National Read Across America Day

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seed factory book photo

When was the last time you read something? Not a tweet or an Instagram caption, or the TL;DR summary at the bottom of a long block of text – but something worth reading. Something that held your attention, or captured your imagination or transported you to a different place or time.

We have never had more access to the written word, but we’ve also never had less time to enjoy it. Half of the problem with reading is figuring out WHAT to read. That’s where Seed Factory comes in – we love to read. We think it makes us smarter, more thoughtful, more creative and even more empathetic towards our clients. To be honest, reading is an important part of our job.

Today is National Read Across America Day, an annual reading awareness and motivation program held on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. It’s a day for motivating kids to read, but when was the last time someone pushed YOU to pick up a book? Don’t let kids have all the fun! To that end, we are recommending the best books we’ve read recently, or some of our all-time favorites. Read on to see our picks:

Angie Maddox, Partner
I just finished reading an amazing book for book club called The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I literally couldn’t put it down until the end. It’s a mystery/suspense novel about a reporter who is covering a luxury cruise on a small ship. The reporter witnesses a woman being thrown overboard during a storm – but the next day, no passengers are missing. It’s a book with a lot of twists and suspense – perfect for escaping for a little while, and totally addictive to read.

I’m now reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. It’s a guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness and the feeling of a safe experience. The reader learns how to experience joy the Danish way. It’s a fascinating philosophy and a great read.

The Little Book of Hygge cover art

Mark Sorensen, Partner
I don’t get the chance to read for pleasure much, and when I do, I tend to read books about business or other random nonfiction. One of my favorites The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. It’s a fascinating look at different people and how their habits have influenced their lives; some are successful people you’ve probably heard of, and others aren’t well known but have interesting stories. Basically, it helps you understand how habits work, how they are formed and how they can be used to make changes in your life or at work.

Another book that I always recommend to people that I work with in the marketing and advertising industry is Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries. It’s a classic book on marketing that’s basically required reading for anyone in our line of work.

the power of habit cover art

David Kim, Senior Designer
I love comics and graphic novels, so most of my recommendations will be familiar to people who enjoy the genre. If you haven’t read graphic novels before, these three are great starting points. First is The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, the guy who also wrote 300 and Sin City. The Dark Knight Returns inspired much of the Dark Knight movie trilogy and Batman vs. Superman – Dawn of Justice. I like Frank Miller’s highly-stylized writing and illustration style; the dialogue he creates has an almost Lobo feel thanks to the weird slang he comes up with and the way he writes about action. I think the main reason I love this series is the cool theme of death and rebirth – there’s a twist in the finale when you think Batman’s story is at its endpoint, but it sets the foundation for a whole new adventure.

Second is The Killing Joke by Alan Moore. I am more of a Marvel fan, but for some reason I’ve always liked the DC graphic novels better… This one reimagines the origin story of the Joker, following Moore’s pattern of breaking established laws and taking readers on a journey in which the past seems like it was just a dream and the story takes place in a usually grim reality. The dynamic between Batman and the Joker is so fascinating; they mirror each other and almost become the other’s reason to exist. It’s very “yin and yang,” and the story often blurs who is on the side of good. That’s the premise of this story and it’s one of the reason’s the novel’s last frame is so brilliantly designed.

Finally, I’d also recommend Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. Miracleman has a long history of legal troubles between Marvel and DC, starting out as Captain Marvel and transforming to Marvelman before finally settling as Miracleman. He started out as a very wholesome character typical of the 50’s, like Superman. In this version of his story, and typical of Moore’s style, Miracleman’s past appears to be a dream and he lives life as a normal human. One day, he realizes that his past wasn’t just imaginary and is transformed from his alter-ego into Miracleman, but he still must deal with his normal everyday issues. I thought about Miracleman the first time I watched one of the Matrix sequels, when Neo and Agent Smith are fighting in the air with lightning in the background. It’s just like a major showdown in the Miracleman series.

the killing joke cover art

Ali Rosenberger, Senior Account Executive
One book I finished recently is The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes – it’s a historical novel that simultaneously follows characters living in occupied France in the early 1900’s as well as in modern-day London. I really like Jojo Moyes’s writing style (you may recognize her name from Me Before You), but more specific to this book, the dual-story line and well–developed, strong female characters had me captivated from beginning to end. It was one of those books I was almost sad to finish.

I am also reading In the Garden of Beasts now, which is non–fiction about the American Ambassador to Germany and his family’s experience when they move to Berlin during Hitler’s rise. Can you tell I’m kind of a sucker for wartime stories?

the girl you left behind cover art

Henri Hollis, Senior Account Executive
Currently, I’m reading Nudge by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, a non-fiction book that’s basically an introduction to Behavioral Economics. I don’t read many non-fiction books, but I became really interested in Behavioral Economics thanks to the great podcast Hidden Brain, and I wanted to learn more.

On the fiction side, I got on an incredible hot streak last year and read three books in a row that completely rocked my world. The first was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical novel about World War II. After I finished it, I watched Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and The Pacific all in quick succession because it gave me a new appreciation for that era. Next was The Goldfinch, a novel about a young man coming of age while in possession of a priceless painting that he acquired as a child in the wake of a tragedy. Third was The Orphan Master’s Son, which I describe to people as the Forrest Gump of North Korea, but much less cheerful. All three novels have won the Pulitzer Prize in literature, so whenever I need a new book, I usually look for a Pulitzer winner that I haven’t read yet. I won’t say that’s been a failsafe way to find books that I love, but it’s had a pretty high success rate for me.

the orphan master's son cover art

Tyler Merritt, Graphic Designer
I’ve got to go with the classics – The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I don’t think these books need any explanation, but it’s amazing how they can grab and keep the interest of both kids and adults. Fantasy is the perfect genre for activating your creativity.

the lord of the rings trilogy cover art

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