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Suggested Summer Reading Material from the BP Team

Com­ing off the excite­ment of work­ing on anoth­er won­der­ful Word­play Book Fes­ti­val, and with sum­mer vaca­tions on the hori­zon, we want­ed to dig in and devel­op anoth­er list of sug­gest­ed read­ing mate­ri­als from our team. Below, we share some favorites we keep going back to along with some new­er titles. We hope these pro­vide enter­tain­ment, knowl­edge and under­stand­ing, and as we approach the mid-point of the year, and help keep those work­ing toward new year’s goals to read more on track!

NONFICTION

“How I Built This” by Guy Raz – Business/Entrepreneurship

This title comes high­ly rec­om­mend­ed by Shel­li, who says, “If you’ve ever tuned into “How I Built This” with Guy Raz on Nation­al Pub­lic Radio, this one is for you. And if you haven’t, check it out! The week­ly show-turned-pod­cast shares the back­ground, chal­lenges, risks and suc­cess­es of entre­pre­neurs, from peo­ple like Spanx founder and now bil­lion­aire Sara Blake­ly and Stacy’s Pita Chips founder Sta­cy Brown to Crate & Bar­rel founders Gor­don and Car­ole Segal. The book shares the same insights, intrigu­ing behind-the-scenes sto­ries and lit­tle known nuggets about dozens of entre­pre­neurs, many whom have put every­thing on the line to fol­low their dreams and build their busi­ness­es. Guy deliv­ers inspi­ra­tion (includ­ing his own sto­ry), tips, humor and can­dor about what entre­pre­neurs face to make their dreams real­i­ty. May it moti­vate and inspire you no mat­ter what path you’re on!”

“The Sixth Extinc­tion: An Unnat­ur­al His­to­ry” by Eliz­a­beth Kol­bert – Cli­mate Change

Johan­na is pas­sion­ate about sus­tain­abil­i­ty and learn­ing about/helping fight cli­mate change, and we appre­ci­ate the vig­or with which she shares what she’s learned with our team. She rec­om­mend­ed this book as “a hard-truth but engross­ing read about how Earth’s warm­ing cli­mate and human impacts have affect­ed ecosys­tems and wildlife species around the world.”

“The Soul of Base­ball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s Amer­i­ca” by Joe Pos­nan­s­ki – Biography/Travel

With beau­ti­ful writ­ing and a com­pelling nar­ra­tive, this book piqued my inter­est in the Negro Leagues when I was begin­ning the first chap­ter of my career, work­ing in pro­fes­sion­al base­ball. It’s incred­i­bly well-writ­ten and makes the read­er feel like they are lis­ten­ing to Buck O’Neil, a Negro Leagues player/manager, the first Black Major League Base­ball coach, and founder of the Negro Leagues Base­ball Muse­um, tell sto­ries about this league, its his­to­ry and the piv­otal role it played in the civ­il rights move­ment. It’s a book I’ve returned to many times, and a unique way to see how base­ball is so much more than a sport.

“Work Like a Boss” by Nan­cy Lyons – Busi­ness/­Self-Help

“This book cov­ers impor­tant top­ics like empa­thy, account­abil­i­ty, engage­ment and mind­set, and wraps it all in a humor­ous, irrev­er­ent, acces­si­ble pack­age,” said Bri­an. “The peo­ple-cen­tered cul­ture that Nan­cy Lyons cul­ti­vat­ed at Min­neapo­lis dig­i­tal agency Clock­work is a mod­el Bell­mont Part­ners has long aspired to, and now she’s put a lot of her action­able wis­dom in this tiny but pow­er­ful book.”

“There’s a Rev­o­lu­tion Out­side, My Love: Let­ters From a Cri­sis” by var­i­ous authors, edit­ed by Tra­cy K Smith & John Free­man – Anthol­o­gy

Bri­ana rec­om­mend­ed this is a pow­er­ful col­lec­tion of 40 let­ters, essays and poems writ­ten in 2020 by authors across the coun­try – includ­ing Twin Citians Su Hwang and Michael Kle­ber-Dig­gs – when the nation was faced with the twin tragedies of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and the mur­der of George Floyd. The back cov­er calls it “an inti­mate col­lec­tion of writ­ing that offers a space to mourn and pon­der what the nation is, and what it can be.”

