Decompressing is an essential part of a healthy work-life balance—especially for the hustle & bustle life of agency employees. One of the ways our Spawners wind down is by settling in with a good read.
This month, they’ve unpacked pages related to personal growth, American history, mystery, fantasy, and the occasional kid’s bedtime book from our Spawn parents. Check out what we’re reading below—and let us know if you’ve read any of them yourself!
Director of Creative Technology
“I’m rereading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F###, and my wife just ordered Do the F###ing Work: Lowbrow advice for High-Level Creativity. I also just got a children’s book as a coffee table book called P is for Pterodactyl because I think it’s hilarious, but not really a read haha.”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
by Mark Manson
In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. (Amazon)
Do the F*cking Work
by Brian Buirge
A wake-up call for creatives who need that inspiring kick to finally create the thing they’ve been meaning to make, while celebrating the journey of trying, learning, and failing. (Amazon)
P is for Pterodactyl
by Raj Halder
Let’s get real―the English language is bizarre. A might be for apple, but it’s also for aisle and aeons. Why does the word “gnat” start with a G but the word “knot” doesn’t start with an N? It doesn’t always make sense, but don’t let these rule-breaking silent letters defeat you! (Amazon)
“Here are three that are on my nightstand: The Terminal List by Jack Carr, The Soul of America by Jon Meacham & The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson.”
The Terminal List
by Jack Carr
On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government. (Amazon)
The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels
by Jon Meacham
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham helps us understand the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear. (Amazon)
The Last Days of John Lennon
by James Patterson
The greatest true-crime story in music history, as only James Patterson can tell it. (Amazon)
“A Little Life, it can be really sad at times but also so good.”
A Little Life: A Novel
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. (Amazon)
“I just read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, which I found very enlightening re: human relationship with nature. I’m listening to Radical Acceptance, which so far is basically like an intro to Buddhism. I’m also reading Under the Banner of Heaven, which I recommend for any true crime fans. It’s written by the phenomenal author who wrote Into the Wild and is about a double homicide in a fundamentalist Mormon community. Also, I read a copywriting book called Copywriting is… by Andrew Boulton, which was great but probably a little niche.”
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit
by Daniel Quinn
Winner of the 1992 Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, Ishmael is a unique and captivating novel that has earned a large and passionate following among audiences and critics worldwide. One of the most beloved and best-selling novels of spiritual adventure ever published, it is the story of a man who embarks on a highly provocative intellectual adventure with a gorilla – a journey of the mind and spirit that changes forever the way he sees the world and humankind’s place in it. For this special anniversary edition, the author has written a frank and informative introduction in which he discusses the worldwide Ishmael phenomenon. (Amazon)
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha
by Tara Brach
“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” says Tara Brach at the start of this illuminating book. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgments and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork – all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled. Radical Acceptance offers a path to freedom, including the day-to-day practical guidance developed over Dr. Brach’s 20 years of work with therapy clients and Buddhist students. (Amazon)
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
by Jon Krakauer
This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes listeners inside America’s isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God. (Amazon)
Copywriting Is…: 30-or-so thoughts on thinking like a copywriter
by Andrew Boulton
Copywriting is easy. Copywriting is hard. It’s frustrating, rewarding, draining, thrilling and, in almost every way, a lot of fun.
It’s also the job Andrew Boulton has been doing, writing about, and teaching others to do, for more than 10 years.
Now, he’s gathered up all the experiences, observations, lessons, fleeting successes and crushing failures he’s accumulated in that time to help copywriters, new and old, come to terms with the baffling life of an alphabet wrangler. (Amazon)
“I just started a book called Once Upon a River by Diane Satterfield. “
Once Upon a River: A Novel
by Diane Satterfield
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed. (Amazon)
“I’ve been trying to finish The Book Thief for a year, but it’s too sad.”
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. (Amazon)
Account Management Intern
“I’m about to wrap up Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo and I’ll be reading Six of Crows next.”
Run and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, 3)
by Leigh Bardugo
Soldier. Summoner. Saint.The nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
The Darkling rules from his shadow throne while a weakened Alina Starkov recovers from their battle under the dubious protection of the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Now her hopes lie with the magic of a long-vanished ancient creature and the chance that an outlaw prince still survives.
As her allies and enemies race toward war, only Alina stands between her country and a rising tide of darkness that could destroy the world. To win this fight, she must seize a legend’s power―but claiming the firebird may be her ruin. (Amazon)
Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .(Amazon)
Director of Project Management
“I’m reading Where the Crawdads Sing—about 5 years past when everyone else did… ha!”
