Creating Connections & Curiosity Through Stories: InkHouse's 2019 Book List

Mar 07, 2019 Tara Munro

The theme for InkHouse this year is connection. Back in January at the culmination of Project Curiosity, we wrote about 10 ways to create connections without using fear as a motivator. Below is a reading list curated by InkHouse to help discover new ways to create meaningful connections and inspire curiosity through fictional and real-life stories. Plus, it’s World Book Day, so happy reading!

Fiction:  

  1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. A book about how the social Internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring for the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.
  2. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. Across the Pacific, Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
  3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. How an unusual heroine named Eleanor struggles to make social connections but finds herself making friends with Raymond and Sammy, two men that work with her. The three become the kind of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living.
  4. Heft by Liz Moore. Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career―if he can untangle himself from his family drama.
  5. Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward. For her third novel, Jesmyn tells the story of Jojo, a young black Mississippi boy raised by his grandparents, who is forced to become a man far before he should because his mother is a drug addict, his father is in jail, and his baby sister needs a guardian.
  6. There There by Tommy Orange. It’s about the wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen and grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide.
  7. What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada. A picture book about finding the courage to nurture an idea and to share it with the world around you to make everything more colorful and beautiful.  
  8. Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. This book is an engrossing novel about three German women after WWII and it includes all the usual big themes of right/wrong, guilt/innocence and revenge/forgiveness.

 

Non-Fiction:

  1. Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott. A revelatory read about the messiness that is life, and the transcendence that is possible when we look at it, and choose love.
  2. Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett. A compilation of interviews from her NPR podcast “On Being” and data that reveals how people on radically different sides of issues and life experiences can come together to make change happen through understanding.
  3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. A Memoir of a family and culture in crisis: a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans.
  4. Letters to Doris by Sunshine Lady Humanitarian Grants Program, Stuart Horwitz and Anita Mumm. A story written from the perspective of the people looking for help because they have nowhere else to turn and in a last attempt wrote letters to Doris Buffett’s Letters Foundation (an InkHouse client). The stories in this book remind us that by taking the time to listen and learn from others, and finding a way to help, you might be able to make their lives better.  
  5. Mr. President: How Long Must We Wait? by our own Tina Cassidy. Her book is about the brutal fight waged by Alice Paul to secure women’s right to vote and her fight with Woodrow Wilson that has oozes of relevance for today. Just out this week!
  6. The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu. An autobiography by this Mexican American who spent time working as a Border Patrol agent. After he leaves CBP he ends up championing the immigration case of a custodian who he meets through his part-time job in grad school. It is a story about how he works to atone for some of the flaws in the system he was a part of.
  7. The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers. It’s about a man who reconnects with his Yemeni heritage through a venture to bring high quality Yemeni coffee to the world market while the country deals with a civil war.
  8. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman. This is a funny, self-aware memoir that touches on privilege and why people continue to visit the frigid, jagged Maine coast.

 

Topics: Storytelling, #ProjectCuriosity, 2019, Connection, #WorldBookDay
Tara Munro

InkHouse’s first ever Storyteller in Residence. A public historian, an art lover, and former curator who has somehow found a home at a PR agency.

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