The past year and a half have been filled with more plot twists than most novels. This week, The Humphreys Group team members are sharing some of their current favorite books that have been curing everything from wanderlust to screen fatigue.
Diane Bourdo, CFP®, President
As an avid hiker, I’m always on the lookout for long-distance hiking and adventure tales – now more than ever! The Great Alone is Tim Voors’ account of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail start to finish (Mexico to Canada). A 44-year old Dutchman, he leaves his family for 6 months to hike all 4,286 miles of the PCT. His account is full of zany fellow hikers, treacherous climbs, and sublime vistas. There’s also a good dose of reflection, lessons learned, hard won insights – and his artwork. In addition to his watercolors, the book is full of great photographs that will put you right on the trail next to him. It’s a fun and engaging read!
Lexi Olian, CFP®, Director of Financial Planning
Based on research and clinical experience, this book is full of practical strategies for cultivating vitality. Author Dr. Samantha Boardman’s approach is refreshing because she encourages us to go beyond self-reflection and self-care and engage outwardly with our surroundings, our community, and our passions.
Hallie Kraus, CFP®, CRPC®, Financial Planner
One of my favorite podcasts is Anna Sale’s Death, Sex and Money, so when Sale’s first book came out earlier this year, I knew I had to read it. Let’s Talk About Hard Things is what it sounds like: an invitation to navigate fraught topics in a thoughtful and generous way. But rather than offering a formal guidebook, she weaves lessons from her podcast, academic research, and anecdotes from her own life to demonstrate how tough conversations offer us solace, pull us out of isolation, and deepen connection and understanding. If the pandemic has given you time to ruminate about that conversation that you’ve been putting off, this will give you the inspiration to do so.
After spending much of the last year isolated from others, many of us have developed a deeper appreciation for our loved ones, and if you’re looking for a poignant and beautiful family story, I recommend Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart. Zauner, the daughter of an American father and Korean mother, had a tumultuous childhood punctured by clashes with her parents. But when her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she describes in heart wrenching detail how she cared for her mother, how they both worked to heal their relationship, and how she channeled her grief into reclaiming the food and history of her Korean heritage. Their story is proof that it’s possible to reset even the thorniest of family relationships. (Just make sure to have tissues handy.)
Liz Paxton, Director of Operations
Refugees are much in the news at the moment and I am taking a deeper dive with Beyond the Sand and Sea by Ty McCormick, an editor at Foreign Affairs magazine. Ty traces the journey of a family fleeing the civil war in Somalia and ultimately making their way to the USA. But not before several family members spend over a decade in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Dadaab has the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest refugee camp, with 200,000 mostly Somali refugees. Against all odds, the son, Asad, wins a scholarship to study literature at Princeton once he has made it to the States. The book provides inspiration and a “pinprick of light” in the darkness that characterizes most of what we read about the refugee crises.
Like many of us, I was glued to CNN during the recent evacuation from Afghanistan and I watched a lot of Clarissa Ward’s coverage. I thought she was pretty tough and kick-ass so I’m reading her memoir On All Fronts to get an inside look at how she got where she is and what makes her tick. Born of privilege, she forged a path that has seen her reporting from some of the world’s hotspots: Syria, Beirut, Libya & Afghanistan, to name a few. She doesn’t shy away from reporting it as she sees it and has gained great respect in the tight knit world of international conflict correspondents.
Katie Kneuker, Operations Associate
The book that has been my go-to when I need to take a screen break has been, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This thriller is a great option when you’ve realized you spent 8+ hours staring at a computer screen for work or just binge-watched the latest show on Netflix.