CMG Bookshelf: What We Are Reading in May

 In Change Culture

The extra time spent at home during quarantine has inspired us to try new things — new recipes, new movies, and most importantly, new books (or in some cases, old books that haven’t been taken off the shelf in years). We rounded up some of our favorite choices and have a growing list of fictions, memoirs, cook books, and more. See what our Changemakers have to say about their favorite book(s) below:


Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
My fav book so far has probably been Oona Out of Order. It’s about a woman who experiences her life in a random order through time travel. It was fun and sweet and I could not put it down.
— Campbell Thompson

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
To counteract the darkness of quarantine, I picked up a queer romance debut novel and loved absolutely every page. This was the perfect read to bring some laughter into my house! And hey—it’s got the First Son of the United States, so I guess it’s about politics right?
— Taylor Manley

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré is heartbreaking and compelling at the same time. Adunni feels like a close friend after reading her story. I want to know what happens next in her journey!
— Claire Ryan

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
This is a really fun, light read that’s a little bit of a rom-com but not too cliché. This is a nice and easy quarantine book — could be a beach read if we were allowed to go to the beach, but will definitely complement sitting on the couch with a cup of tea.
— Amy Libka

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.
I read this for a book club. Told from the perspectives of two different, dynamic and complex women, this book shines a light on female spies during World War I. This book pays tribute to the oft-disregarded sacrifices made by women during wartime and the subsequent lives they lead in the wake of trauma and hardship. I adored this book and all the messy honesty we’re able to see in the lives of these women.
— Taylor Manley

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
A quarantine read I’ve enjoyed is The City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert – a favorite author of mine. It turned out to be a glamorous, light-hearted, time-traveling read based in New York City in the 1940’s. It was a great distraction from the news and the lack-of-excitement in my own life at the moment!
— Kalli Turcotte

Melmoth by Sarah Perry
A sad and spooky gothic novel exploring the lasting effects of cruelty, shame, and compassion. It takes a lot to scare me, but this book did it! The perfect book to read over candlelight during a spring thunderstorm.
— Lauren Coffman

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This is an easy, straightforward, quick read with a very interesting plot!
— Stephanie Mitchell


The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman
This book helped me understand the economic impacts of shopping at Wal-Mart, Amazon, and other powerful near-wholesale retail giants. Fishman’s exposure of the company’s secrets and labor practices strengthens my motivation to support smaller, more local businesses.
— Robert Gracin

Becoming by Michelle Obama
It’s a great, uplifting read and a reminder of the goodness possible in public life.
— Amanda Stitt

Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat
It is no surprise to fellow Changemakers that I am a food snob — growing my own veggies, making most things from scratch, and loathing American cheese. So this quarantine, I wanted to up my game even further. Salt Fat Acid Heat is an outstanding read for anyone who has ever been hungry, and yes, that means you too. It’s accessible, understandable, and presented in a way that anyone of any cooking level will emerge a significantly better cook every single time they pick it up.
— Mike O’Meara

The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt
The unofficial next level that digs deeper into the science of why Nosrat’s four basic elements boil down to being the most important pieces of cooking (“boil down” — see what I did there?). While a denser read, it can help you understand exactly why you overcooked that steak, underboiled that egg, or burnt your bacon (sinner!). Happy Cooking!
— Mike O’Meara

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
The book I enjoyed most during quarantine was Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. I am a big history person, and I found this true story fascinating because it covered the sectarian conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland– which was something I hadn’t learned about before. For anyone who wants a true story that reads like fiction, this is the book!
— Sheila Gregory

In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
This is a really inventive and engaging memoir about a past relationship seen through the lens of “the dream house”. Machado tells her story in a series of different genres throughout, giving you details about herself and the relationship to glean little by little as you read through. The subject matter is heavy, but the way it’s written is so engaging I just wanted to keep reading and reading! (CW: abuse)
— Amy Libka

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A great book for practicing mindfulness and self awareness.
— Kelechi Ukachukwu

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