For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading. Growing up in the days before e-readers and cell phones, I would often read by flashlight long after my parents thought I was asleep.
I fondly remember an old episode of The Twilight Zone with Burgess Meredith as bank teller Henry Bemis who would sneak away to the vault where he could read uninterrupted. One day while safely in the vault, there is a nuclear explosion (remember – it was the 60s!) and he is the only apparent survivor. As he stumbles through the ruins of the city, he realizes he is standing in the middle of the public library. Everywhere he looks – nothing but books. His despair turns to joy when realizes he now has unlimited time and unlimited books! As he happily gathers and sorts the books, he stumbles and his glasses slip off his face, hit the steps and shatter. Holding his glasses, he shouts at the sky, “That’s not fair! I finally have time!” a classic Twilight Zone twist.
Hopefully, summer allows you plenty of time to read without locking yourself in a bank vault! And, in case you need reading inspiration, we asked our Bridgeworth family to share their favorite books. Let us know what you are reading.
For more ideas of things to do this summer, be sure to read Patti Black’s Designing Your Summer.
Bridgeworth 2017 Summer Reading Recommendations:
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Submitted by Patti Black, Partner
Better Than Before provides tools for developing better habits – for eating, sleeping, exercising, spending, saving, or giving. Rubin makes a compelling case for why habits are important: “Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control.” In other words, I don’t have to decide whether to exercise each morning if it is already my habit to do so, thus giving me more self-control later in the day to avoid eating the entire pan of brownies my 15-year-old daughter made. Gretchen Rubin is also the author of a couple more of my favorite books, “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home.” Because if Mama ain’t happy…
Blindness is the story of a society in chaos. It begins when an illness suddenly strikes leaving people totally blind – in their cars, on the subway, at work, or school. It strikes without warning leaving everyone vulnerable and fearful. The afflicted are quickly quarantined and soon left to fend for themselves as every fabric of society breaks down. Throughout the story, one character retains her vision and she remains the reader’s guide. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Blindness is serious but with a sense of humor and examines all aspects of human nature – the best and the worst of people. Note: there was a movie made based on the book, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the essence of this powerful story.
Burning Bright by Ron Rash
Submitted by Jeff McCormack, Partner
Burning Bright is a collection of short stories set in the hills of North Carolina, in times spanning from the Civil War to the present day. Each story is a page-turner, whether the hero is a poor farmer who can’t stop his henhouse eggs from being stolen, a gravedigger of Civil War veterans, a soldier’s widow, an arsonist’s wife, or boys who find a body in wrecked airplane, Ron Rash’s words wrench the reader’s gut and clench the reader’s fists. The characters and their struggles will stick with you for days.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Submitted by Kelli Taylor, Administrative Assistant
In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of packed ice and only a day’s sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Endurance is the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton’s fateful trip, and Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.
Hope Heals : A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine & Jay Wolf
Submitted by Carmen Snyder
After attending Samford University in Birmingham, AL, Katherine and Jay Wolf married and ventured far from home to Los Angeles, CA in pursuit of their dreams. In the Fall of 2007 they welcomed a son, James, to the world and just 6 short months later, their lives changed in an instant. April 21, 2008, while baby James slept soundly in the other room, Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke. Miraculously, Jay came home in time to call for help and Katherine was immediately rushed into brain microsurgery. Her chances of survival appeared slim, yet she survived the intensive surgery in which part of her brain was removed. In that moment, there was a spark of hope. That spark fanned into a flame as she battled 40 days on life support in ICU and 2 years in full-time brain rehab. Defying all odds, Katherine, with Jay always at her side, relearned how to walk, talk, and eat. After returning home with a severely disabled body, she and Jay committed themselves to celebrating this gift of a second chance at life. In the midst of hardship and struggles, they found a hope that heals the most broken places: our souls.
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
Submitted by David Ward, Financial Advisor
Into Thin Air recounts the events surrounding the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, when eight climbers were killed by a rogue storm. In the spring of 1996, Jon Krakauer, a writer and accomplished alpinist, was sent by Outside Magazine to document the growing commercialization of Mt. Everest. What starts off as a story about a unique cast of characters on a legendary mountain, turns into a desperate story for survival. Krakauer delights and terrifies, all the while making you want to strap on a pair of crampons and journey to the Himilayas. This story provides you a glimpse at real-life courage and incredible sacrifice, all for the glory of standing on top of the world.
The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
Submitted by Cinda Goldberg, Laura Hinton, Advisor, and Kelli Taylor, Administrative Assistant
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. It is a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.
Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum
Submitted by Julie Ellis, Director of Marketing & Business Development
Nine Lives is a biography of Hurricane Katrina told through the lives of nine colorful individuals who have called New Orleans home for more than 40 years. Their stories are as varied as their experiences living through Hurricane Katrina: an upper class attorney and socialite living in the Garden District, a racially prejudiced New Orleans cop, the wife of the godfather of the modern Mardi Gras Indians living in the Ninth Ward, a high school band leader, a streetcar-track repairman and former Black Panther, a bar owner in the French Quarter, a trumpet-playing coroner, a nurse on duty at Memorial Medical Center, and a petty criminal. We all watched the news coverage of the massive flooding and destruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but Nine Lives tells the actual story of those who lived it and provides a glimpse into what makes New Orleans magical and why so many were determined to return and rebuild.
Rebel Yell: the Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne
Submitted by Zach Ivey, Chief Investment Strategist
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the epic New York Times bestselling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic national hero. Rebel Yell is a great biography of an amazing and interesting man. If you have never read a civil war book, Rebel Yell is a great book to try.
Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins
Submitted by Laura Rhoades, Associate Advisor
A book of poetry may not be at the top of your list for summer reading, but this is one you should consider. Collins’ poetry is accessible and easy to read; a delightful experience. His poems take both the simple, ordinary things of everyday life and give them depth and magic, while also bringing simplicity to the complex moments. I also found myself smiling or lightly laughing at his wit and sense of humor infused throughout his work.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
Submitted by Peyton Jones, Planning Coordinator
Shoe Dog is the story of how Knight grew tired of the normal blue collar job in his early 20s. He asked for $50 dollars from his father, which he used to buy a few pairs of shoes and started selling them out of the trunk of his car at local high school track meets. The book gives you the journey from car shoe salesman to the head of Nike as we know it today.
Tools for Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris
Submitted by Zach Ivey, Chief Investment Strategist
This book is a great book to pick up anytime you have 15 minutes. Pick a person interviewed and learn what they do and things that work for them. You may find some nuggets that work for you.
The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
Submitted by Brian Hinson, Managing Partner, Huntsville
The Traveler’s Gift is a work of fiction, but is in essence, a self-help book. It outlines seven decisions for success and illustrates the power of positive thinking.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Submitted by Donna Byrne, CCO
David McCullough continues to earn his title as a great historian, going into depth to examine the personalities, quirks and passions of these two brothers who, at first glance, would seem to be the most illogical persons to have invented the first viable flying machine and then spearheaded the aviation movement. McCullough expertly reveals how their focus on inspiration in nature, experimentation, willingness to make errors and learn from those mistakes while suffering personal deprivations drove them to achieve what, up to then, had been the impossible. Throughout, McCullough’s admiration for Orville and Wilbur is clear.
Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance by Tony Dungy
Submitted by Brian Hinson, Managing Partner, Huntsville
What does it take to lead a life of significance? Indianapolis Colts and Super Bowl winner Tony Dungy outlines his beliefs of what it means to lead a life of significance – a path characterized by attitudes, ambitions, and allegiances that are rare but rewarding.