Our team likes to find inspiration all over the place. Some of our more voracious readers (or audiobook listeners) have shared what they’ve been reading or listening to over the last few months, and why you might want to read that book, too!
Title: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert
This book was a text assigned to me by my Communication Studies capstone course instructor during my undergraduate years, and admittedly, I didn’t read it in full at the time; nevertheless, I’ve kept the book over the years. And now that I’m currently affianced, I figured I could “blow the dust off it” and use it as a preparatory tool for my dawning marriage.
The book centers on friendship as the cornerstone of working marriages, and leveraging the friendship between partners as a support to help materialize the dreams of both individuals.
You might enjoy reading this book if you want to better understand what may be the core of conflicts between romantic partners, colleagues, friends, and family members. The book posits that perpetual conflict that centers on the same topic (i.e., gridlocked conflict) “is a sign that you have dreams for your life that aren’t being addressed or respected by each other.”
Title: The Age of Thrivability
I was drawn to this book because the notion of organization as organism makes sense to me at an intuitive level, and I am interested in material that illuminates aspects of this idea. The Age of Thrivability examines four basic building blocks required for a living system to thrive and applies them to people, organizations, and social systems. The four named foundational building blocks for a living system to thrive are:
- Divergent parts
- Pattern of relationship
- Convergent whole
Given where we are as a country and society, I keep thinking about this book because it seems there are some really useful ideas for how to work with our divergence more beneficially than we have previously.
You may want to read this book if you’re interested in how organizations work, how they might work better; and how patterns play out in differing areas of life, or if you would like to gather ideas for how we can thrive together.
I was drawn to this book after many friends recommended it, but wouldn’t tell me anything about the plot or the content. That made it too intriguing to resist.
I keep thinking about how rare it is in the modern world to go into something (e.g. reading a book, a television show, a museum, anything) and not have any idea what you’re immersing yourself in. Piranesi requires curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a willingness to let yourself explore the complete unknown. It was unsettling, and also beautiful, to experience. I felt turned over by reading it in a way that’s hard to explain. I also keep thinking about reading a book like this during a global pandemic when we’re all in isolation and grieving a loss of community. It doesn’t feel like it’s spoiling too much to share those themes of isolation and grief are omnipresent in this book.
You may like to read Piranesi if you want to experience something bewildering and beautiful, you want a short book – (I read it very slowly over a day), or if you want to practice the feeling of being a novice in the world again.
Title: Braiding Sweetgrass
I was drawn to this book because way too many people recommended it to me. Sometimes that’s a good sign it’s time to read something.
I keep thinking about how much I’ve learned about how humans have destroyed the environment, and how little I’ve learned about the ways that we can live in reciprocity with the earth. The indigenous knowledge that Robin Wall Kimmerer shares reminds me of our beautiful potential to live in positive relationship with the land and other plants, animals, and people.
Others should read this book if they like prose that reads like poetry and want to find miracles in the mundane.
Title: Undercurrents of Power: Aquatic Culture in the African Diaspora (The Early Modern Americas)
I was drawn to this book because whenever I watch swim competitions or participate in events that require swimming, I do not see many people of color and Indigenous folks whose ancestors and heritage are from islands and lands surrounded by bodies of water participating. I have wondered about this for quite some time.
Although I have not finished the book yet, what I have read so far talks about the history of swimming and its cultural and spiritual meaning to Africans before, during, and after the days of slavery in Europe and the Americas. Many accounts from merchant-adventurers, historians, and slaveholders from the fifteenth through the nineteenth century speak about the swimming and diving abilities of African-descended peoples, which they observed to surpass those of mostly white Westerners who could not swim. At present, the tables have turned. Learning that slaveholders and colonizers used water as punishment, and that plenty of slaves [who were strong and talented swimmers] intentionally drowned themselves in the Americas to die so they can be freed from slavery, is an eye-opener for me.
Others should read this book if they want to learn about the history of swimming through the lens of inequity, justice, power, privilege, and oppression. This may also be of interest to those who want to learn about the impacts of colonization, slavery, oppression towards black, indigenous, and people of color in present-day sports and recreation.