Whether it’s fiction or business books, graphic novels or poetry, we think that reading is one of the best activities you can do to stay sharp. Reading promotes better language skills, focus and memory function. Diving into a fiction book can help you develop a better sense of empathy by reading about and understanding complex emotions and it can stimulate your brain in ways that help ward off Alzheimers. And, best of all, reading makes you smarter.
Beyond the benefits, it’s fun! At an agency like Roundpeg, we’re creative people and reading books, articles and stories helps stimulate that creativity. Because we understand how important reading is, we decided to compile a list of what each member of our team is reading right now. You can check out the list below and don’t forget to share your favorite picks with us!
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I’m a sucker for kids at magic school getting into mischief. Young Kvothe is an orphan (duh) whose parents were murdered by a deathless warlock (duh). He’s on a mission to grow up quick, find answers and get his revenge. Sounds like Harry Potter. But Rothfuss aims this fantasy novel at adults, so our intrepid hero and friends are drinking age and attending University.
While the setup and the world are familiar, the story and characters are fresh and sharply drawn. Kvothe is brilliant, witty, ambitious and definitely in love with a mysterious (dangerous?) woman. Dig it.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – If you’ve ever read the book (or heard of the movie) Gone Girl, you’ll recognize the name of the author. Sharp Objects is a thriller that follows the story of a troubled reporter who must return back to her home town to dig up facts about a possible serial killer who targets young girls. Like any good thriller, the main character’s past is unveiled as she tries to uncover the story behind the murders. If you’re into dramatic books or thrillers with a dark twist, this book is for you.
This blog post was somewhat ill-timed for me. I’m currently reading a graphic novel called Kill My Mother, which I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know isn’t a how-to guide. I’ve only read a couple graphic novels, but I was intrigued by reviews of this noir murder mystery by Pulitzer Prize winner, Jules Feiffer. So far the story is equal parts dark and humorous, but my favorite part is the style of the illustrations. Being able to express such emotion through the mostly black and white sketch style characters is no small feat, but Jules makes it work here. I’m excited to finish this and see if the plot is as fantastic as the drawings.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami – I won’t tell you everything because I don’t want to ruin it, but The Wind-up Bird Chronicle revolves around Toru Okada and what he thought was the quest to find his wife’s missing cat. The book’s focus soon evolves into a dark narrative about love, loss and the secrets buried from World War 2. It’s a great read so far and one of those books that you think about for the rest of the day. Fair warning though, the beginning is a little tough to get through, as I’m sure you can imagine, 15 pages detailing a cat search gets a little boring.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark – Someone described this book as “grownup Harry Potter” and the BBC was making it into a mini-series so I was all over it. The physical book is gargantuan, but don’t be intimidated by the size; it offers a detailed glimpse into the incredibly yet sometimes oddly mundane world of “English Magic” (which apparently disappeared for a while in this fictional universe but is now back). The writing style is a mashup of classic English authors like Dickens and Austen and the setting is early 19th century London, so expect lots of gentlemen in wigs, ladies in gowns, horse-drawn carriages and dark, cobblestone alleys full of seedy magicians and soothsayers. It’s a book that will stay with you for a while because of the material, yes, but also because it’s got a ton of pages.
The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams – Although it’s not a novel, or a brilliantly written story, this book is packed with awesome illustrations and explanations of the methods and principles of animation. (That’s a nice way to say that I like the pretty pictures). Richard Williams is best known for being the animation director on Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His incredible understanding of how to represent motion in 2 dimensions blows my mind. I’ve been jumping from chapter to chapter for about 6 months, sketching as I go, and trying to apply his techniques to my motion graphics.
Go out on a limb with me. I’m currently reading To Steal an Ant-Man!/The Price of a Heart! See, I like knowing background information, so before I see the Ant-Man movie (or any movie that is based on a book, for that matter) I want to know the history of the character. These two comics introduce Scott Lang to Marvel Comics. They detail his struggles as a single parent and take the reader through his path to becoming Ant-Man.
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett – To quote the the auther “It was an attempt to do for the classical fantasy universe what Blazing Saddles did for Westerns”. That’s pretty much what you need to know. The Color of Magic is a witty spoof of epic fantasy quest stories.