What to Read Next: Books Recommended by Mercy Home Coworkers

What to Read Next: Books Recommended by Mercy Home Coworkers

Reading is something many of Mercy Home’s kids enjoy! In addition to being a fun pastime, it also improves children’s concentration, vocabulary and language skills, and helps develop imagination.

Our kids aren’t the only avid readers at Mercy Home. Our coworkers also love reading! And, if you’re like many of us, you’ve had some extra time to cross some books off your reading list and are wondering what to read next.

That’s why we asked some of our coworkers to share and recommend books they have recently read and enjoyed. You might just find your new favorite!


Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Untamed is a book of stories about Glennon’s life and how certain experiences have helped her to be her most authentic self by “untaming” who she was told she had to be growing up. It primarily addresses the challenges that women face as they are told to act a certain way in order to fit their gender role, but the book does a great job of encouraging authenticity and bravery for anyone, as well as how to be true to yourself even if it’s an unpopular opinion with everyone else.
–Megan McGuire, Coordinator-Post Secondary Options

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
I have enjoyed The Testaments, which is the second book after The Handmaid’s Tale. Certainly not uplifting but really well written and engaging. It took my mind off the craziness of the real world!
–Mary Patton, Education Coordinator

Extreme Ownership—How the U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
This book was recommended to me by a coworker, who’s read it a few times over. It’s a great book for those who are looking to manage others as well as help manage themselves. The stories are taken from actual combat missions and explain how military leaders took ownership of both victories and losses. In turn they became better leaders both on and off the battlefield. The authors have worked with large company executives to discuss how their strategies and leadership methods can be applied to the workplace.
–Joel Sanchez, Manager of IT, Systems Administrator

American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz
I recommend this book because it gives insight into the lives of families from different parts of Chicago and how they’ve been impacted by violence in some way. Many stories are similar to the youth and families we work with at Mercy Home (and one youth featured in the book actually lived at Mercy Home). It also provided a new perspective on the unique grief that mothers experience. 
–Liz Kuhn Tomka, Vice President of Education and Career Resources

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Let the Great World Spin follows the lives of several characters who all either witnessed or heard about a tightrope walker walking between the World Trade Center buildings in 1974 and the ways their lives become interconnected in various ways.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
This is a satirical novel that examines ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City. It centers on three main characters and a British expatriate journalist. These are my favorite fiction books.
–Mark Schmeltzer, Director of Communications

Still Life by Louise Penny
I highly recommend listening to this series—there is excellent narration via Audible. This book is a police/murder mystery based in Quebec, Canada, in a little town called Three Pines. It has excellent character development over the life of the series and is modern, but quaint due to locations and the characters.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
If you saw the movie, don’t worry about it—the book is 1000 percent better. I promise! It is a mystery/romance book based in New Jersey. The main character, Stephanie Plum, is an inexperienced bounty hunter in Trenton, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend is a police detective whose grandmother likes to curse Stephanie with the Evil Eye. There is also Ranger, a former special-ops “security” specialist that supplies her with vehicles (this makes more sense as you go along in the series). Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur is a riot! 
Christine Sanborn, Director of Finance

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I read The Goldfinch recently. It’s about a teenage boy who experiences trauma. From the unexpected transitions that result, he finds meaning through the relationships and love in his life, with the anchor of the Goldfinch painting by his side. 
–Kari Sikich, Director of Admissions and Clinical Development

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The Omnivore’s Dilemma explores our food choices and how what we eat not only determines our health but also our survival as a species. This book will radically change the way you think about food.

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordan McKenzie
While creativity is crucial to business success, even the most innovative organization can quickly become a “giant hairball,” which contains a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, traditions, and systems, all based on what worked in the past. McKenzie, who worked at Hallmark Cards for 30 years, talks about how he inspired colleagues to escape the bonds of corporate normalcy and rise to orbit. This book is great for creatives who feel contained by the corporate structure.

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
All the choices we make define us and shape our lives. Iyengar explores how and why we choose things and how much control we have over what we choose and how our choices have far-reaching consequences. It is an amazing look into the psychology behind consumer product positioning and purchase habits.
–Lynn Storey, Director of Direct Marketing

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook—What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing is one of the books we recommend that our coworkers read as they are being onboarded to their roles working with our kids. This book explores how trauma affects a child’s brain, as well as shares how understanding the science of the mind and the power of love and nurturing can help heal a wounded child’s spirit.
Emily Neal, Vice President of Organizational Development 

Atomic Habits by James Clear
It’s a book about the importance and power of habits. It dives into the impact both good and bad habits have on our lives, why it’s so easy to develop bad habits, and gives actionable steps for both breaking a bad habit and implementing a new habit. It’s a great way to start thinking about your own habits!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This is part of a trilogy and is a great book for anyone who enjoys fantasy and wants to escape the real world for a little while. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the faerie world, and while it’s clear to see the parallels to the original story, it definitely has its own twist. 
Jasmine Ramos, Digital Marketing Specialist 

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
My program managers and I started a book club during this time and we’re reading this book. I wanted to take advantage of this time to reflect on our leadership styles, challenging ourselves to be more vulnerable, and identifying how we can grow, support each other, and effectively lead our teams when we return to work.
–Susan Hackney, Director of Boys Campus Programs

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way is a book/workbook that can help you recover your creativity. Cameron’s approach guides readers to uncover problems that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to reach self-growth and self-discovery.
–Stef Jones, Manager of Digital Marketing

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