“The Paper Solu­tion” by Lisa Woodruff – Self-Help/­Do-It-Your­self

Even though we are liv­ing in a dig­i­tal world, why do we still have so much paper? Stud­ies show that 85% of all the paper in our lives can be shred or recy­cled, but which 85% of the paper is that, and what do we do with the oth­er 15%? Our Bell­mont Part­ners team has been learn­ing great lessons, prac­tices and a step-by-step guide for what to shred, what to save and how to sort what’s left behind from our client, Lisa Woodruff, author and founder of Orga­nize 365. Known as the “Marie Kon­do of paper,” Woodruff uses this book to teach how to deal with all that paper in a sim­ple and effec­tive way. Check it out…you can thank us lat­er when you are orga­nized and not drown­ing in all that excess paper!

“Ancient Reme­dies” by Dr. Josh Axe – Alter­na­tive Med­i­cine/­Self-Help

Michelle says that this isn’t exact­ly a “beach read,” but that she’s found this book inter­est­ing, espe­cial­ly in its explo­ration of oth­er cul­tures. It reads a bit more text­book-ish than nov­el as Dr. Axe dives deep into ancient and tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese, Ayurve­da (Indian/Nepalese) and Mid­dle East­ern med­i­c­i­nal prac­tices that are still wide­ly used today, shar­ing how these prac­tices tap into the pow­er that nat­ur­al herbs, spices and oils provide.

Look­ing for a biog­ra­phy or autobiography? 

While they aren’t always the light­est of reads, Brid­get has been read­ing sev­er­al biogra­phies and auto­bi­ogra­phies this year, includ­ing “The Good Neigh­bor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Ruth Bad­er Ginsburg’s “My Own Words.” Up next, she’s plan­ning to dig into “Becom­ing,” by Michelle Oba­ma. She said she finds it’s fas­ci­nat­ing to learn more about the life, works and less­er-known sto­ries behind the icons.

FICTION

“Check Please!” by Ngozi Ukazu – Graph­ic Novel/LGBTQIA+/Young Adult

This sto­ry is adapt­ed from a web­com­ic series about a gay col­lege hock­ey play­er-slash-bak­ing vlog­ger. Johan­na rec­om­mends it as “a whole­some and very cute read for any­one who enjoys hock­ey, graph­ic nov­els or baking!”

“Jim­my Blue­feath­er” by Kim Hea­cox – Adventure/Alaska

I dis­cov­ered this book thanks to my con­tin­u­ous search for tales of out­door adven­tures. The nov­el is set in majes­tic Alas­ka, and tells the sto­ry of a nine­ty-some­thing man, Old Keb, who is part Tlin­git Native and part Nor­we­gian (as the book says, with “some Fil­ipino and Por­tuguese thrown in”). When his bas­ket­ball-star grand­son is injured and can no longer play, the two men find their way to each oth­er for the most mean­ing­ful jour­ney they could imag­ine. This book has it all – the dra­ma of craft­ing Old Keb’s last canoe, a sus­pi­cious fire, a love sto­ry, and even a dog named Steve. Plus, it weaves the Tlin­git lan­guage and cul­ture into the nar­ra­tive, adding a poet­ry to the writ­ing and depth to the sto­ry, and mak­ing the read­er feel like they’re right there in Jinkaat watch­ing it all unfold.

“The Woman in Cab­in 10” by Ruth Ware – Thriller

Kalli picked up this book from our in-office book exchange last year, and although thrillers aren’t typ­i­cal­ly a genre she reads, she real­ly enjoyed it. She said, “The way the sto­ry was told was real­ly unique and kept you guess­ing at the out­come all the way until the end.”

“Quee­nie” by Can­dice Car­ty-Williams – Psy­cho­log­i­cal Fiction

This book, set in Lon­don, is about a young Jamaican British woman who is find­ing her truth, as she seeks to deter­mine who she wants to be, since she doesn’t neat­ly fit into either cul­ture she feels pulled between. Brid­get sug­gest­ed this title and said, “I couldn’t put it down, and it’s stuck with me.”

We’d love to hear what you’ve been read­ing late­ly – please leave a com­ment or send us a note to share some titles and authors you enjoy! And if you’re look­ing for even more sug­gest­ed read­ing, check out this list of 18 rec­om­mend­ed reads from our team from ear­li­er this year.

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