For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED reading. As a kid, the Scholastic School Book Fair was my favorite day of the year. I got a New York Times weekend edition subscription for my birthday in middle school. Choice to read or play outside? No question – always read. I even have two book tattoos to prove it! I guess it was no surprise that I set out for a career in public relations where I would have the opportunity to read and write every day.
Since the beginning of quarantine, I have noticed an uptick in my reading. It’s hard not to make time to crack open a new novel from my ever-growing pile of books when my biggest commute of the day is from my bedroom to my living room. My colleagues agree – out of those who took a recent staff survey on the topic, 80% of Coyners read at least 1-3 books since March. Coyners rated mysteries as their favorite type of books, with thrillers and romance tied for second. Stacey Cooney shared how this time has really expanded her horizons outside of thrillers, resulting in her finishing sci-fi, historical fiction, drama and romance books. Reading has also helped some of us stay connected to our friends who we have been unable to see in person for months. In fact, Lindsey McGowan and her friends started a virtual book club. Alyssa Cosentino has used quarantine to reacquaint herself with reading physical books, making the switch from listening to audiobooks during her commute to the office. Nothing beats holding a real book!
Reading isn’t just a hobby for us in public relations, though. Whether you’re diving into a new mystery story, or reading a romance novel from the best-seller list, reading helps keep us creative. It allows our minds to escape the daily monotony of being quarantined at home for months and envision a whole new way of life based on characters within the books. Immersing yourself in an unknown story can help you see the world differently and activate our creative side. If anything, we’re sharpening our skills for the next campaign launch or new biz pitch!
For anyone else looking forward to enjoying a few new books while relaxing down the shore or by the pool this summer, I’ve compiled a few recommendations from myself and some of my co-workers.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This book is my all-time favorite and a few colleagues agree. Daisy Jones & The Six is a fictional story recounting a 70s rock group and their infamous breakup, with a fascinating but troubled lead singer at the center of it all. This book is written unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I especially recommend Daisy Jones & The Six to anyone who, like me, has been severely missing out on concerts and live music during quarantine.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: One is the best thriller I’ve read in years. The Silent Patient tells the story of a famous painter who shot her husband and then refuses to speak another word. This psychological thriller takes you on a journey right up until the very last chapter – with so many surprising twists along the way. This one is a favorite among my co-workers as well! Just trust us on this one: read it.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I immediately ordered this book after seeing countless recommendations from Coyners raving about it. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet (next on my list!), but I hear Where the Crawdads Sing is a tearjerker. It’s a coming-of-age mystery that reminds readers that we will always be shaped by our childhoods.
Long Live the Tribe of the Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden: For those who enjoy memoirs, or really anyone that is looking for a compelling and different type of story, pick up essayist Madden’s Long Live the Tribe of the Fatherless Girls. I ordered this book on a whim after following Madden on Twitter for a while and it ended up being my favorite quarantine read. Madden reveals intimate details of her childhood and how it was growing up as a biracial teen who was living a life that looked extravagant on the outside, but was plagued with addiction and uncertainty on the inside.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood: This book was a bestseller in 2016 and I finally got around to reading it during quarantine. A mix between romance and a coming-of-age story, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is both heartbreaking and so well-written. Set in a poverty-stricken Midwestern town, the story follows a young girl named Wavy who forms an unlikely bond. This is the type of book you will speed through in a few beach days.
The staff survey made it clear that I’m not the only one in the office who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Rob Schnapp’s recent favorites include American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum and Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. Jaclyn LaSpata loved I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara during quarantine—a perfect suggestion for true crime fans—and Stacey Cooney recently flew through The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James. Coyners also recommend Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng; Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan; Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter; 11/22/63 by Stephen King and Becoming by Michelle Obama. There’s something on the list for everyone!
Have you read any new books during quarantine that you would add to your favorites list? Let us know! When we are all safely back in the office, I think it’s time to reboot the Coyne Book Club.