Books of Interest Part VII: 2022 Summer/Fall Reading Recommendations
For the past few years, we have curated a list of our employees’ favorite reads. In celebration of National Books Lovers Day (August 9), we are excited to be back again with Part Seven of our “Books of Interest.”
If you are looking to be captivated by a story or have already binged your way through your streaming watch list, here is a list of eight books recommended by our employees. To check out even more book recommendations, here are parts 1-6 of our Books of Interest blog posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a tempting story of what happens when you make a deal with the Devil. Told over multiple time periods at once, this book grabs you and holds you until the twist of fate at the end. If you have ever had the slightest thought that you might want to be immortal, you may rethink that after reading this page turner. The beautiful transition through all the eras our heroine finds herself in paints a picture that carries you with her through her journey in the life she has been gifted. This book will reinforce a rule we have all grown with – be careful what you wish for! You won’t regret this read!!
– Recommended by: Lindsey S.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend is Book 1 in the Neapolitan Quartet, which follows the lives of Elena and Lila as they grow up from toddlers to old women in 1950s Naples, Italy. Their friendship has been described as “the most accurate portrayal of female friendship in literature,” as they both care deeply for and idolize each other, but Elena and Lila’s intense competition leads to a lifelog antagonism between them. The book can best be described as a psychological study between the two women as they use one another to try to find their own identities, all while their poverty-stricken neighborhood, the Italian post-fascist social order, and their role as women and wives try to define them. But as Elena and Lila find out, only through each other can they become something greater. Elena Ferrante (who has been described as a modern Jane Austen) has such a universal use of language that you almost forget the book has been translated directly from Italian. This is an inspiring story that you won’t soon forget!
– Recommended by: Nate Y.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
This is an engaging fantasy adventure with clever wordplay, interesting characters, and a charming setting. It’s excellent for all ages and a great choice for families to read together!
– Recommended by: Allie C.
The Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole by Roland Huntford
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the last unexplored place on Earth was Antarctica. Reaching the pole became the great prize of increasingly competitive countries leading into World War I. This book follows Norway’s Roald Amundson and England’s Robert Scott in their epic race to the South Pole. Facing unknown dangers, crossing unexplored mountains, in a remote unforgiving land, the explorers will need every ounce of ingenuity and courage to survive.
– Recommended by: Chris L.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
My book recommendation is anything by the author Tamora Pierce! The Alanna series is a good place to start with the first book being Alanna: The First Adventure. I love Pierce’s character development and world building in her writings. She writes wonderful fictional books that people of any age can enjoy!
– Recommended by: Shelby G.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
I thought the information in this book was fascinating! It’s a pretty quick/easy ready, but gives so much insight to help better structure my work activities throughout the day. Plus, I loved learning about the advantages of nappuccinos.
– Recommended by: Karla D.
The Things Our Fathers Saw: Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA by Matthew A. Rozell
Matthew Rozell is not a professional historian. He is just an ordinary schoolteacher from Upstate New York who realized that in the mid-1990s that the day was fast approaching when no one with first hand memory of World War II will be alive. Most of the men and women who served will have gone the way of veterans of other wars without ever having told the tale outside of their brothers and sisters who experienced it with them. As a teacher of history, he felt a responsibility to make what for many kids was the dullest subject come to life. So early in his career, he took it upon himself to devote more than the suggested few hours of study of World War II in the class room. He required his students to interview and record conversations with World War II veterans. What he discovered was, the older the veterans got, the more they wanted to tell their tale before God called them home.
My father was a World War II Naval Officer in the latter part of the war and he never freely shared too many stories of his time in the service. Sure, we heard a few light hearted comments about his time at Pearl Harbor when he took his minesweeper out into the channel every morning to sweep for Japanese mines or his time in the Bahamas doing the same thing. It was not until the time my two children interviewed their grandfathers (my father-in-law was also in the Navy) for a history project that the entire sorry came out over his fear that he would be part of the invasion of Japan and the elation of the dropping of the atom bombs that he believed saved his life.
Things Our Fathers Saw is a multi-part compellation of those interviews by New York high school students told in the first person by the then young men and women who served from the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and everything in between. The only flaw in this series is that it is only from the American perspective and does not include comments from German or Japanese soldiers, sailors, or airmen. It would have taken a professional historian to present both sides. Grab these books and read a view chapters a day and you will appreciate what it was like to be part of the Greatest Generation.
– Recommended by: Pat O.
Meant to Be by Emily Giffin
Naperville native Emily Giffin released her eleventh novel earlier this summer and it quickly has become one of my favorites of hers. Inspired loosely by the love story of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette, Meant to Be tells the story about a restless golden boy (Joseph Kingsley Jr.) and a girl with a troubled past (Cate Cooper) and their attempt to navigate a love story that may be doomed from the start. When Joe and Cate unexpectedly cross paths one afternoon, their connection is instant and intense. But can their relationship survive the glare of the spotlight and the so-called Kingsley curse? In a beautifully written novel that captures a gilded moment in American history, Giffin tells the story of two people searching for belonging and identity, as well as the answer to the question: Are certain love stories meant to be?
– Recommended by: Jennifer W.