Why you should care
Because it’s book-binging season. And where to begin?
Eugene S. Robinson, Deputy Editor: I’m reading Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder … mostly because I’m a student of amorality, crushing corporate powers, really slick sociopaths and the enduring life lesson that trusting hyenas will not work out well for you.
Leslie dela Vega, Director of Photography: One of my all time favorite books! Love Thy Neighbor by Peter Maass. It’s a war reporter’s take on the Bosnian war, witnessing atrocities, death and friendship first-hand. I first purchased the book after I read an excerpt of it in Vanity Fair and it was the first time I’ve cried after reading a magazine article. It’s not recent, but it’s heartbreaking and really puts everything in my life into perspective. It’s a reminder to me of how quickly life goes, how easily we all take our lives for granted. And last month, I finished Night by Elie Wiesel. I read it once a year, just because it reminds me of how my first-world problems just don’t matter.
Louise Rogers, Board Member: I’m reading the following rather mixed bag … How To Become A Business Angel: Practical Advice for Aspiring Investors in Unquoted Companies. And for beach reading … the hot summer book: Broken by Shelley Coriell. Can’t wait.
Sanjena Sathian, Writer/Editor: I just finished Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America by Vivek Bald. It’s about a group of working-class Indian immigrants who arrived in America in the early 20th century. They integrated into poor communities of color, marrying black and Latina women and sometimes even legally masquerading as “Porto Rican.” This is a gorgeous, thrilling story about some super-savvy businessmen in a globalizing marketplace. And it’s a glimpse into the margins of American history. Plus, it all complicates today’s narrative of Indian America … no spelling bees here!
Judd Hendrix, Front-End Developer: Wrapping up a third reading of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Something about social philosophies wrapped in historical context that is so damned interesting. Up next is a third reading of his The Art of Seduction. About a third of the way done with Ethics For the New Millennium by the Dalai Lama. Recommended to me by a friend who said it’s her favorite book. His message is always appreciated, but I find his charisma just doesn’t translate into the written word (for me at least). Perhaps if I kept this GIF open…
Anne Miller, Writer: I picked up a copy of The Story of Land and Sea while covering Book Expo America for OZY this spring. It’s a haunting slice of Colonial Carolina life with prose that reads like poetry from a first-time novelist who’s also a serious historian. It’s officially out in August. Also on the proverbial bedside table, from the same conference: the hilarious Jennifer Verdolin’s Wild Connection (out now), and Nayomi Munaweera’s Island of a Thousand Mirrors (U.S. version out in Sept.)
Sunjiv Tandon, Business Operations Associate: These days? A lot of resumes! But prior to that I was about halfway through the Warren Buffet Way, which profiles Buffet, but in a bigger sense, covers his approach to investing and finding value. I realized early on that it’s not really “high level” in terms of finance/investing — but I would recommend it as a great book for an investing novice looking to learn the ropes.
Polina Marinova, Social Media Editor: Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney. It’s super-interesting to see the life journey of the most influential designer of the 20th century. Turns out Chanel grew up in extreme poverty, her father abandoned the family and she was raised by nuns in an orphanage. She then went on to build a fashion empire and have affairs with people like Picasso and Dali. Though I wish the book focused more on the entrepreneurial side of Chanel’s life, it does a very good job detailing her social endeavors.
Nathan Siegel, Editorial Intern: My new favorite book is about the greatest swordsman to ever live — Mushashi: An Epic of the Samurai Era by Eiji Yoshikawa. He released this 1000+ page behemoth in parts every month, like a novella for 18th-century Japan. It reads like a dream and every time I put it down, I’d think, “Shit, I’d rather be a samurai!” So much poetic wisdom, so many battles. 2014 is samurai summer!
Sean Braswell, Senior Editor: If you read the news, the world may seem rife with war and violence, but we’ve never enjoyed less at any point in human history, says Harvard scientist Steven Pinker. In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker provides a meticulously constructed history of violence that will influence the way you think about everything from U.S. gun ownership to the social impact of 1960s counterculture to whether you would ever really want to time travel back to any earlier point in history.