12 Books Mint Staffers Are Reading During These Crazy COVID-19 Times
We all need some inspiration for how to make the most of the time while home. From artful reads to novels and nonfiction, here’s what the Mint staff is reading. And though we know a run to the library is out, check out Audible, Hoopla, and Overdrive for digital versions.
Of Cats and Men: Profiles of History’s Great Cat-Loving Artists, Writers, Thinkers, and Statesmen by Sam Kalda
My niece sent me this book, assuming I would enjoy it because No. 1, I’m a man, and No. 2, I have six cats. She was right! This small, but completely delightful book profiles 30 famous and talented men — Mark Twain, Romare Bearden, Freddie Mercury, and Sir Isaac Newton, to name a few — and their love for their cats. Sam Kalda’s breezy, anecdote-laden write-ups, and wonderful color illustrations make this the purr-fect publication to pick up this reader’s mood every time he opens it.
—Brian Gallagher, Curator of Decorative Arts
Vincent Van Gogh: Letters from Provence by Martin Bailey
An important moment in the history of this region of France. I always think it’s very important to hear the firsthand accounts from historical figures whenever possible. You get to know them better and often gain insights into their daily lives that never make it into biographies.
—Todd A Herman, PhD, President and CEO
Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel
I first began this book because of my love and curiosity for the Abstract Expressionist and the movement that changed the art world with swirls of color, often rooted in emotion rather than subject matter. But more specifically, I dove head first in this book because it features five of the women that passionately threw themselves into the middle of this movement. These artists, against all odds, used art to understand the chaos that surrounded them during a time when the world was changing drastically. When I first started reading it, we were not yet in the midst of a pandemic, but now as I read, it gives me hope that on the other side of our current situation there will be a lot of beautiful creativity… Who knows, maybe even a new art movement.
—HannaH Crowell, Exhibition Designer
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
This book is about girls who applied radium to wash their faces before it was known how dangerous it was. Great lesson in history.
—Lyndee Champion Ivey, Executive Assistant
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I am reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. So far the book is about a young boy who lost his mother in a tragic accident at the Met. Theo, the young boy, survives and takes a small painting out of the museum when he escapes. The book is about love and loss, and the different people that come into Theo’s life. This is a book I haven’t been able to put down.
—Martha Snell, Grants Manager
The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel by Abi Daré
I just started Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice, one of my Book of the Month Club picks. (NOTE: BOTM is perfect for self-quarantined book lovers.) It’s about a 14-year-old Nigerian girl who is first sold into marriage, then into servanthood, but remains determined to find her voice — and her future.
—Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing
The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
The One Thing takes the position that multitasking is ineffective and that we should concentrate on one goal at a time. The core idea is to determine what single achievement is most important in getting you toward your goals. I began reading this about 10 days ago in response to my ever-growing, unmanageable to-do list. As all of our lives go through rapid change, I’m grateful to have the reminder to slow my brain down and focus on the most important things.
—Katherine Steiner, Chief Registrar
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I started reading I Am Malala last week. It was a gift from my boss, who knows how much I love nonfiction stories, especially about women. Here’s a little summary: “When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. She was shot in the head while riding the bus home from school.
—Kurma Murrain, Community Programs Coordinator
Becoming by Michele Obama
This is the April discussion book for my book club. I have been a member of The No Name Book Club for over 20 years. While wine is an important part of our meetings, this is a serious group of readers. If one is present, it’s understood that you read the book! I consequently make it to about half of the meetings per year.
—Amy Grigg, Manager and Buyer for Retail Operations
The Complete Book of Garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith
I am currently re-reading The Complete Book of Garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith because:
- Garlic is one of the most fascinating crops. What else do you plant in November?
- The photographs alone are worth taking the time to crack this book open.
- It is calming to be gardening and reading about gardening during these stressful times.
—Eric Speer, Associate Registrar
FOR THE KIDS
Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio
Poe is a friendly elephant, but when he decides to just stop moving in the middle of the town, everyone is in an uproar about how to get him moving along. After lots of silly attempts by well-meaning grown-ups, one kind girl takes the time to talk with Poe and discovers the very reason he won’t go. A story of kindness and friendship, and favorite of my 4-year-old.
—Michele Huggins, Media Relations and Communications Project Manager
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle
A recommendation from my 21-month-old son, Jacob. It’s a tale about a truck who heads to the big city and encounters lots of traffic and me-first personalities. Chaos ensues, and our protagonist has to use his country sensibilities to effect change. Jacob’s passion for “beep beep” is indefatigable. Mine? Well …
—Caroline Portillo, Director of Marketing