Books of Interest Part 6: 2022 Winter Reading Recommendations

For the past few years, we have curated a list of our employees’ favorite reads. We are excited to be back again with Part Six 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 1-5 of our Books of Interest blog posts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir  

In the new release by the writer of The Martian, Ryland Grace wakes up in a spaceship millions of miles from home, next to two corpses, and his memories scrambled.  As the last survivor of a desperate mission to save the Earth, Ryland must use science to survive and finish his mission.  And with the nearest human light-years away, he’s got to do it alone… …or does he?  A great read for any science fiction fan.

–  Recommended by: Chris L. 


56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

In this psychological thriller, Howard pens a unique story inspired by the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Set in Ireland, 56 Days focuses on the timeline of Ciara and Oliver, who share a meet-cute in a supermarket the same week news of COVID-19 hits the island. With a strict lockdown looming, the two decide to move in together and 56 days later, detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a body inside. Will they be able to determine what actually happened within these 56 days or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime? While the COVID-19 lockdown is depicted within this story, an important takeaway is that is not just a story about the pandemic. Howard brilliantly uses the initial concept of a lockdown to create an exceptional set of circumstances that allow the story to take place. 56 Days is a skillfully-crafted blend of relational suspense and a whodunit. This, alongside the framework of isolation and uncertainty, turns up the pressure on the story’s title characters.

With a non-linear storyline, this thriller kept me guessing until the very end. As a reader, you are presented with information outside of the two main character’s points of view and as the 56 days tick by, you are consistently thinking about the three key questions that are ingrained in this story: Who is dead? Who is the killer? And why did they commit murder?

–  Recommended by: Jennifer W. 


The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus is the most inspirational book I have ever read. By providing 10 rules on how to best approach all aspects of life with a positive forward-thinking mindset you can’t help but feel inspired. Jon Gordon provides motivational thoughts in a way that doesn’t feel like a heavy read. This book is set in a story timeline of a down on his luck and attitude of a middle manager who seems to have found only bad things to focus on. As you progress through the steps you come attached to all those on the bus as well as rooting for all the good to come to the main character. By the end, you not only feel joy for the characters you also feel a sense of refreshing new energy in your own life. This book will help highlight where you might need a little boost and how to achieve it in a few easy steps. 100% recommend as a more than once read. I pop this book out about once a year to reset and refresh my mind and energy.

–  Recommended by: Lindsey S. 


Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

I am listening to and loving this look back on over 60 years of songwriting. In the audiobook, each chapter is short – almost like a podcast format. Dolly sings snippets of 175 songs and gives you the background, the inspiration, or maybe the sorted story about each one. As I listened to the book, one thing stood out to me, she remembered people. In the book, she shared her belief that the people around you help cultivate your passions and help you become who you become. She tells the story of writing her first song, sometime around seven years old, and the encouragement that her mother gave her. She recalled that it was this earliest encouragement, and not feedback on how to improve, that solidified in her mind the passion she still feels as a songwriter. Dolly names the first seamstresses that helped to make her dresses in the last 1960s when she appeared on The Porter Wagoner Show. She remembered a friend of the family, and mentioned her by name, for loaning her the money to record some tracks. She also reminisced about an uncle that gave Dolly her first guitar and taught her an important life lesson. Her fingers hurt. “You have to work,” he said, “until those blisters become calluses and you can really play like you want to.”

Personally, I first started loving this iconic Songteller, when she appeared in the movie 9-5, and I had no idea of the massive volume of music that she has written. The book is exactly what it should be.  Much of Dolly’s music is personal to her. Some of it was written as a means of coping. Some were written just for fun and the journey back in time for a country music fan is worth the listen.

–  Recommended by: Rebecca K. 


The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr

This novel is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. It combines Scottish history with a mystery and ghost story…and Sherlock Holmes.  A fun and fast-paced read for sure!

–  Recommended by: Brad H.


The Residence: Inside the Private World of The White House by Kate Andersen Brower

It’s a book about the White House resident staff. The book reveals the daily life of the White House as told by maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers and others.

–  Recommended by: Cristy M. 


Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella

When it’s cold and blustery outside and you’re feeling kind of blue,  this book will cheer you up and make you laugh. It’s a beach read for winter! Find out what happens when Emma Corrigan confesses all her secrets to a cute stranger on a plane (turbulence made her panic). When the plane lands safely, she figures it will be okay because she will never see this handsome man again, . . . until she does.

–  Recommended by: Liz J. 


Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP by Mirin Fader

Detailed insight Giannis Antetokounmpo went from extreme poverty growing up in Greece to the superhero on the basketball court that he is today.  These stories of Giannis’s work ethic, humility, devotion to family, and leadership will make you a fan.

–  Recommended by: Zach P.