For many, the summer months gift us with more time to immerse ourselves in a good book. Our staff compared notes on our current reads and recommendations and narrowed down our favorites to these five novels. These reads deeply enthralled us by exploring various aspects of the human spirit and society all around the world and will surely be an inspirational addition to your reading list.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a love story that explores race and identity. Adichie is a Nigerian author known for her book Half of a Yellow Sun as well as her outspoken feminism (you may have seen her amazing ted talk entitled “We Should All be Feminists”). In Americanah, she tells the story of a young couple in Nigeria. After one immigrates to the United States and one is forced to live undocumented in the UK, they both face harsh realities about their race and legal status only to eventually reunite in their native country.
Hillbilly Ellegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is written by J.D. Vance, a former marine and Yale graduate. Yance reflects on his upbringing in a family that moved from the Appalachian rust belt to Ohio to pursue the working-class American dream, and the societal struggles that came with their quest for upward mobility. His novel humorously navigates complex social issues in America and gives insight to the white, middle-class American demographic in the time of Donald Trump and a tumultuous election season.
You may have heard of Cheryl Strayed if you’ve read her critically acclaimed novel Wild. Tiny Beautiful Things is comprised of Strayed's articles from her days as an advice columnist. “Sugar,” Strayed’s pseudonym, responds to a wide scope of issues faced in the personal lives of men and women alike in a witty, funny, and blunt manner. This book is instantly relatable and inspirational, as Strayed has a way of cracking open the stories of those who write her and revealing “beautiful truths” behind everyday scenarios. I have been working my way through this novel this summer and find Strayed's advice both entertaining and insightful.
A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea is based on the events of the Arab Spring tells the story of a young woman struggling to survive as a Syrian refugee. Symbology social media expert Marisa is currently reading this book and was blown away by the extent of the main character Doaa al Zamel’s difficulties on her dangerous journey to safety. This read will make you feel deeply for the characters and understand the plight of refugees through a new perspective.
Juugad is a Hindi word which roughly means to “ find a low-cost solution to any problem in an intelligent way.” Jugaad Innovation explains the key points of this theory and points to rapidly developing nations as models for Western countries to improve and expand. Our business-minded CEO Marissa was inspired by this book, which highlights the importance of entrepreneurs utilizing Jugaad techniques to improve developing societies.