Recommended Reading:

I have been trying to read more, and the trips I’ve been taking recently have helped. I have recently finished reading: Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks), Beautiful Ruins, The Engagements and Reconstructing Amelia.

Likeable Social Media

Overview:

“Yes, you do have to be liked by everyone!

Real friends communicate with honesty, listen closely, and aren’t afraid to admit when they’re wrong. If you want to succeed in social media, you have to behave the same way.

Likeable Social Media provides 18 strategies for creating an authentic “brand personality” through Facebook and other social media platform.

Dave Kerpen, a leading thought leader in social-media marketing, reveals the secrets to building a brand’s popularity by being authentic, engaging, and transparent on Facebook and other social media sites. You’ll learn the same methods he has used to successfully redefine the brands of a number of large companies, including including 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Neutrogena, and Verizon FiOS.

Complete with serious strategies communicated with wit and humor, Likeable Social Media is the definitive source for using social media to win new customers, gather valuable feedback, and increase the bottom line (Barnes and Noble).”

My Review: I read this book for the first time when I managed social media for Levo. I reread it when I started consulting. My copy is underlined, annotated, highlighted and dog-eared. The advice is helpful but the action items are what really make the book standout. This format makes it easy for the reader to apply the advice right away. I highly recommend this book.

Beautiful Ruins

Overview:

“From the moment it opens—on a rocky patch of Italian coastline, circa 1962, when a daydreaming young innkeeper looks out over the water and spies a mysterious woman approaching him on a boat—Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, Beautiful Ruins is gloriously inventive and constantly surprising—a story of flawed yet fascinating people navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams (Barnes and Noble).”

My Review: This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed how all of the seemingly unrelated stories were woven together – in the end it all made sense.

The Engagements

Overview:

“From the New York Times best-selling author of Commencement and Maine comes a gorgeous, sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.

Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.

As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.

A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America, and the way—for better or for worse—these glittering stones have come to symbolize our deepest hopes for everlasting love (Barnes and Noble).”

My Review:

J. Courtney Sullivan has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read Commencement during the spring break of my senior year of college. I had the pleasure of hearing J. Courtney Sullivan speak at one of Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Happier Hours. Courtney spoke about her tips for writers. One thing she said that really stuck with me was that writers are always working on their stories and collecting memories and experience that might be put to use years later. Courtney explained that the story line with Evelyn and Gerald was actually inspired by a story shared by a couple she’d met at a wedding years and years before she wrote the book. Courtney also shared how much research and time went into understanding Mary Frances Gerety, the ad writer who is responsible for the ad slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.” She interviewed Mary Frances Gerety’s living friends and family and even went to her former home. She and the new homeowner looked everywhere for more answers about Mary Frances Gerety’s life and finally, on Courtney’s last day, she found a box of her notes and belongings in the attic. I was so excited to read the book after hearing from the author and I highly recommend it!

Reconstructing Amelia

Overview:

“Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is shocked when her daughter’s exclusive Brooklyn private school calls to tell her that Amelia—her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old—has been caught cheating. But when Kate arrives at Grace Hall, she’s blindsided by far more devastating news: Amelia is dead. Despondent, she’s jumped from the school’s roof. At least that’s what Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. It’s what she believes, too, until she gets the anonymous text: Amelia didn’t jump. Now, Kate is going to find the truth—no matter where it leads. Sifting through Amelia’s e-mails, text messages, and Facebook posts, Kate reconstructs the pieces of her daughter’s life and the people in it, uncovering why she was on Grace Hall’s roof that day—and how she died.

A superb blend of Tana French and Jodi Picoult, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, friends and bullies. It’s about how well any parent really knows their child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save (Barnes and Noble).”

My Review:

I literally couldn’t put Reconstructing Amelia (Kimberly McCreight) down. The book was a combination between Gossip Girl (Cecily von Ziegesar), Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn), Pretty Little Liars (Sara Shepard), Private (Kate Brian), and Twelve (Nick McDonell). Reconstructing Amelia was a thought-provoking and emotional mystery exploring the heavy topics of losing a child, school bullying, elite institutions, parenting, adolescence, secrecy, adultery and entitlement. Read it!

One thought on “Recommended Reading:

  1. Pingback: Must Reads: CNN’s Top Books of 2013 | Disorganized Trimmings

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