AMACOM Reads: Our Staff’s Summer 2016 Round-up!

We’re proud of all of our books, but they’re not the only ones AMACOM staff will be reading on the beach this summer (though, by the way, this year AMACOM has a true beach read in Make Your Own Waves: The Surfer’s Rules for Innovators and Entrepreneurs by Louis Patler). Find out below what we’re enjoying for Summer 2016!


To learn about shifting perspectives, I’m alternating between GRRM’s Clash of Kings, which shifts each chapter, and Clavell’s Shogun, which shifts constantly, but without telescoping out from one person then into another the way Hemingway would [Editor’s Note: check out Stephen’s post on passing the Hemingway test]. I also read the galley for a fun fantasy book called The Facefaker’s Game by Chandler Birch; think Oliver Twist with magic…and more twists. The best book I’ve read so far is Gary Trudeau’s collection of Doonesbury strips featuring Trump, a thirty-year celebration of his monstosity called Yuge! Stephen Power, Senior Editor


My book club, which likes to read longish novels ONLY in summer (when we have more time) is reading What is the What, a based-on-real-life novel about the Lost Boys of Sudan. It’s based on the life of “Valentino Achak Deng who, along with thousands of other children was forced to leave his village at the age of seven and trek hundreds of miles by foot, pursued by militias, government bombers, and wild animals, crossing the deserts of three countries to find freedom” [PRH website]. When he finally makes it to the U.S., that ain’t so easy either. The story is told in a wonderfully circular way, moving back and forth between different incidents and different parts of  his life. —Cathleen Ouderkirk, Creative Director


Sometimes you just need a really good YA. One that pulls you back to the days of first boyfriends and school dances, spray-in hair color and unlikely alliances. That’s what I was looking for this summer: a laugh-out-out portal through time that kept me reading through all hours of the night because I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
If this is what you’re craving, go to the library and snag a copy of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. This book made me laugh, cry, and cringe—sometimes all at once! I probably identified all too well with the introverted protagonist, Cather, who said, “To really be a nerd…you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
You don’t need to be an avid reader of fan fic to enjoy this book. I’m certainly not. But I won’t lie—now I have newfound respect and admiration for that mysterious corner of the internet dedicated to continuing the lives and stories of all our most beloved characters. —Taylor Pitts, Production Assistant


Although interest in baseball seems to be fading these days, in the summer I often find myself picking up books on the grand old game, especially historical ones. One of my favorites is October 1964 by David Halberstam. As young boy, I was devastated by my Yankees unexpected loss to the upstart St. Louis Cardinals in the 1964 World Series. To me, the Yankees were always supposed to win the World Series, but Halberstam paints a picture of an aging, lily-white dynasty staggering to the end of the road. The Yanks manager was their beloved just-retired star, Yogi Berra, who was fired immediately after losing to the Cardinals and replaced by the man who beat him, Johnny Keane. The Cardinals became a powerhouse in their own right, with Hall-of-Famers like Bob Gibson and Lou Brock leading the way. The Yankees didn’t return to the Series until 1976. —Barry Richardson, Senior Development Editor


Just this weekend, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released. Taylor and I went to the midnight book launch party at the largest children’s bookstore in Manhattan, Books of Wonder, to celebrate the return of the best memory of our childhood. It was a magical night, with sorting hats, magician performance, fans in their wizard/witch costumes, and owls. (REAL OWLS.) And the book became my summer read the very same night.
The so-called 8th book of Harry Potter is actually a script for the play created by the author J.K. Rowling, playwright Jack Throne, and theatre director John Tiffany. The story is set 19 years after the battle with Voldemort. Harry’s second child Albus is about to attend to Hogwarts, to start a new life as his father did. Everything seems to be perfect, except the unexpected darkness is already upon Harry and Albus.
I can’t tell you any more as I’ve just begun my journey. So go get your copy and be prepared to explore the familiar but somehow strange Wizarding World of Harry Potter! —Lia Ding, Rights & International Sales Assistant


When you think of summertime reading, The Complete Book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is unlikely the first thing to come to mind, but you might want to give it a chance.  In 14 compact lines (perfect for short attention spans!) you’ll encounter: intrigue, conflict, love: unrequited, romantic, lusty, pure, and sometimes just plain gone wrong:  “Farewell, thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know’st thy estimate.” (Sonnet 87).
While Shakespeare is best known for his plays,  you could think of the  sonnets as miniature plays —with elements of comedy/or drama threading through them, along with the grand themes of time, art, love, immortality.  There are 154 of them, and I still go back to the ones I loved best when I first started reading them (and tried to memorize on long subway rides into the city).
One of the things I like most about them is the imagery; there’s a beauty to Shakespeare’s metaphors. Instead of saying, “Gee, I’m happy when I think about my friend,” he compares his joyfulness at that thought ‘like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth.” (Sonnet 29). What alliteration! You feel airborne! —Therese Mausser, Director of Rights and International Sales


I have a secret weakness for historical murder mysteries set in England that I like to indulge in the summer, and this year I’ve read several books including:

  • Revenge in a Cold River, by Anne Perry, featuring the husband-and-wife team of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt in Victorian London;
  • The series is set in Regency England, but in The Alexandria Affair, by Ashley Gardner, Captain Lacy travels to Egypt and finds adventure, treasure, and murder;
  • Home by Nightfall, by Charles Finch, featuring Charles Lenox, the protagonist in a series of historical mystery novels set in London by an American author;
  • Murder in Morningside Heightsby Victoria Thompson, set in turn-of-the-century New York City (yes, an outlier for me, since it is not in England), follows former police sergeant and his wife as they solve a murder in a prestigious women’s college in Harlem.

Irene Majuk, Director of Publicity


I’m reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a story that begins with two half-sisters in Ghana: one marries an Englishman, and the other is sold into slavery. Each chapter shares the perspective of a descendant of Effia, whose family remained in Africa, or Esi, whose children became slaves in America. The two threads run through generations and into the present day. I don’t think I read a single page without a lump in my throat, but I recommend this book to absolutely everyone–these are vital stories to hear, and even though every chapter introduces a new character, I’ve found each one equally amazing to read. —Janine Barlow, Sales & Marketing Assistant

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One response to “AMACOM Reads: Our Staff’s Summer 2016 Round-up!

  1. Greetings from the library!
    Some good picks on here for my own TBR pile. The Facefaker’s Game and, well, all of Irene’s picks look especially good.

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