Agate Staff Reads

As we shelter in place, books serve as both entertainment and respite. In this blog post, a few Agate employees share what they are reading in this time of isolation. What books are you reaching for these days? Old favorites? New finds? Let us know in the comments below!

Marta Evans, Content Development Manager

“I just finished Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon, which is about Ginzburg’s anti-fascist family in Italy during Mussolini’s rule. Her portraits of family and friends are sharply, lovingly detailed and quietly funny, and she writes a lot about how the routines of domestic life persist, adapted or not, even in times of great upheaval. That felt poignant to me a month ago, when I started the book, and even more so now. I’m also (finally) reading Alexander Chee’s How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, which is a collection of essays about writing and living, or the intersection of both, that feels very comforting right now.”


Hannah Manion, Publishing Coordinator

“I am reading Go Ahead in The Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib (a fellow Ohioan and Columbus native!). The book chronologically follows A Tribe Called Quest’s discography, starting with their 1990 debut album and ending with Got It from Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, which was released only 3 days after the 2016 election. Abdurraqib explores the Tribe’s legacy through the lens of his own nostalgia and impassioned love for the group, while also seamlessly interweaving hip-hop history and cultural criticism. It is an absorbing read for longtime ATCQ fans and newcomers alike. I HIGHLY recommend!”


Kristina Dehlin, Associate Manager of Content Development

“I’m reading A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne, which follows the life of a mediocre writer who will stop at nothing to become a literary legend. I’m almost done, and I’ve been loving it! I think it’s particularly interesting to those of us in the book world, but I’m also finding it strangely comforting to focus on such an easily unlikeable character. Boyne does a really good job of creating entire fictional lives that evolve just like our own (I’d also highly recommend his previous book: The Heart’s Invisible Furies).”

Marielle Issa, Publishing Intern

“I’m reading The Dutch House, Ann Patchett’s latest novel about the upending of two siblings’ lives after their father purchases an estate outside of Philadelphia. I’m loving it so far! I’ve seen this book described as a “dark fairy tale” which rings true for me – there’s a wicked stepmother, an acerbic, orphaned heroine, and a far-reaching, epic feel to the storytelling that reminds me of Gothic fiction – I’d almost describe the book as A Series of Unfortunate Events meets Jane Eyre (which sounds really appealing to me, actually). It’s an exciting read! Wholeheartedly recommended by me for anyone who shares my penchant for big books about houses.”


Rachel Hinton, Associate Director of Content Development

“I’m reading a book called We Are As Gods, which is nonfiction. It’s about the back-to-the-land movement in Vermont (where I am from), its predecessors, and its legacy. I have a personal connection to the material so I’m finding it fascinating, and there’s general contemporary relevance as well.”


Claire Maclauchlan, Publishing and Development Coordinator

“I am reading Self-Portrait, by Celia Paul. It’s part memoir, part art book, and an all around beautiful book. Paul’s writing is precise and evocative, and the book is both a rumination on what it means to be an artist and a recollection of a life lived as one (with some juicy details about Lucian Freud’s general awfulness thrown in!). I love that she includes excerpts from her journals and letters as well as paintings and photographs—it’s truly an immersive experience.”


Diana Slickman, Director of Operations

“I am reading The Mirror and the Light, the last book in Hilary Mantel’s phenomenal Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Praise for the trilogy can be found all over the place so you don’t really need my recommendation, but it is really great. I was going to wait for the paperback to be released but a friend sent it to me from Bookends and Beginnings this week. So nice!”


Doug Seibold, President and Publisher

“I started the Cromwell trilogy right at the beginning of this whole shelter-in-place mishegas and have been scorching through it. I got Wolf Hall hard copy at Bookends, but decided to go full-social-distance and buy Bring Up the Bodies from Apple Books (aka anyone but Amazon), to read on my iPad. Whooshed through that in less than a week, and then found out I would be unable to get a hard copy of The Mirror and The Light from Bookends due to temporary unavailability through Bookends direct ordering (according to their marketing and events coordinator, my inside source there), so went Apple Books Round 2. I do a ton of manuscript and other reading on the iPad already, so this isn’t a huge adjustment, and I’ve really appreciated the speed/convenience part of the purchase process here. Just a reminder that we really need more viable ebook seller alternatives to Amazon.”

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 2.58.52 PM.png

Stay connected with Agate by following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!

Filter By Month

Filter by Category