What the book? NCA's reading recommendations

Yep, it's World Book Day again and staff from New Commercial Arts have picked some of their favourite tomes

By New Commercial Arts

As World Book Day rolls around again – parents everywhere scream in dismay – few realise that the roots of this celebration stretch all the way back to 1922, when UNESCO launched it to inspire new generations of readers and connect people through books.

The ‘What The Book’ club at New Commercial Arts seeks to do the same, albeit in a smaller way, by creating a community of book lovers and debaters to share thoughts and recommendations.

It all started late last year when the founding members began avidly discussing books – loves, hates, recommendations and offers to lend. They quickly realised that we were on to something that had to be opened up to the rest of the agency, and before they knew it, they had a logo and a slack channel.

It’s relaxed, creative, and fun and connects people from different departments who might not talk otherwise. New members join every month and come from all teams, from Partner to Head of Production to Creatives and Management Assistants, while Zahra Banday leads the deep dives into the nitty gritty of the text. They only ask is that people come armed with thoughts, feelings, and an appetite for their glorious spread of snacks.

Here's some of our member’s top reads:

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini

Recommended by: Zahra Banday (Account Manager)

Reason: This novel is by one of my favourite authors. Khaled Hosseini writes about women through a searing and beautifully painful lens. He discusses the Afghan landscape for what it is, a rich tapestry of history and culture plundered by the brutality of man and war. But even through this, the spirit of these women persists and survives. This book will almost certainly make you cry, but it will also make you reflect on your own womanhood. It is also incredibly topical to the current political landscape with the conflict in Afghanistan and the female led protest movement in Iran—a beautiful and important read.

2. The Little Buddha, Finding Happiness - Claus Mikosch

Recommended by: Alana Herington (NB & Marketing Manager)

Reason: This book opened my eyes during a tough time. It takes you on a journey where a Buddha is introduced to different characters that provide life lessons, helping give perspective on the little things in life that sometimes you neglect/forget.

3. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous - Ocean Vuong

Recommended by: Cara Van Rhyn (Planner)

Reason: This was such a beautifully written book by Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong. His incredibly lyrical writing style made the themes about family, war, poverty, and coming of age even more poignant and truly immerses you into the author's world.

4. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Recommended by: Georgia Dickinson (Head of Production)

Reason: A book based on gamers, not for gamers. It's beautiful and heart wrenching and a wonderful story about family, friendship, escape and the underdog.

5. Sorrow & Bliss - Meg Mason

Recommended by: Alana Herington

Reason: An easy read with a difficult storyline. A portrayal of a woman living with an all-consuming mental illness without the author ever specifically mentioning the exact diagnosis. A must-read in understanding mental health and those living with a lifetime illness.

6. Small Things Like These - Claire Keegan

Recommended by: Rosie Crombie (Management Assistant)

Reason: One of the most powerful and beautifully written books I can remember reading - just over 100 pages; I read it all in one afternoon. Set in a small Irish town in the mid-eighties the story centres around one man's courage to do the right thing. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming.

7. A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara

Recommended by: Jess Pacey (Creative)

Reason: This book!!! It's utterly breath-taking and heart-breaking in equal measure. I didn't know if I wanted to cry or scream at how heavy it was (the story, not the actual book, although it is quite a chunk). Even when you're not reading it, you'll think about it. This powerful, moving, and unforgettable story is a gut-wrenching tale of a friendship between four men that spans over decades. Probably the most emotionally draining book I've ever read, but worth every minute.

8. I Am Pilgrim- Terry Hayes

Recommended by: Jess Pacey

Reason: It's an absolute page-turner! You won't be able to put it down. This book tells the intense story of a man on a mission to save America from an end of the world scale disaster. Not my usual read, but if you've not read it, you absolutely should.

9. Any Human Heart - William Boyd

Recommended by: Janki Shah (Account Director)

Reason: I read this book last year, and it's stayed with me ever since. Any Human Heart documents the whole life of fictional character Logan Mountstuart over the course of the 20th century, weaving in historical figures and real-life events. The story is so detailed, moving and beautifully told it's hard to believe that Logan isn't a real person. I can't recommend this read enough!

10. Something new....

Struan Wood (Partner) - Just read a book that someone else likes. With a book club. And wine. Seriously though, it's easy just to read your usual stuff. Comfortable content on the commute. But reading something you wouldn't normally and chatting about it (which you wouldn't normally do), with people you might not normally chat about books with is something I couldn't recommend more and something I look forward to every month.


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