work to something we truly love. Other commitments, home life and current financial obligations sometimes mean you're stuck where you are, making the money you need to make. Other times a true calling hasn't yet made itself available.
People spend about 75% of their adult waking time doing work related activities. The book argues, if this is the case, we ought to enjoy and be energized by it. And instead of looking for a new job, it's possible to change your attitude and enjoy the work you are already doing.
If your department and/or office does the same, we can begin to get rid of that "thank God it's Friday" attitude about work. We can choose to have fun and make people's day. We can make small changes and be fulfilled by what we do every day. This creates stronger businesses, happier customers, happier people all around.
Although a bit idealistic and "hokey" this book is now on my "favorites" list of Business books, as it's an inspirational, quick read, and I love that it can also apply to your life outside the workplace.
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