December 2020 Book Highlights

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thunberg

“In 2018, then 15-year-old Greta Thunberg boycotted school to stand in front of the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change. Since then she has become known for her harsh criticism of the failure of world leaders to address the global crisis. Greta has joined a list of historical figures with breathtaking accomplishments at a young age because of her brave actions: Joan of Arc at 17, Mozart at 8, Alexander Hamilton at 22, Mary Shelley at 20, Malala Yousafzai who is now 23, just to mention a few. Greta’s second book, aptly titled “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference” and published in 2019, is a collection of her most striking speeches. Though you may have heard her deliver many of these before, this book is an inspiring reminder that there is still hope for collective action to make a positive and necessary change in the world.”

The Margot Affair – Sanaë Lemoine

A debut novel by 30 year-old Sanaë Lemoine, published earlier this summer. We loved this book and can’t wait to see other works by this young author. Born out of a secret affair between a dazzling, but bohemian stage actress and a high-profile politician, 17-year-old Margot is a high school student in present-day Paris, on the cusp of adulthood, trying to navigate complex and unconventional relationships with her parents and other adults. A beautifully written book with plenty of drama and excitement, but also a nuanced and wise exploration of a young woman’s inner life.

Emergent Strategy- Adrienne Maree Brown

In this book, adrienne maree brown imagines a framework by which humanity can transform our systems and organizational philosophy: namely by embracing the constancy of change and by changing oneself. She roots the theory and practice of emergent strategy in natural systems, like water, which persistently adapts to its surroundings, and fractals, complex geometric patterns created by repeating a simple process ad infinitum. Emergent Strategy demonstrates that by accepting the flux of change in our lives we can become more resilient. That by growing our roots horizontally and together, instead of solitarily downward, we can withstand catastrophe. And that the changes we make at the individual level echo and reverberate across larger systems. So many books on climate change suggest that action must be taken at the largest scales: political reform, international agreements, and transitioning industries. While all of these endeavors are necessary for mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis, adrienne explains that these larger processes begin with the individual. Although our actions may just be a drop in the ocean, each drop creates ripples that affect a multitude of others. Emergent Strategy suggests that perhaps the best way to address climate disaster and other societal crises is for us to learn from the natural world and to “be like water.”

The Song Of Achilles – Madeline Miller

“I’m a sucker for retellings of classic myths, so when I stumbled upon The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, I had to check it out. This book went above and beyond all my expectations and reading it was unexpectedly painful, in the best possible way. I already knew the tale of Achilles and how it ends, yet they way the story was told pulled on my emotions so much that I was still genuinely moved by it.
I’d give the story 4.5/5 stars because I found it to drag a bit in spots. Overall, I loved this book and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes Greek mythology or romance.”

The Innocent – David Baldacci

David Baldacci’s The Innocent is a nonstop, action-filled thriller that still manages to be a touching character story. It follows the story of Will Robie, a professional killer for the US government. During a mission in DC, Robie, for the first time in his life, can’t take the final shot. However, as he hesitates, unsure of whether to pull the trigger, bullets fly through the window, ending his targets’ life. Put in charge of investigating the murder he bore witness to, Robie discovers that the situation is more complicated, and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Along the way, his path crosses with a tenacious 14-year-old girl named Julie who is on the run after the violent deaths of her parents. Robie takes Julie under his wing, and they develop a bond that is the emotional heart of this story. Baldacci’s intricate plot, captivating action, and snappy dialogue keep readers on the edge of their seats while his relationship-building between characters helps spur satisfying character arcs. While the tangled web that is Baldacci’s plot can sometimes be slightly confusing, The Innocent by David Baldacci is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys mysteries or espionage thrillers.

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