The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

( ) Any narrative of beginning a business from scratch tends to be inspiring. Well, that is, unless you stole someone else’s business – like in the case of McDonald’s. But in this case, despite growing up as an unarguably privileged individual, Adam Braun’s story is uplifting for any would-be entrepreneur. He established a nonprofit…

In Deep by Angalia Bianca

( ) Angalia Bianca is a well-known Chicago Violence Interrupter. She has a deep and vicious criminal history that includes copious amounts of drugs, violence, and nearly robbing a dementia patient blind. She was a heroin addict for over 30 years, in prison for 12 years, and was once an active, hardcore gang member. She…

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

( ) The Vanishing Half tells a back-in-time story of two female twins that grew up in the small town of Mallard. Mallard is known for its culture of valuing paleness above all else in its solely black population. The twins are no different, as they could easily pass for caucasian if they so chose…

Brotopia by Emily Chang

( ) Chang explores, in great detail, the bro culture and white, male-dominated atmosphere of Silicon Valley. Being that I grew up in Silicon Valley, I know much of the stereotypes and unequal rewards too well. What was news to me was some of the more insidious aspects of the male-dominated startups and tech companies…

Being Heumann by Judith Heumann

( ) When we think of the civil rights movement, the disabled population is not necessarily who we think of first. Most commonly, race and gender are the equality activists at the forefront of our mind. However, there’s a less spoken about revolution that went on for the handicapped community not so long ago. Judith…

The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch

( ) Jen Gotch, the author, is the Chief Creative Officer of the retail company, ban.do. She has also faced many struggles with mental health throughout her life. One of the main concepts explored throughout this narrative is how her bipolar disorder and ADD has helped boost both her career and creativity. This novel is…

The Assistants by Camille Perri

(  ) This is the story of what was meant to be a one-time crime for the assistant of a CEO of one of the biggest, richest conglomerates in the world. What started as a slick maneuver for the underpaid executive assistant to simply pay off her student loans quickly grew to include more needy…

Sixty Meters to Anywhere by Brendan Leonard

( ) The author became an alcoholic early in life, and stays steady in recovery with the help of compulsive replacement activities; his most prominent one is rock climbing. This hobby becomes so entrenched in Leonard’s identity that it will contribute greatly to his failed marriage. Most of the book is a semi-typical chronicle of…

The Power of Different by Gail Saltz, M.D.

( ) What I love most about this book is that it shines a light on a very true but less discussed fact; with every strength there is weakness. More often than not, great accomplishments and savant talents are born from a deficit. Sometimes that deficit is readily apparent, and sometimes it isn’t. Saltz explores…

Notes on a Banana by David Leite

( ) Leite chronicles his tumultuous journey through life as a gay man with wavering weight, moods, and stability. He focuses a good amount of the novel on his life as a child in a poorer Portuguese family, and then moves on to his adult life as a successful (but not wealthy) culinary writer. He…