We’re not entirely sure we can say our effort to keep up with Eighty-Eight’s book club was exactly valiant. For our first and only book club we read Lionel Shriver’s “The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047″, a dystopian look at the bleak economic state of a fictional future and planned to meet and discuss our thoughts as a group. Well, that never happened. The promise of cheese, wine, and heated, intellectual conversation was never fulfilled, but that hasn’t stopped us from cracking books and reading on our own time. While we’ve yet to meet or read another book as a group, we have managed to keep up with sharing our latest and greatest reads. Here’s a wrap up of what we loved this year and what we’re looking forward to reading over the break.
88 reader: Erin Bury, Managing Director
The book: The Child by Fiona Barton
The TL;DR version: As everyone at the office knows, I love murder books (and exclusively murder books. Maybe with the odd business book thrown in for good measure). So naturally I had to read Fiona Barton’s follow-up to “The Widow”. This book centres around the discovery of a child’s remains on a building site in London, and it switches between perspectives – the journalist who’s investigating the remains; the young mother who believes the baby is hers; and other players in the case.
Thoughts: All I ask for in a great thriller is that it’s a page-turner (typically I read these types of books in one or two sittings), and it has a great ending that feels satisfying. The surprise ending is a great payoff in The Child – and I typically hate the endings of books like this (they’re never satisfying). This one had a great twist, and left me satisfied when I closed the back cover. Definitely a great read if you’re into thrillers.
Would you recommend it? Yes! Definitely would.
88 reader: Fatima Zaidi, VP of Business Development
The book: All In by Arlene Dickinson
The TL;DR version: In “All In”, Arlene Dickinson tells the truth about the dangers of believing your own hype, listening to naysayers—and ignoring naysayers, too. Dickinson explains why the need for control is a double-edged sword that can get a business off the ground, then cause it to stall.”
Thoughts: It’s all about how to thrive in the entrepreneurial lifestyle—and how to avoid common mistakes. Great for anyone starting out their entrepreneurial journey!
Would you recommend it? YES!
88 reader: Amanda Speers, PR Account Coordinator
The book: ‘My Absolute Darling’ by Gabriel Tallent.
The TL;DR version: The book centres around Turtle, a 14-year-old girl living in the wilderness of Northern California, and her abusive relationship with her father. Their relationship is strange and tumultuous and the story becomes more complicated as Turtle starts to pull away from her father and try to figure out how she will escape.
Thoughts: Let me preface this by saying this book is very graphic which I didn’t know going in. The author describes abuse scenes in sometimes painful detail and it was hard to get through at times. That said, I did enjoy this book. The author does a great job of capturing the complex emotions and feelings surrounding abusive relationships and you really get a sense of the love, however twisted, Turtle and her father share for each other. There were parts of the novel I thought were a bit too exaggerated but the characters are complex and interesting and the plot is unlike anything else I’ve read.
Would you recommend it? Yes. If only because the reviews for this book are so mixed – either people love it or hate it. It was nice to form an opinion of my own. However, if you have a hard time with violence then I wouldn’t recommend it.
88 reader: Kait Ward, PR Account Manager
The book: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The TL;DR version: A Dystopian novel about a future that we always said would never happen.
Thoughts: I had originally read “The Handmaid’s Tale” in grade 9 English and remember being one of the few kids in my class that liked it. Although my memory was foggy on it, I knew I had enjoyed it at the time. When all the hype about the TV adaptation came out I figured I should re-read it before the show started up. Obviously I got lazy and totally forgot to read it and watched the show instead. As a woman in a world that sometimes feels dystopian, I had a much stronger reaction to the story the second time around, so I read the book again (just to really hammer it home). The writing is powerful and the story feels pretty topical, so I’m happy to see a resurgence in its popularity. If you have the time, check out some of the more recent reviews of the show and then read the original New York Times review from 1986.
