One of the best parts of working at Schoolhouse is getting to partner alongside such fun and talented individuals. There's Elisabeth in accounting who dragon boat races, or Drew in IT who performs improv on the side - the range of experiences and interests across our diverse team continues to inspire. Beyond office hours, we love learning new things about our coworkers and hearing about their hidden talents and creative outlets.
And recently, we were turned on to @bevlikesbooks, an Instagram account created by our very own supply planning manager, Beverly Cerruti. Looking for "an excuse to talk about books more," Beverly started a YouTube channel and IG account to connect with the online community. Fully inspired by Beverly’s booktube, we asked her and a few other employees of Schoolhouse to share the best books they read in 2020. Whether you’re a lifelong reader or looking for a book to hunker down with this winter, we hope you find something new and noteworthy below.
Taking place over decades, Pachinko shows a Korean family’s struggle to survive and find joy as immigrants in Japan. Before reading this beautiful novel, I was unaware of the hatred and racial prejudices that Korean immigrants would face in Japan, where they sought opportunity, safety, and security. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres; it transports you to another place and time and can be an intense learning experience.
– Beverly Cerruti, Supply Planning Manager & founder of @bevlikesbooks
The book examines an array of simple, mundane objects from around the world, which aim to shed light on design considerations that are often taken for granted. These considerations include the aesthetics of function, participation within material culture, ergonomics, and necessity. I’ve enjoyed returning to this book to discover simple details that continue to influence the design choices I make in my own practice.
– Bo Knoblauch, Lighting Designer
It’s not an easy story because it deals with alcoholism and the damage it can do to a family. Despite his alcoholic mother, Shuggie is a clever, precocious lad and a character you can really root for.
– Trent Robb, Sales Order Management Assistant
This story is historical fiction at it's best! It reflects on the best and worst things in life - the racism that existed then (and sadly now), the kindness of people, and the importance of the written word. I highly recommend this fantastic depiction of the Kentucky Packhorse Librarians!
– Raya DeMarquez, Customer Support Associate
I picked up Zadie Smith’s new book Intimations a month or so ago. It’s a series of short stories she wrote at the start of the shut-down. I love her writing style because she can be so blunt and honest about what we’re facing but she does it with great humor and a poetic, sometimes romantic inclination.
– Tana Sollars, Product Designer + Developer
A dense comic book that’s vaguely autobiographical that tells all these interlocking stories about people’s lives. There are about three main stories, but lots of characters that span time and place. Because it’s a Chris Ware book, what locks it all together is that it just looks magnificent on the page. His stories work through all these ambiguous human emotions that are marshaled into intricate, exacting line work and geometrically arranged frames that have you poring over it again and again.
– David Flood, Continuous Improvement Manager
The author went deep in providing relatable, real-life examples to show how every small action will reform who we are. The book walks you through setting goals and processes and includes simple tools to help you achieve your goals by breaking old habits.
– Shatha Ali, Planning Manager
This heartbreakingly beautiful book is a tale of humanity – both the good and the bad. It tells an important story about the heartache and misery that occurred inside the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in the early 1940s. Family, love, despair, and hope are all woven throughout the book, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Rill and her siblings from the very beginning.
– Kirsten Nieman, Director of Marketing
There is something incredibly relatable—as a designer, musician, creative—about striving for, craving, and being somewhat obsessed with some sense of future relevance. As in, creating, designing for, or needing to be right on the cusp of something that doesn’t quite exist yet. It’s an itch that you’re constantly reaching forward to scratch.
– Jesse Sotelo, Digital Designer
I read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson over the summer during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. It’s a true story recounting Stevenson’s life as a young lawyer in the South defending the wrongly convicted and those underserved by the justice system. It’s eye-opening and deeply upsetting but also a lesson in compassion that offers hope for the future of justice.
– Mallory Prater, Social Media Specialist