Book Recommendations from Our Covalenteers

If it’s been way too long since you cracked a book, let National Book Lovers Day inspire you. Research shows that reading strengthens your brain, improves your health and increases empathy. Here are some recommendations from our staff:

Stafford Wood, Founder - If you haven’t read the classics of children’s literature as an adult, I strongly recommend revisiting and reading these. There’s nothing like the aha! moments of truly understanding the books that have swept children away for generations. And children’s authors truly understand the importance of themes, the complexity of characters, compelling plots, intriguing dialogue and vibrant settings:

And if you can only choose one, choose The Annotated Alice. It’s a full history of British politics in two volumes, with esoteric facts, linguistic genius and wry wit.

Trae Russell, Director of Production – A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
You wouldn’t think a John Irving book that deals which themes such as religious faith, social justice and the concept of fate would be hysterical, but I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I often refer to this book as the “New England version” of another one of my favorite books, A Confederacy of Dunces, because of the outlandish-yet-sincere title character, Owen Meany, and his dedicated refusal to conform to societal norms.

Sami McBride, Account Manager - Rescue Road by Peter Zheutlin
This is a great book that features the rescue that I foster for. It tells the story of Peter Zheutlin who has driven more than one million miles rescuing dogs in need.

Jim Overbey, Copy Chief - Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love by Peter Guralnick
These two volumes written by Peter Guralnick chronicle the rise and unmaking of Elvis. Out of a million written about him (and out of the 100 I’ve read), these are the definitive works on the king.

Fernanda Santos, Graphic Designer - Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
It's a fast-paced and exciting psychological thriller. It grabbed my attention from beginning to end.

Imari Simmons, Content Coordinator - Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury. A truly amazing dystopian novel that explores the effects of technology and censorship.

Daniela Marin, Project Manager - Animal Farm by George Orwell
I love this book because it’s like a tiny part of history written in a different format. The allegory makes it easy to understand the rise of Soviet communism, and the quote “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” perfectly captures the hypocrisy of the government.

Courtney Greathouse, Account Manager - Blue Like Jazz (Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality) by Donald Miller.
It looks at the relevance of Christianity in a post-modern world and was a real eye-opener to me in my personal journey with religion / spirituality.

Cody Cifelli, Production Assistant
Victory Lab: Provides a thorough list of campaigning strategies and their positives and negatives from the dawn of man to the 2008 election, which set the standard for political campaigning.
Made to Stick: Fantastic description on how to create content that draws attention and keeps the readers' attention
Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Classic and an absolute standard for fantasy.
Dracula: Classic. Halloween is quickly approaching, and the film popularized vampires in pop culture, leading to numerous films that we've grown to love and hate. *cough* Twilight *cough*

Melissa Whitten, Content CoordinatorThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This book has everything you could ever want in an adventure story – love, betrayal, sword fighting, an island with treasure, redemption and possibly the most elaborate plan for revenge ever conceived.

Mark Donald, Finance Director – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
I really enjoyed reading this one. It provides some very useful advice and strategies related to growing both as a person and as a professional.

Stacey Vincent, Interactive Director – Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
This book opened my eyes to a level of hardship that I had never even fathomed up to that point. The suffering, the corruption, the hopelessness, the struggle just to survive day in and day out. It has helped me to never take even a moment of my life for granted and has expanded my view of the world far beyond my small corner.

Grace Ann, HR Director – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
It spans over 30 years and tells the story of a Count who was put under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in post-revolutionary Moscow. The relationships he builds, the sacrifices he makes and the hardships he goes through while staying true to himself and his convictions cannot be matched. It is funny, historical, philosophical and one of the best books I have read in a long time. If you decide to read it get the hardback version - do not download on your Kindle. The Kindle version leaves out the footnotes, introductions, additions, etc. and those really add to the story.

Ken Duhe, Content Team Manager – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I recently got my hands on this book. It'll make you think twice about those grumpy people in your life (and especially those on the periphery) who seem to dislike everything and everyone. Like most people, the more you learn about Ove -- the "neighbor from hell" -- the easier it is to love him and his story.

Margo Jolet, Account ManagerBreaking Night by Liz Murray
It's back to school time, and if you've ever underestimated the power of teachers and mentors in your life, this is a great book to keep you mindful of these folks' amazing impact. The ultimate motivational memoir, this book reminds you that if Liz could go from "breaking night" in NYC public transit to graduating from Harvard University, we can all overcome whatever is challenging us.

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