Would you recommend it? 100%
88 reader: Morgan Craig, Senior PR Manager
The book: Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine
The TL;DR version: Chronicles the life of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner – his rise and fall, and the evolution of the magazine. Wenner enlisted investigative reporter Joe Hagan to pen the biography using his own archive, which includes more than 240 interviews and conversations with pop culture legends like Hunter S. Thompson, Mick Jagger, Annie Leibovitz, and Bob Dylan – just to name a few.
Thoughts: My reading list this year was filled with memoirs and non-fiction, so I’m ending 2017 with an engrossing one that covers everything from celebrity culture and rock n’ roll, to ambition and addiction. Apparently, Jann Wenner doesn’t like the way his biography turned out. He doesn’t want us to read it, which of course means, I want to read it even more.
Would you recommend it? I haven’t read it yet (it’s on my Christmas list – Mom, I’m looking at you), but if Vogue‘s review isn’t enough to capture your attention, I don’t know what will: You’ll most likely get the impression that life at Rolling Stone was not like life at most other places of employment. That is, unless your company also had more than one in-house drug dealer, a freelancer who introduced himself by popping into the office wearing a bubble wig and drinking from a six-pack while jabbing himself in the stomach with a needle, and an owner–editor in chief who was smoking, snorting, and sleeping with both men and women—oh yeah, and the odd guest appearance from Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Nicks, Courtney Love, or Bono.”
88 reader: Jamie Gillingham, PR Account Manager
uch Small Hands by Andrés Barba
The TL;DR version: The short of the long is that Marina is an orphan who convinces the other girls at her orphanage, night after night, to take turns pretending to be a doll so that the they all have a toy to play with.
Thoughts: It’s horrifying, and based on a few lines from Clarice Lispector’s 1960 short story, “The Smallest Woman” in the World that reads: “Having no dolls to play with, and maternity already pulsating terribly in the hearts of those orphans, the sly little girls had concealed another girl’s death from the nun. They hid the corpse in a wardrobe until the nun left, and played with the dead girl, giving her baths and little snacks, punishing her just so they could kiss her afterward, consoling her.”
Would you recommend it? Yes!
88 reader: Andrea Pace, Marketing Coordinator
The book: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The TL;DR version: This story takes place during and after Aberham Lincoln’s son Willie dies. True historical accounts combine with a completely fictional plot told by a bunch of ghosts in a graveyard.
Thoughts: I love books that don’t follow your typical beginning, middle, end, chapter format, making Lincoln in the Bardo super cool. Large chunks of the book are actual first person accounts, and excerpts from the news at the time of Willie Abraham’s death, so you’re getting all the different perspectives: true historical accounts and the fictional story of these notable ghosts as they wander in limbo. It may take a chapter to understand the layout and what you’re actually reading, but it’s worth the extra brain work.
Would you recommend it? Hell yes.
88 reader: Erica Salvalaggio, PR Account Coordinator
The book: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The TL;DR version: This book is a journalist’s investigation into the death of 24-year-old Christopher McCandless; a ridiculously intelligent young man who grew up extremely well off, but chose to sell all of his possessions and venture…into the wild. The book outlines Chris’ journey (and boy, it’s an intense one) from his home in Georgia all the way to Alaska (where his body was discovered in an abandoned bus). The book also outlines Jon Krakauer’s experiences as he investigates Chris’ life and untimely death.
Thoughts: First, this is non-fiction, so if you’re not okay reading about real-life tragic deaths, this isn’t for you. But I love the outdoors, and stories centred around the wilderness are Jon Krakauer’s forté. Also, his writing style makes you want to keep reading. Krakauer makes sense of an upsetting story so that readers (and the protagonist’s family and friends) can better understand what happened and are able to learn from it. Also, you’ll get ALL THE FEELS — sadness, happiness, distress, excitement. You may even cry. I did.
Would you recommend it? Yes, 100%. Also while you’re at it, read Into Thin Air, my fave Jon Krakauer book. (Both of these have also been adapted into movies, just FYI).