What Are You Reading? Part III.
Dec 2, 2015
A bookshelf can tell you a lot about a person – their hobbies, passions and future plans. The past few weeks, Centerliners have shared what they’re currently reading and how it relates to their roles here.
Hear from more Centerliners as they share what’s on their bookshelves:
I tend to unintentionally accumulate multiple random book piles around my house — next to my bed, a chair, on the floor by the couch. I’ve developed a habit of reading multiple books in short bursts, kind of like flipping through television stations. It allows me to make broader, quicker connections between seemingly disparate subjects and keeps things interesting!
Here are a few I’m reading now:
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
I know; I’m a couple years late to the game on this one, but I’m so glad I picked it up. This book is a genuine effort from the author to share her experience as a human trying to find “success” while feeling like an outcast. In her own paraphrased words, Sandberg simply shares the advice she wishes someone had shared with her along her way. It will relate to anyone who’s ever wondered how to shed that self-imposed layer of self-doubt or the feeling of being a “fraud” around other smart people.
New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
In short, I adore her. For me, there is no better way to be inspired to practice conscious gratitude than by reading about the wonder and reflection others experience from nature and life and love.
Winning with People by John C. Maxwell
I hear my dad in Maxwell’s voice. He shares basic mantras of focusing on the change you can create in yourself rather that being frustrated by others, creating your own environment/reality/success, and being aware of your perspective. I more often than not finish reading a chapter in this book by immediately writing out how I can apply his wisdom (not too grandiose a word for it) to my own life. This book inspires me to think hard about how I can better myself and be a source of support for others.
Kate Williamson, Executive Strategy Director
If you were to scan my apartment you’d notice two things: first, it is a small jungle of potted plants, and each of those (17…) plants are perched on top of, next to, or bookended by a small pile of books. Books are my ultimate weakness. My bookshelf is exploding with books on nonfiction history, body language, social media, fictitious teenage love affairs that will break your heart (looking at you, John Green collection), and magic that has moved me during different phases of my life.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Judge me if you must but I have ZERO regrets about purchasing the limited edition box set, with newly redesigned covers, of Harry Potter. My previous set was well-loved with its curled pages, highlighted passages and worn covers (RIP book #3, sorry high tide ruined you). Over the past two decades, Harry has been there. This series taught me that there’s power in being different and an infinite magic in our words. Today as a #millennial adult reading the Sorcerer’s Stone again, J.K. Rowling reminds me of the tremendous value in true friendships and remaining genuine even in the face of being seen as an, “outsider” (Luna Lovegood, my girl). For those of you who have only seen the movies, they’ll never be as powerful as the books.
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain is, by all my standards, a dreamboat. His first book Kitchen Confidential is the gritty, vulgar tell-all that anyone who’s never worked in a kitchen will be appalled by, and anyone who has will applaud. His second book Medium Raw pokes fun at himself for becoming the snobbish, overly cultured food critic he loathed in Kitchen Confidential. Bourdain’s honesty and brutal sarcasm also make for the perfect audiobooks, so naturally I own both in Aubile and paperback #yolo. When I need motivation to get the f*ck out there and try something new, no matter how many falls I’ve had, this is what I reach for.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
The short of it: I secretly still love Young Adult literature. Libba Bray’s series The Diviners plays into everything I appreciate in YA fiction – the historic setting, star-crossed lovers, a paranormal plotline and a mysterious evil that is truthfully very dark for young audiences. The main character, Evie, is a headstrong force to be reckoned with and throughout the series really comes to own this, “too big for the era” personality. These books are Hobbit-style massive but the changes in perspective across the seven major characters helps the plot to move quickly. The gist: everyone has a secret desire, weakness and power to be tapped into. If you think you’re too old for YA novels, I’m telling you that you’re missing out.
The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna
The latest in my rotation of, “self discovery and improvement” books, I stumbled upon this book via Elle Luna’s original article on Medium. Luna’s book challenges the reader to examine the whys behind, “how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do.” Should is the opposite of Must. Our personal Must is the thing that we find ourselves doing with all our free time, it’s what motivates us beyond our 9-to-5 and illuminates our souls. If you, like me, need motivation to get unstuck from the Shoulds of your life this might be the gentle push that you need.
Emily Kreer, Assistant Project Manager
I just finished up Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which was a super quick fiction read. The premise hooks you instantly — 99% of the world’s population has been wiped out by a flu pandemic. No more electricity, no more internet (gasp!). The story weaves the post-flu and pre-flu eras beautifully, revealing the background of key characters throughout the book. I love stories that weave together characters from seemingly different backgrounds and storylines and Station Eleven does this well. The last section of the book seems a little rushed in comparison to the time spent building up the plot in the beginning, but overall it was a great read.
On my bedside is Creative Confidence by David and Tom Kelley, founders of IDEO. I’ll be honest, the first few chapters have been a bit fluffy for my taste in a design thinking book. As I’ve gotten deeper into the chapters Dare, Spark and Leap, I’ve enjoyed it more as tangible insights come through. The biggest takeaways for me so far are embracing failure and the importance of iterating and prototyping out ideas.
Creative Confidence is a good foundation for learning to think and attack problems from a Human-Centered Design approach. I can see this book being influential for someone working in a position where they don’t feel creative. The authors talk a lot about how we’re all inherently creative, and how to harness and unleash that creativity through different methods to make ideas come to fruition.
Jen Hubbard, Interactive Designer
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