Unsurprisingly, the Library’s new CEO and Chief Librarian Marcellus “MT” Turner is a voracious reader. He keeps lists of books he’s read, books he wants to read, and books he’s started and hopes to resume. And he doesn’t always do the reading – since childhood MT’s enjoyed being read to, and today he listens to audiobooks while driving. He’s even been known to take a few extra laps around the block just to finish a chapter. Here are a few of the titles – and what he told us about each – on his current lists:
Mama’s Boy: A Story from our Americas, by Dustin Lance Black
I love to know backstories, and this memoir is from the screenwriter and political activist best known for writing Milk, the story of Harvey Milk, and for his part in overturning California’s Proposition 8. This is his own story, of growing up gay and Mormon in Texas with a disabled mother who supported him and taught him about survival against all odds.
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
The author spoke in Seattle while I worked there, and I read this book before meeting her. It’s such an interesting way to tell a story. The book is about two sisters in 18th century Ghana, told entirely by their offspring. One sister marries into royalty, the other is imprisoned and sold into slavery. I really enjoyed the format and timeless relevance of the story, and I’m looking forward to reading another novel by Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom.
The Prophets, by Robert Jones Jr.
Typically I read to escape, and I like books that I know will have a good ending. So much in life has an uncertain ending, sometimes we just need a happy one. This book breaks that rule. It’s downright scary, yet so compelling. It’s the story of two gay, enslaved men on a Deep South plantation. A friend in California leads a multi-state book club, and he recommended it. I’m terrified and intrigued at the same time, and I can’t imagine a good end to this story.
Leadership Fables by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni has written eleven books about leadership, teamwork and organizational health. My two favorites are Getting Naked, about shedding the fears that sabotage client loyalty, and Death by Meeting, about replacing the waste and frustration of bad meetings with environments of engagement and passion.
Management Courage: Having the Heart of a Lion, by Margaret Morford
This is a book for people in leadership roles, but useful to everyone. I really appreciate the call to action about taking on challenges that might be uncomfortable.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
This is my latest North Carolina read, and I really enjoyed it! A debut novel about a woman accused of a crime in a small coastal community. A great story in a fascinating setting.
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, by Thomas L. Friedman
This book is a reflection on globalization by a New York Times columnist. The author speaks to the interdependency of cultures over time, and how every person is needed to make the world work.
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty
I don’t typically read thrillers, but I saw a promotion about this book and had to give it a try. It’s about the kidnapping equivalent of a chain letter – children are kidnapped, and the only way to save them is to kidnap someone else’s child. I couldn’t finish it, but if you like thrillers this one is absolutely terrifying.
Ask a Native New Yorker: Hard-earned Advice on Surviving and Thriving in the Big City, by Jake Dobkin
This is an excellent book for flipping through – funny but also factual, and I’ve been checking with a friend who lives in New York, it seems to be accurate!
Company, by Max Barry
A satire of corporate America, this book takes on the challenges of a widget-making factory, with a surprising twist.
The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
These books are brilliant on so many levels – not the least of which is the level of detail included in a completely imagined universe. I never tire of them, I love that they’ve inspired so many young people to read, and I especially love the audiobooks, read by Jim Dale.
Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault, by Cathy Guisewite
The creator of the Cathy comic steps into prose with this collection of honest, funny essays about “the panini generation” – women simultaneously caring for both parents and children.
The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
An intense, compelling story of two boys sentenced to a horrific reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs
The author spent 388 days following all 800+ rules outlined in the Hebrew Bible, while living in modern-day New York City. I also really enjoyed The Know-it-all, Jacobs’ account of reading the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica.