Alas, summer is upon us, the mercury is headed north and many of us are headed east to the mountains or west to the beach to escape Sacramento’s sometimes squelching heat. Since we will all need a book or two to read as we fly or drive to our destinations (or if we are instead staying home, to kill time while the networks are all on reruns), your friends at Sacramentality thought you might appreciate a recommendation or two, so we enlisted some of our friends, civic leaders from around Sacramento, to provide them. Feel free to share your thoughts and your own recommendations in the comment section and be sure to log your books at the Sacramento Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge.
President, Sacramento State
“A closed mind, an expert’s mind, is not open to innovation and experimentation—a closed mind does what it has always does. Today’s world’s problems cannot be solved doing what we have always done. We must be open to possibilities and to change.”
Chef and Owner, Mulvaney’s B&L
“Two old friends talking about love and happiness. And needling each other at the same time, a great read.”
Channeling Patrick’s recommendation both Councilmembers Angelique Ashby and Eric Guerra say The Book of Joy is at the top of their summer reading lists.
Councilmember, City of Sacramento
“The Wisdom of Sundays is my all time favorite inspirational book. I have read it many times, loaned it out, given it as a gift and recommended it to anyone who will listen. Each time I read it I imagine myself having coffee with Oprah and asking her tons of questions about what she has learned in all her interviews and experiences over the years. This book feels like advice from a friend. It’s inspiring and hopeful and honest. Easily my favorite reread.”
Executive Director, Sacramento Public Library
“The gods are at it again. Hermes and Apollo wonder if animals imbued with human intelligence and communication skills will be happier at life’s end or if that intelligence will simply lead to misery. Fifteen dogs in a veterinary clinic and readers everywhere are given the opportunity to find out.”
Executive Director, Nehemiah Foundation & President Sacramento State Alumni Association
“My favorite book is authored by Jim Collins, Good to Great. What is even better, there is a smaller version for us Do Gooders, Good to Great for Social Sectors! Collins states ‘The difference between successful organizations is not between the business and the social sector, the difference is between good organizations and great ones.’”
Tahoe Park & YMCA Advocate/Gadfly
“I read this book once a year, because even though I work mostly in the non-profit space, there are many good practices and processes that successful businesses use to create efficiencies and scale up. High recommend it to anyone who feels like they’re working hard but not moving in a positive direction or encountering too many setbacks.”
Vice President, Sacramento Republic
“I have a five year-old daughter and seven year-old son. Most of my recreational reading revolves around ‘Big Plans’ By Bob Shea. In fact, that book was a contributing factor to the creation of Republic FC. That read is much more interesting than my numerous recommendations about sports business analytics!”
Although perhaps we are usually short on opinions, the Sacramentality team offered some recommendations of our own as well:
Parks Commissioner, City of Sacramento & Senior Researcher, California Research Bureau
“Light enough to consume at the beach before swimming, split into bites that can be enjoyed despite interruptions, Tim Harford tells the tale of how inventions as diverse as barbed wire, infant formula, double-entry bookkeeping, leaded gasoline and index funds have fundamentally transformed the world we live in in ways most could not imagine. Whenever I pick up this book, ideas begin simmering about the way different ingredients transformed the recipe that is modern life.”
Ann Land & Bertha Henschel Memorial Funds Commission Commissioner, City of Sacramento & Lobbyist, The Quintana Cruz Company
“Be eerily reminded of elements of the current political system, and keenly aware of our tendencies to follow rather than lead. A great read and reminder of the power of opening our eyes and taking a look around!”
Ethics, Transparency & Good Governance, City of Sacramento
“The History of Water in California is the history of California. This is a fascinating, and surprisingly quick read at almost 800 pages, that thoroughly and clearly describes the water wars, (politically, legal and violent) and how water has shaped California and its population growth.”
Father of Boys
As the author I’ll choose to exercise a point of personal privilege here and recommend a second book as well. Every night my oldest son Henry picks two books to read before bed. One he chooses frequently is The Lorax and I love that among the last words he hears before drifting to sleep many nights is, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
With that, I leave you with a short poem and my sincerest apologies to Dr. Seuss:
So catch! Cried Sacramentality, as we let something fall.
It’s a list of books.
The best books of them all!
Choose a new book. Read it with care.
Read it near water. Or in a room with conditioned air.
Read it online. Protect it from hackers that hack.
Then the autumn and all our wonderful weather
may come back.
Summer Book Club Supplement
In addition to her recommendation, Councilmember Ashby shared with us her entire summer reading list from last year, which we thought our readers might enjoy:
“My favorite summer read last year was First Women. I read this one over our family vacation along the California coast. It was fantastic. If you are at all curious about the type of relationships First Wives of our Presidents have with each other and with their staff and their husband’s staff, this book will be a delight.
The stack of books (plus First Women) is my summer reading list from last year. All are great. I recommend any of them – it just depends on what you’re looking for.
I like Nicholas Sparks when I want to read a love story or cry or disappear into fiction (I like Jennifer Weiner too for that purpose – but I didn’t read any of her books last year, probably because I have read most of her work already).
Calm is another great book to read and reread – it will help you feel relaxed (there is a companion meditation app to this book, also called Calm, that is a fantastic tool for slowing down and taking note of all that is happening in our lives).
Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is great (better than you might think). I am already a bit of a minimalist so this book speaks to me – but it’s worth a read if motivation to organize and reduce clutter are on your to do list.
Little Book of Lykke is a study into happiness across countries and communities with analysis of what makes neighborhoods happy. It’s interesting and full of creative concepts from across the globe. I enjoy these type of reads because they feed my desire to think beyond our current measures.
All of these books are good reads for different reasons. Each one fed my spirit in one way or another. Should you choose to take one in, I hope it does the same for you.”