Good Reads: Staff Picks for All Moods and Interests
What’s your favorite book?
It seems like an innocuous question. In essence, it’s no different than inquiring about a favorite movie or ice cream flavor. It’s interesting, then, that when I ask the average American adult in 2017 to name theirs, I’m often met with an expression that I can only describe as a deer in after-market high beams. It’s as if I’ve instead asked how many Ikea Söderhamn sofas can fit inside of the Empire State Building if Tetris strategies were applied.
A 2015 study by the National Endowment for the Arts revealed that a mere 43 percent of American adults read any work of literature—novels, short stories, poems, or plays in print or online—from 2014 to 2015. Not only is that figure the lowest that it has ever been, but it means that, statistically, more than half of the people whom you know or will meet haven’t read anything more than a news story or Instagram caption in 365 days.
Has our preferred method of media consumption shifted so much in the digital age that books no longer have a place on our shelves? They certainly should: research indicates that the benefits of reading literature for pleasure include increasing social capital at all ages as well as a reduction of depression and dementia symptoms as an adult.
Perhaps we should all resolve to read more this year. Whether you’re an avid bookworm looking for a new title or you want to ease back into reading with an illustrated work, classic, or contemporary bestseller, here are a few book recommendations from around the office.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Melissa Lascala, Graphic Designer
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives.
SHE SAYS: “Being a dog lover, I could totally relate to this book. I laughed, I cried, I smiled—I loved it.”
The Dot and the Line by Norton Juster
Scott Westgate, Creative Director
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The story details a straight line who is hopelessly in love with a dot. The dot, finding the line to be stiff, dull, and conventional, turns her affections toward a wild and unkempt squiggle.
HE SAYS: “It’s a beautifully illustrated and simplified love story about not giving up and going after what you want. It exemplifies the phrase ‘It ain’t what you got. It’s what you make.’”
Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio
Amy Hines, Editor
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now.
SHE SAYS: “It’s a funny and uplifting literary sliver of optimism with a fresh commentary on inner beauty that was an awesome lesson for my kids.”
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
David Karner, Sales Representative
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: A young man in the 1950s narrates events that place in the few days between the end of the fall school term and Christmas.
HE SAYS: “It had a great impact on me at a young age. We all have a little Holden Caulfield in our systems at some time throughout life’s journey.”
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Matthew McLaughlin, President
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Malcom Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success in this non-fiction book.
HE SAYS: “It’s fascinating to discover the relationships between things that don’t appear to be related.”
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Max Kaczynski, Account Manager
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The adventures of Harry Potter, a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own.
HE SAYS: “Whenever I want to step away and enter a new world, this is the book that lets me do it. It’s just fun to read, and it lets my imagination run wild.”