For some reason, summer is the most popular season for laying back with a good book. Perhaps it's the longer days, or the opportunity for beach reading that brings out our inner bookworm.
Whether you're looking for a story to hug your soul, spark a passion, peak your curiosity, or to shut off reality for a second, there's no question that books feed our minds and souls. Our team wanted to share what we were reading in case you wanted to join us in our own adventures this summer.
What Joan's reading: The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI by Betty Medsger
The first Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali heavyweight championship fight frames the perfect distraction. From a group of unlikely anti-war activists came a heist and a scandal on J. Edgar Hoover. Joan is loving Medsger pulls together the stories of these once-anonymous burglars to create a comprehensive picture of the burglary and what these ordinary citizens found.
A Grace Paley Reader by Grace Paley
Don't have time to commit to a full length novel? Or do you just love short stories, intellectual essays, and poetry? A Grace Paley Reader is the perfect concoction of beautiful, refreshing language and the fire of activism. A passionate member of strong movements across antiwar, civil rights, and tenants' rights, as well as the Women's Pentagon Action, Grace Paley's work is infused with wit and impressive imagery that spans across her vast writing.
What Chrissy's reading: Beyond the Label by Maureen Chiquet
"Why should we separate art frombusiness, feelings from logic, intuition from judgment?" Chiquet poses. "Who decided you can’t be determined and flexible, introspective and attuned, mother and top executive? And where does it state standing unflinchingly in your vulnerability, embracing your femininity, won’t make you stronger?"
Do you ever feel confined to your labels? Chiquet, the former CEO of Chanel takes the reader through her life journey from L'Oreal to Gap to Chanel and talks about defining the modern professional woman and the art of pursuing a successful and fulfilling life. This book offers empathy, wisdom, and practical advice. If you're looking for some professional encouragement and inspiration, this is your (and Chrissy's) book!
The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster by Jonathan Katz
How did $16.3 billion in aid leave a nation worse that it was? Katz, a full time correspondent in Haiti for the Associated Press at the time of the earthquake, recounts the chaos he saw on that day and the days to come. The story is centered around the aftermath and the international response. If you want to know how good intentions can go so wrong, Chrissy highly recommends this book.
What Johanna's reading: Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Johanna recommends this story of an all American girl, Maisie Musgrave, who's lucky enough to be working at the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC. It's London in the 1920s when the radio is booming and Maisie is captivated by the journalism world. Entranced with speaking with the world's top leaders, politicians, and professionals, her stride is interrupted by the discovery of a shocking conspiracy.
What Catherine's reading: Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
An SNL superstar in Congress? Now that's a show to see. Senator Al Franken is an unusual comical case at the nation's Capital. In the #1 New York Times Bestseller, the comedian presents a memoir of his journey to the nation's capital in all of it's polarized and grand political culture. Tying together the best of his comedy and his politics, Al Franken gives a fresh and hilarious new look into the US Congress.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In the heat of the revolutions that would lead up to the creation of the USSR in 1922, a steadfast aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov is placed under house arrest. In his solitude, he's stripped away from his cavalier status and is thrown into a journey of self discovery and reimagining the meaning of life. The journey is lavish with an Old World charm that is sprinkled with Grand Hotels, secret rooms, and a grandeur-like drama not found in many modern day novels.
What Steph's reading: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A short, powerful read adapted from her 2012 TEDx talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie walks through her experience growing up in Nigeria and builds her vision of what it means to be a feminist today. She pleas for everyone's role in shaping culture, and for that to be inherently for women.
"Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture."
What Josh's reading: End of your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Josh's pick spans across doctor's visits and hospital waiting rooms, as Mary Anne Schwalbe battles cancer with her son, Will, waiting patiently with her and passing the time by sharing about the books they've been reading. Together, they create a story of coping with Mary Anne's illness by riding the excitement and adventure they've always found in books. Not only that, but the books they reference are also all *must reads*!
What Jenn's reading: Just Kids by Patti Smith
Jenn's loving this memoir about singer-songwriter, Patti Smith's journey as an artist living in NYC in the late 60's. Smith encounters her friend and lover, Robert Mapplethorpe, during the summer of love and riots, and together take on their creative endeavors.
"Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame."
What I talk About when I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Do you like running? No? That's okay because this book isn't just for runners. Bestselling author, Haruki Murakami, writes about the crosses between his love for writing and running. It emphasizes how focus, endurance, and daily routine shapes the creative process. A great short read to inspire you to get outside or get those creative juices flowing, like Jenn's training for a half marathon!
What Aimee's reading: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
Aliens in history? The first asian novel to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, the science fiction book is a narrative of aliens, invasions, and civil war against the backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Not only will it make you truly think about what could happen if the human race were ever to come into contact with the extraterrestrial, but Cixin will take your imagination beyond the solar systems.
What Carly's reading: NW by Zadie Smith
Follow Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan through their experiences coming from the impoverished area in the projects of Northwest London. As they find their way through a complicated city - an appropriate metaphor for life - they find that no turn is predictable and that grass will always be greener on the other side. In beautiful, fragmented prose, NW will take you through themes of race, class, gender, and the memories of a metropolitan jungle.
What Jenny's reading: The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
Looking for another intense dystopian trilogy? If you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, you'll probably like this even better. Once known as western United States, The Republic is now it's separate entity. You'll meet June, the Republic's youngest prodigy; Day, the most coveted criminal, and become well-versed with the government, who will go to all lengths to hunt them down.
Curl up on your porch or spread out on the beach, these books will surely get your mind running this summer!