We work hard here at Salted Stone, but we also know how to kick back and enjoy a good book.
I asked my colleagues what books they read over the summer, and received recommendations across a number of genres — historical fiction, memoir, sci-fi, and more. Here are the books that topped the Salted Stone reading list this summer, and what our team had to say about them:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NgFiction
In this dramatic portrait of suburban Ohio in the late 1990s, a single mother and her daughter become entangled in a bitter, town-wide disagreement around issues of race, class, and motherhood.
My sister recommended Little Fires Everywhere to me, so I borrowed her copy. What stood out most to me about the book was Celeste Ng’s exploration of class issues through the behavior of the upper-class family in the novel.
– Michelle Chu, Director of Technology
The Sparrow by Mary Doria RussellSci-Fi, Speculative Fiction
Published in 1996, this sci-fi novel imagines humanity’s first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. Two narratives, taking place in 2019 and 2059 respectively, follow a family struggling with faith and morality.
I'm a sci-fi nerd — I love world building and far-out concepts that challenge my beliefs about what's possible with our technology, ecosystem, star system, and beyond. While The Sparrow is a fulfilling read for those reasons, it also brought so much humanity and theology into a "first contact" novel, concepts typically cast aside to make room for bigger-than-life ideas. These characters were roommates of mine — I went to bed each night with their motivations, pains and successes on my mind, and continued to emotionally chew through their tale long after the final page was turned.
– Matt Scolinos, Account Coordinator
Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James A. MillerBusiness, Oral History
With insight from founders, agents, and actors, award-winning journalist James A. Miller chronicles the rise of the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) — one of the most prominent talent agencies in Los Angeles history.
This book contains fascinating and unbelievable stories that reveal what was happening behind the scenes in the last 40+ years of pop culture. Reading about smart people working their butts off and building something successful was incredibly motivating to me. It helped me think a little more about the big picture of what we're building here at Salted Stone. Being in client services, there were definitely some relatable stakes and drama recounted in the book.
– Dave Cornman, Account Management Team Lead
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William FinneganMemoir
William Finnegan is an international journalist and staff writer at The New Yorker, but he’s also a surfer. From his childhood in California and Hawaii to his worldwide adventures later in life, Finnegan’s memoir isn’t just about surfing — it also dives deep into self-reflection and sociopolitical commentary.
I read this book for the historical context as it relates to surf, travel, and adventure. William Finnegan recounts tales of the previously unexplored places people sought to find, the phenomenal waves, and the adversity faced to reap the rewards of uncrowded and often exceptional surf. They found these places with zero technology, just janky maps and sometimes a story told over a beer in some faraway town.
– Tim Shepard, Account Manager
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCullochLinguistics
Memes, the evolving meanings of punctuation, how online communication can imitate face-to-face conversation — linguist Gretchen McCulloch covers these topics and more in her exploration of Internet language.
Gretchen McCulloch writes about the internet with the viewpoint of a linguist, treating Internet communication as a use of language, rather than ‘decoding’ or defining it. She makes fascinating observations about how tweets, social media, and other types of online discussion have parallels to existing speech, and the ways that conventions of online language are used consistently and coherently inside communities. It’s a great reminder that any audience you’re looking to target exists as its own micro-culture with a dialect all its own.
– Lyndsay Peters, Account Manager
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensHistorical Fiction, Mystery
This novel spans 1952 to 1970 in the swamplands of North Carolina, and weaves together protagonist Kya’s coming-of-age story with the mystery of a young man found dead.
Summer may be over, but it’s not too late to get in some reading on the beach, in a hammock, or by the pool. Grab one of your favorite reads (or a new one from our list!) and enjoy!
I decided to read Where the Crawdads Sing because a coworker recommended it, and it was also selected for Reese Witherspoon’s book club. There were so many things I liked about the story. It spans a long period of time, so you become really invested in the characters — and there’s even a murder mystery element that keeps things exciting. I completely fell in love with the main character, Kya, and her determination to overcome any circumstances. I highly recommend this read!
– Paige Sander, Public Relations Team Lead
I was at home back in June, and my mom had a pile of books that I sifted through. Where the Crawdads Sing caught my eye with its Reese Witherspoon book club sticker. The summary itself hooked me from the get-go (any true crime story with a touch of romance, count me in!). Once I was a few chapters in, I couldn’t put the book down — and to find out it was the author’s debut novel made it that much more impressive.
– Shae Callahan, Account Manager