Where the Crawdads Sing
by Della Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. (Amazon)
“I am reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”
Half of a Yellow Sun
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. (Amazon)
“My will-be coffee table book (once I get to move in) is Nothing You Don’t Already Know by Alexander Den Heijer. Short compilations of reminders about meaning, purpose, and self-realization.”
Nothing You Don’t Already Know: Remarkable Reminders About Meaning, Purpose, and Self- Realization
by Alexander Den Heijer
‘Nothing you don’t already know’ is a brief guide to making the most of your life. It’s for everyone who wants to take on the journey of fulfilling their potential and live a deeply meaningful life. In 2015, Alexander started sharing his writings about life on his Instagram page. This book holds a selection of his most popular quotes and writings that have already positively impacted thousands of people. Alexander’s teachings are about living with purpose, overcoming fear, facing yourself, and making a difference.This concise handbook is full of remarkable reminders about meaning, purpose, and self-realization.The title refers to the idea that if you learn something profound, it’s not as if you have learned something new. Rather, it’s as if something is being unveiled to you that you have always known. (Amazon)
Business Development Specialist & Account Supervisor
“I’m reading Rules of Civility by Amor Towels and No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Rules of Civility is UHMAZING and I’m digging No Country so far. I just recently finished Fran Lebowtiz’s This Metropolitan Life and Social Studies—these are AWESOME if you have my sense of humor (often dry and satirical). Lastly finished Seth Rogen’s Memoir, Yearbook, yesterday which is a ton of fun and easy reading/listening if you’re into audiobooks.”
Rules of Civility: A Novel
by Amor Towels
On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. (Amazon)
No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy
In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law–in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell–can contain.As Moss tries to evade his pursuers–in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives–McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. No Country for Old Men is a triumph. (Amazon)
The Metropolitan Life and Social Studies
by Fran Lebowitz
Humorous book about life and social customs of New York. (Amazon)
by Seth Rogan
Hi! I’m Seth! I was asked to describe my audiobook, Yearbook for websites and shit like that, so…here it goes!!!
Yearbook is a collection of true stories that I desperately hope are just funny at worst, and life-changingly amazing at best. (I understand that it’s likely the former, which is a fancy “book” way of saying “the first one.”)
I talk about my grandparents, doing stand-up comedy as a teenager, bar mitzvahs, and Jewish summer camp, and tell way more stories about doing drugs than my mother would like. I also talk about some of my adventures in Los Angeles, and surely say things about other famous people that will create a wildly awkward conversation for me at a party one day. (Amazon)
President and CEO
“I’m reading Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War; beautifully written and the audiobook is lovely to listen to.”
A Soldier of the Great War
by Mark Helprin
Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro’s experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it’s a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family. (Amazon)
“I’ve been listening to The Martian by Andy Weir. Planning to listen to Marauder by Clive Cussler.”
by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit – he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? (Amazon)
Director of Strategy
“Water Mask from my mother-in-law Monica Devine—check it out—great read about Alaska adventure. And it’s even dedicated to my son.”
by Monica Devine
We all hold up a mirror to ourselves to make sense of the past, examine our present and develop dreams for the future. In Water Mask, Monica Devine maps out a life in Alaska that explores issues of the human heart: fear, spiritual longing, memory, perception, loss and wonder. She skis woodland trails with her baby on her back, navigates sea ice with Beaufort Sea whalers, and flies close to the ground in rogue weather with a rookie bush pilot. She negotiates the death of her father and the near loss of her cabin on the shape-shifting Copper River. In these captivating stories, Monica reflects on family, the importance of place, her work in Alaska Native villages, and more….all told against the background of a cold northern landscape that both rejects and beguiles. (Amazon)
Associate Media Director
“My Kindle book right now: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Meyers; my next read: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett”
The Giver of the Stars
by Jojo Moyes
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So, when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them – and to the men they love – becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity, and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: Bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives. (Amazon)
The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, Southern Black community and running away at age 16, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her Black daughter in the same Southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for White, and her White husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. (Amazon)
“Not sure if this counts… Mommy, Carry Me Please! by Jane Cabrera (on repeat every night for River’s bedtime).”
Mommy, Carry Me Please!
by Jane Cabrera
Animal mothers of all kinds carry their babies in different ways. Mommy Hippo’s baby is on her back. Mommy Lemur’s baby is on her tummy. Mommy Monkey’s baby is on her tail. And Human Mommy’s baby is in her arms. With vibrantly-colored illustrations, this simple tale is a warm celebration of motherhood in its many forms. (Amazon)
VP, Media Director
“The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See is what I am reading now.”
The Island of Sea Women
by Lisa See
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point. (Amazon)