Women Of The Channel 2015: My Favorite Novel
Summer Reading List
It might be hard to believe but today's leaders in the channel still find time to tear through a good book. As part of the 2015 Women of the Channel project, we asked each of the honorees to tell us about their favorite novel. Just in time to help you pick you out some reading material for the beach, here's a sample of the responses.
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"Sarah's Quilt" by Nancy E. Turner is set in the 1920s and follows an incredible woman through multiple losses (children, husbands, house, cattle, etc.) that would normally crush a person but she thrives and perseveres. This, during a time when women were expected to have children and be wives, not run a cattle ranch and provide for others. Alone, she defends her family and friends and when she had lost almost everything, gave to her neighbors so they could survive. Her strong will and selfless commitment to those around her was incredibly inspiring.
Hands down, my favorite book is "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts" by Gary Chapman. Not only does it help you better understand your personal relationships, but I feel like it can bring much-needed insight into developing professional relationships as well. Through lessons learned by the book, I've been able to improve team communication while also identifying gaps in communication, increase my understanding of how each person contributes to the bottom line, build authentic connections, spot unique personality advantages and conduct more productive meetings.
My favorite novel of all time is Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." It's a story of a businesswoman who is smart, capable and, most importantly, fully accountable for her actions. The characters and the philosophy really resonate with me. Who is John Galt?
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"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell writes of surrounding elements, birth dates, and more to point out that these points could have an impact on how successful a person is. This includes access to people, equipment, buildings or even technology. We all say from time to time "It is all in who you know" or "Being in the right place at the right time," and Gladwell illustrates how these sayings do have a direct impact on someone's success. While passion, drive and determination also need to be present, there are other factors that have a significant impact on someone's success.
"To Kill a Mockingbird." I read this book in high school and still enjoy it today. It teaches valuable lessons to never judge a book by its cover and lessons about standing up for what's right -- even if others or the system are against you. It really speaks to how strong racism was at this time and how broken our court system was. This book is a reminder for our children and their children to remove racism from this world. And though it is nowhere near what it was back then, racism still exists in this world today.
"The Outsiders," a story by S.E. Hinton about a gang of boys who find themselves on the outskirts of regular society. It's not a classic, but it was the first book I started reading and just couldn't put down. It was required reading in the 7th grade. I remember our English teacher challenging us to guess the sex of the author. Of course, because it was about a gang, we all guessed it was a man, but it was written by a woman, which was the first lesson I learned about not always putting individuals into gender boxes.
Lisa Del Real
My favorite work of fiction is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. Oftentimes signs present themselves in life and point us in the direction of our "Personal Legend" (our maximum potential and purpose in life). We unknowingly or chose to ignore them. This book opened my eyes to them and prompted me to notice signs in life. Like Santiago, the main character of the book, I challenge myself to discover, pursue and achieve my "Personal Legend." It's a book I read at least once a year to help me find clarity and refocus when life becomes hectic.
My favorite novel is "All Quiet on the Western Front." The novel follows the experience of a young German soldier during World War I. The story spoke to me because I was struck by the soldier's experience in light of what I learned about the origins of WWI. If you've ever studied the genesis of WWI you know about the "Willy-Nicky" telegrams and the dramatic miscommunications that occurred. This book is meaningful because it highlighted the importance/role of effective communication and cross-cultural understanding and the dire effect when neither of those things occurs.
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"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. It addresses the "what if I could go back" thinking that many of us experience. It reminds me of the importance that today will quickly become tomorrow's yesterday and that every day offers new possibilities and new opportunities to create legacy.
"The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner. This is one of the most beautifully written novels that I have ever had the opportunity to read. It was the reason that I chose an English Literature major in college. Faulkner allows the reader to get into the minds of the characters. Each chapter allows a new character to tell their side of the story, a story of their childhood, and also gives a voice to those in society that were not typically empowered to have a voice during the time that the book was written, namely women.
Elizabeth (Liz) King
"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien. This novel was one of the most complex and interesting stories I have ever read. The novel trilogy comprises good and evil, love and friendship, teamwork and bravery, loyalty and compassion, adventure and the commitment to a quest, all contained within an incredibly described and detailed fantasy world. It helped shape my creative side, the need for courage in life, and my love of fantasy epics.
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"The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children" by Steven W. Vannoy is a remarkable story of Steven's personal journey of success spiraling to near suicide and his journey to find fulfillment and perspective on what he values most in life. Steven walks the reader through his personal struggle and accomplishments and offers guidance on how to live life with honesty, integrity and compassion. It is a book I often reread to find the tools I need to have healthy and fulfilling relationships at home and in the office.
"The Joy Luck Club." It is about a group of first generation Chinese American women and their life stories. It is meaningful because the book touches on so many aspects of life and reflects the joy and struggles of immigrants and women at large while it transcends culture and humanity.
My favorite novel is "The Hunger Games." The lead character is a strong female who conquers the odds by using her strength and intelligence. While it's obviously not a real-world scenario she's working through, I think she sets a great example about how women are just as capable as men.
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. I loved experiencing the author's sense of freedom and risk through his travel, quests and relationships and was fascinated with Kerouac's writing style and how it really emulated the true nature, energy and emotion of the beat generation. This novel reminds me that sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind and just go experience the world. Be free.
"Eat, Pray, Love" was a book I enjoyed because it combined my passion for travel, love of great food and my belief that we need to keep a spiritual element in our lives to feel fulfilled and in balance. As well as the message that you can't truly love another person until you learn how to love yourself is something that I fundamentally believe. And of course the author also had a terrific sense of humor. She was able to laugh at herself as she narrated the story. It was a feel-good book that inspired and entertained at the same time.
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"Gone With the Wind." Reading about the transformation of Scarlett O'Hara from a prim and proper, privileged brat to finding determination and gumption to overcome every horror and cruelty that came her way was inspiring. She truly dug deep down to find the tenacity and have the wherewithal to take care of her entire family and others as well. She was ruthless and hard when she needed to be. She was inspiring and showed that there is always hope, never give up and "After all, tomorrow is another day."
I enjoyed "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg. She encourages women to move to the front of the room and assume they have a "seat at the table." It's important to recognize and seize your opportunities.
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"Count of Monte Cristo" is my favorite novel because it shows the jealousy and pack mentality of three gentlemen when they realize another one of their peers has everything they have ever wanted and will never have -- a beautiful fiancee, newly named captain of a ship and the money associated -- and what they do to destroy him. The story depicts the main character's ability to live through the torture and become whole again to create a new life, as well as seek revenge. It's a fantastic novel about human character and the good guy winning in the end.
My favorite novel is "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. It's a classic good vs. evil story and highlights the difficult choices we sometimes have to make in life. It is beautifully written and it tackles complicated and complex subjects: abortion, class and race. It also stresses the importance of home and family, no matter how unconventional.