As to-do lists get longer and attention spans get shorter, finding time for pleasure reading can feel like a luxury of yesteryear. But diving into a good book can save both your sanity and your data bill. Here’s a few standouts from the last year, curated by yours truly — the Breakwater Strategy team.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Haley Prince, Associate
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton is a captivating memoir that weaves together personal anecdotes, humor and reflections in a masterful way that feels like a heart-to-heart with a dear friend.
As an early twenties reader, I found this read highly relatable as it explores the challenges and joys of navigating adulthood and self-discovery. Alderton’s candid and sometimes brutally honest portrayal of the highs and lows of young adulthood serves as a comfort to those recently thrown into the uncertainties of their twenties.
Regardless of how similar your life looks to Alderton’s, we all have a little Dolly in us, and at the very least she will make you laugh.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Adi Volosov, Associate
In the spirit of reading the book before the movie, I picked up Killers of the Flower Moon. My fascination with history doesn’t stop me from admitting that these types of books may not always be the quickest, page-turning reads, but Grann does a great job injecting passion and verve into this rich history. I particularly appreciated Grann’s deliberate effort to keep the victims and women at the center of the story (which does not happen nearly enough in retellings of this nature)—this adds an invaluable lens of generational trauma and storytelling that enriches the book as a whole.
I admittedly have not yet dedicated the several hours of my evening that would take me through Scorses’s adaptation, but when I do, I’ll take the spirit of the book and be there for Lily’s Mollie.
Resurrection Walk by Michael Connelly
Steve Weber, Partner
Call it lowbrow if you will, but Connelly’s latest Los Angeles crime novel was one of his best, and one of my best reads for 2023. Connelly is this generation’s Raymond Chandler. His writing is stunningly crisp and tight. The man cannot write a boring sentence. The city of Los Angeles is always a critical character in his books (my time living there was cut short by the pandemic, so i find it particularly interesting to see how his LA is even more interesting and alive with diverse characters than my LA had time to become). His plot lines are just convoluted enough to keep you guessing. And since I plan to be a trial lawyer in my next life, I’m getting early instructions on how to do it right. Okay I’ll admit that Connelly’s hardboiled detective Hieronymous Bosch sounds like a cliche – orphaned son of a murdered prostitute, PTSD from his time in Vietnam – his commitment to victims is that ‘everybody counts or nobody counts’. In Connelly’s hands it is anything but cliche, and I dare you not to fall in love with Harry Bosch.
Sister Golden Calf by Colleen Burner
Anurag Andra, Director
Following a pair of sisters who embark on a spontaneous road trip across the scorched (though not quite barren) hills and valleys of New Mexico following their mother’s death, this novella is equal parts quirky – the sisters collect jars of invisible “essence” to sell on the side of the road – and rife with heavy grief and the familiar ache of differences among siblings who love one another. The story’s devices – the jars, a taxidermied calf, and the peculiar artifacts of the desert itself – all can be found on the sides or ends of the road, one way or another. But the road, too, is a thread between the narrator, Gloria, and her sister, Kit, despite the distance they choose to put between them, and the novella is a spool that turns both ways.
As someone who often yearns to read about home, family, companionship, grief, and what it means to have (or not have) those things, I’d recommend giving this a read, which is also to say, taking the trip.
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
Lydie Neill, Director
Everyone has heard the story of this serial killer, whether it be from a docu-series, documentary, podcast or another medium. This book is written for and about the lives he took and scarred, without mentioning his name once. While only inspired by true events, the author centers the story on the Bright Young Women’s lives that were altered due to this psychopath, often described as “handsome”, “brilliant”, and “charismatic.” The sarcasm, wit and heroism for these women is felt in every word. Even if you avoid true crime, this book champions and brings justice to any who have felt victimized or discredited by the glorification of a monster. This was a book I didn’t know I needed to read in the midst of dramatizations and remakes of gruesome murders and tragedies focusing on the villain.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Amy Benziger, Vice President
When this book finished, I sobbed. Not just because it was beautifully written, but because I was so sad I couldn’t keep reading it. I never expected to love a story about video game developers so profoundly! The story is an exquisite exploration of the blurred lines of friendship and romantic love over decades. It’s as if The Course of Love by Alain de Botton and A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara had a book baby. It’s more subtle than the first and less gut-wrenching than the second…a perfect mix of both parents.