Chad bought me the entire Harry Potter series for Christmas, so I’ve spent most of my reading time deep in the wizarding world; the books are fantastic, and I can’t believe I waited so long to jump into them! If you haven’t read the series yet, DO IT, no matter how old you may be.
In an effort to stretch out the magic and not devour all seven books at once — which isn’t really working because I’m about to start the sixth — I’m trying to pepper in new authors, fresh releases, and a bit of inspirational non-fiction. Here are a few of my latest Muggle reads that I really enjoyed!
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
I grabbed this off the shelf in a hurry one Friday afternoon before C and I headed out of town. I liked the jacket and the theme seemed right up my alley: women breaking gender norms to find career success in a creative industry; complex coming-of-age female friendship; a healthy dose of dysfunction…
I went in pretty blind, but I’m so glad I did; this book took me by surprise and sucked me right in.
Just when you think you understand the characters and know where the story is headed, the narrative shifts and drags you deeper into each of their complicated pasts, self-destructive behavior, intense business partnership and friendship, and all-consuming artistic process.
I 👏🏼 loved 👏🏼 it. I can’t wait to read what Whitaker comes up with next.
Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
I got this book so I could give my husband some research-backed evidence to justify my scatter-brained untidiness: “Babe, it’s not my fault I left 20 pairs of shoes scattered around the house; I can’t control the messy impulses of my creative mind!”
Instead, what I got was a whole lot of insight into the ways my need for control and order in my business may inadvertently stifle the creativity and productivity of my staff. It opened my eyes to the micro-managing habits I developed over the years to keep things streamlined and efficient, and helped me realize that I need to be more open to a little chaos and disorder to encourage new ideas and nurture a sense of ownership and autonomy in my employees.
The book is organized into thought-provoking case studies and anecdotes that are easy and enjoyable to read, remember, and share.
Room by Emma Donoghue
“To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.” (Goodreads) I read the first several chapters of this book with an uncomfortable pit in my stomach. The story is narrated by Jack, and as he describes every detail of the 11’x 11′ room he shares with his mother and the activities that fill their days, you know something he doesn’t: Old Nick abducted Ma, and has held her captive in Room for seven years. I don’t want to tell you too much, because it’s one of those books you just have to experience for yourself, but it’s an emotional read that haunted me for a while after I finished it.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A fellow-bookworm friend recommended this to me, and I’m so happy she did. At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His deeply moving memoir chronicles his life from medical student, to accomplished neurosurgeon, to man facing his own mortality. One Goodreads reviewer summarized it better than I ever could: “A gasping, desperate, powerful little book, bigger on the inside than outside. It’s a little bit about dying, but more about being alive.” This book is a gift. But maybe don’t read it in public, unless you want to silently ugly-cry in front of strangers (which is exactly what I did when I decided to finish the last few chapters in the library one Saturday afternoon).
What are you guys reading? I’d love recommendations to add to my library list!