Favorite Reads and the RIF

Book lists usually pop up during the summer when life is supposed to be lazy and you have hours to read at the beach.  But, really, we’re always busy, aren’t we?  And now we’ve hit December, when work and after-work hours are an equal crush.  Let me suggest this: setting time aside to read a book will ensure the month doesn’t sweep you away.  And with all the holiday travel time, you’re certain to find a few minutes in the airport, on the plane, or on the train to turn a page or two.

To help you on your quest, we’re reinstating the RIF (Reading is Fun) program.  As we begin sharing additional thoughts on the blog, we’ll do our best to give you some interesting reading material with each non-newsletter post.   Here in no particular order, are a few of my favorites, and I’d love to hear what reading you’d recommend for me.

1. The World is Flat – Thomas L. Friedman
In this book, Friedman discusses the impact of globalization on traditional economic concepts.  Friedman encourages innovation and tries to re-instill curiosity and drive instead of the entitlement that’s come as a result of the U.S based economic growth that has recently fallen flat.  The key message: Don’t sit on your laurels: the world is passing us by.

2. The World Is What It Is– Patrick French
This biography is about my uncle, V.S. Naipaul.  I enjoyed it because it was fascinating to read about my own family history, and I found it interesting that in families, it usually takes three generations for things to change or be forgotten.

3. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is an extremely well written book.  I also like that it really gives insight into an entirely different culture.  As you read about a culture in which people have to face political adversity that they have no control over, you get a glimpse of the struggles they encounter as they deal with that adversity.  It makes you think about how some people step up, how some shut down and how others are forever regretful, forever living in the past.

4. Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
This is also an incredibly well written book about the American culture.  Nothing in this story is exactly what it appears to be, and truth is most likely to come from the unlikeliest voice.

5. Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
In this novel, which is set in 1959, a missionary family moves to a village in Africa.  The story chronicles their struggles as they try to do what they believe is the right thing, yet fail to take into consideration the nature of their environment and their surrounding culture.  The book is one of multiple perspectives, and truly makes the reader think about the context of different cultures and belief systems as they apply to influencing others.

Looking for even more ideas?  Click here to view the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2009 list.

Finally, remember that literature is inspiring and transforming.  And you can read more about this idea in Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.  And don’t forget!  We’ll be posting more often, so be sure to check back regularly and share your thoughts in the comments!

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