It’s summertime, and the reading is easy. Who isn’t looking for a solid pick or two to take to the beach or on vacation? Well, the GovLoop team is here to help you. Here’s what several members of our staff are reading this summer, from new picks to some tried-and-true favorites. Let us know in the comments: what are your books of the summer?
Mark Hensch, Staff Writer:
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in The New China by Evan Osnos
Visiting China in 2003 was a transformative event in my life. I haven’t encountered a book before or since that captures what a dizzying, epic and magical place it is. Osnos delivers a portrait of China that is both timely and timeless, capturing its impossible contradictions with both microscopic and macroscopic detail. If you need an introduction to one of earth’s most fascinating countries, start here.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
This is the first book I devoured after four years wondering if I’d stopped loving reading. Gaiman’s wild, unrestrained joy retelling the myths collected here blazes off every word. I learned more about literature, writing and wordplay in this one book than hundreds before it. Remember that sense of wonder you had as a child finishing your first book? This is it.
Jana Choi, Design Fellow:
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
“A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.”
Kaitlin Moller, Marketing Fellow:
Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer
This is book is everything I’ve ever wanted! The author takes us through both fictional and nonfictional female friendships and explores the complexities and growing appreciation for relationships between women. Schaefer does this by including experiences of her own, and sharing how female relationships have evolved from the 90s girl cliques, to the now “text me when you get home” and overwhelmingly supportive girl squad. I’m reading this book because it ultimately celebrates female friendships, which I don’t think we do enough of (it’s also incredibly interesting).
The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coehlo
This book is basically like his famous work The Alchemist where it leaves readers thinking a lot about self-discovery and life paths. A young man named Petrus treks across Spain in order to find a sword that is meant to symbol his acceptance into a prestigious group called the RAM. I’m reading it because Paulo Coehlo is one of my favorite authors and always leaves me thinking comprehensively about where I see my life path journeying towards and where I fit into this crazy world.
Hannah Moss, Senior Manager of Production:
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This is the first in an amazing trilogy of books about a future Earth where plate tectonics have gone horribly awry. It’s got some magic, far-out-there technology and imaginative physics in there, but it’s really much more than fantasy book. I love the way it examines prejudice, as well as what really makes a family (shared bonds, not blood).
Leah Anderson, Digital Marketing Manager:
Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss by Mary Abbajay
This book is all about picking up on the behavioral and management preferences of your manager or supervisor and tailoring how you react to those preferences, in order to succeed in your role. Even if your manager isn’t a nightmare, there’s still so much to learn from this book in terms of adapting to those around you at work (bonus, the author is also a keynote speaker at NextGen!).
Nicole Blake Johnson, Managing Editor:
Live the Let-Go Life: Breaking Free from Stress, Worry, and Anxiety by Joseph Prince
This book is very timely. There are a lot of crazy things happening around the world, as well as personal changes that we all go through, and those issues can be overwhelming. This book is a great resource, filled with practical tips and stories on what we can do when life sends a lot our way. There’s also a journal that goes along with the book. Great read so far!
Catherine Andrews, Senior Director of Editorial:
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Any late-night comedy fan knows Trevor Noah as the host of The Daily Show, but he’s a wonderfully empathetic and articulate wordsmith. His memoir of growing up a “crime” in South Africa — that is, with a black mother and a white father, which, yes, was a crime for a very long time in that country — is an eye-opening read about institutional racism that makes its way into policy. It’s also just a wildly fun read and fond remembrance of his upbringing, particularly his amazing mother.
Circe by Madeline Miller
This book truly has it all — if by “all” you mean a mythology about a witch made modern with a new perspective on her story from her own point of view and feminism. And I do. Also just amazing storytelling.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A delicately and beautifully told family drama about Koreans who live in Japan, with each generation dealing with new heartbreaks, moments of joy, and more.
Nazli Cem, Motion Graphic Designer
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
Homesick for Another World is a collection of short stories written by Ottessa Moshfegh. What all of these stories have in common with is that they are mostly at the intersection of depressing, hilarious, nerve-racking and inappropriate. All of the characters that we read about reflect a cringing side of being human that is hard to make peace with. The stories force the reader to take a glimpse at their own insecurities, as taking a full look would just be too embarrassing.
What are you reading this summer? Let us know in the comments!