Summer is more than just beaches and cookouts, but the time of year when the pace of life slows down to offer just enough time to enjoy a good read or two. Some may go for the classics, others may choose more recently published work, and a handful are doers who like to read books that cater towards the hobbyist side in us all — such as guides for woodworking. Here’s a round up of the books that a few members of the Ledbury team have been enjoying this summer.
Rob – Graphic Designer
I’m currently in the middle of two books. One, The Drifters by James Michener and the other, Punch: The Dangers and Delights of the Flowing Bowl by David Wondrich.
The Drifters is a great travel book. It’s set in the 1960s, and is about these kids from all around the world who independently end up in a small Spanish town on the Mediterranean for one reason or another. One is a draft dodger from the U.S., another is a Swedish girl who wanted to escape the 20-hour nights, etc. etc., for all these different people.
Punch is a history of, how-to-guide for, and recipe list of historically significant punch recipes – many of which are some 400 years old. I’m planning on making a punch for my wedding rehearsal dinner in a few weeks.
Elisabeth – P.R. and Events Manager
I highly recommend Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, a VCU alum. It tackles the effects of the Iraqi war on our soldiers and was surprisingly poetic.
Lauren – E-Commerce Manager
This summer I’ve been re-reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. I pick it back up every so often and find it impossible to put down. It’s a beautifully written memoir of her life long friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s a simple story of two “kids” who find each other on the streets of New York in the late ’60 and spend the rest of their lives creating, evolving, but never losing the bond that they’d made. Patti’s writing defines not only an era of New York City that has become so iconic in time, but she recalls the tiniest of details that most of us take for granted in our day to day life with such clarity.
Paul Watson – Co-Founder, CFO
Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus
by Robert Kaplan. Kaplan takes us on a journey into the heart of a volatile region, stretching from Hungary and Romania to the Caspian Sea and illuminates the tragic history of this unstable area that he describes as the new fault line between East and West.
Deb – Digital Marketing Manger
I normally read e-books (Kindle) or listen to audiobooks but since I recently flew to Alabama and they have all these times when you can’t have access to your electronics, I made a point of picking up a paperback. My selected title, which turned out to be the perfect length for the trip there and back, was Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I confess: I cried at the end (on the airplane). So embarrassing.
Eric P. – Customer Engagement Manager
The Lean Start-Up by Eric Reis. It’s about how to learn and get the best possible answers in the quickest way possible in business. It really speaks to how much faster we can change and adapt now than in time periods before.
Beth – Controller
I’m currently reading The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett. It is about a rare book repairer who loses his wife and moves to England where he enters a random used book store and picks up a copy of an old book only to find an 18th century watercolor depicting a picture of his late wife. Thus the mystery begins . . .
Eric W. – Customer Experience
After spending the last 18 months reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the next book on my list is Eric Sloane’s A Reverence for Wood. Woodworking has always been something I’ve loved doing, and one of my best friends who I took woodworking with in high school recommended this read. Also, I always have the newest copy of Beer Advocate lying around my apartment so I can keep up with what’s going on in the craft beer world.
Robbie – Web Development
I’m reading two books this summer. The first, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs: Computational Theory as taught in the MIT course of the same name by legendary computer scientist Harold Abelson. The second is Microinteractions: Designing with Details, which focuses on the small details of how people interact with interfaces and how to design to make those interactions intuitive.
Allison – Customer Experience
I’m reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. It features Fitzgerald’s signature elegant prose and a glamorous setting — the South of France. It was his favorite of his four novels, and follows the ex-pat leisure class and an affair between a young actress and a married older man. The way Fitzgerald writes gives what could be a standard sleazy beach read an eloquent and existential twist.
Mel – Social Media Manager
I’ve been on a crazy Anaïs Nin kick the past few months… her diaries are incredible. I feel like I’m never reading just one thing, so it’s been really interesting to read her diaries alongside of some of Henry Miller’s works. I’ve been picking through Wisdom of the Heart – Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch is next on the list, although I’m pretty sure it’s going to leave me longing for the beaches of California. I also just picked up Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which is, surprisingly enough, about the relationship of the two systems within the mind that drive the way we think. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but it’s been a great read thus far – would highly recommend for those interested in mindfulness and self-awareness.
Audie – Retail Manager
My current obsession is the at home bar, so the books I’ve been reading lately have mostly been about spirits and cocktails. My favorites so far have been Bitters by Brad T. Parsons and The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and illustrated by Chris Gall.
Bitters chronicles the history of the storied elixir from its early renditions as a cure-all to its near fall from favor post-Prohibition as well as its resurgence in the modern cocktail scene. Throughout the book Parson’s enables the reader to geek out on a fairly specialized subject and feel like quite the expert upon completion.
The PDT Cocktail Book is an absolute necessity for both the cocktail novice (like myself), or the seasoned mixologist. Meehan details the history of various cocktail ingredients, spirits, and characters throughout the book with playful illustrations from Chris Gall. With over 300 recipes, this book acts as perfect beach reading with serious staying power as a reference in any at home library.
Tavish – Data Analyst
Upon the suggestion of close friend, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird quickly became my summer read. Bird by Bird covers the technical as well as the personal barriers a writer may face. Throughout her life, Lamott taught writing workshops to writers of all walks and dedicated the content of this book to her workshop style. I brought the book to compliment the writing I would do during an upcoming trip. I figured it would make for a great companion during my 13-hour flight. However, I saved the best parts of the book for my destination: Salvador, Brazil. I found her lessons to be liberating and wrote more in the month of June than I had all year. Consider Bird by Bird as your summer read and you’re likely to have a more productive one.
Brian – Content Coordinator
I’ve spent the better part of the year dedicated to the classic novels that I never got around to reading for one reason or another. I picked up Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea while helping myself to a friend’s bookshelf a couple of weeks ago. It’s been such a quick read (it’s only 127 pages) and similar to Hemingway’s other works, the words are as smooth as butter. Also, my copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain just arrived in the mail last week. It’s about learning to use both sides of your brain through the exercise of drawing to create new and strengthen neurological pathways.
Juliana – Production, Style Counselor
I am currently reading David Sedaris’ book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. He is one of my favorite authors because of his ease of storytelling and humor!
You’ve heard from us, now we want to hear from you. What books have you been enjoying this summer?