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Fresh inspiration for something to read…or listen to

Take a break from the legal world and try something new over the holiday season by dipping into one or more of the books and podcasts we’ve been enjoying this year, as chosen by some of our colleagues from the Obelisk Support central team.

The Green Road
Anne Enright, Jonathan Cape, 2015

Chosen by Conor Doherty, Client Team Assistant

Following the individual lives of four children and their mother, the reader rarely sees them all together but still gets an understanding of the dynamic. The novel paints a bleak picture of rural Irish families and the different relationships between family members in general, although it remains beautifully written and interesting throughout. Says Conor, “Through snapshots, it captures various turning points in Irish society such as the power of the Catholic Church, attitudes towards homosexuality and the Celtic Tiger.”

Nine Suitcases
Bela Zsolt, Pimlico 2005

Chosen by Dana Denis-Smith, Obelisk Support CEO

An incredible first-hand account of being held in a camp by both Soviets and the Nazis – incredible humanity in the face of unbelievable inhumanity. “You cannot but feel the full range of emotions reading it, but also some of the black humour is eye opening”, says Dana, “As someone who loves history, this was such a gem to discover.”

 

Football Hackers: The Science and Art of a Data Revolution
Christoph Biermann, Blink Publishing, 2019

Chosen by Daniel Ionta, Data Analyst

Football has a reputation for attracting fans who conduct themselves in a rather unpleasant manner. However, this book seeks to show that not all football fans are cut from the same cloth, with its focus being on the objective methods introduced by a community of analysts and scientists with a passion for the sport. One such method is Expected Goals, an advanced metric designed to determine the quality of chances a team is creating and so predict long-term performance. “Despite having read this book at the beginning of the year, the take home message has stuck with me”, says Dan, “in that it demonstrates just how beneficial people from non-conventional backgrounds can be in more conservative industries.”

The Island of Missing Trees
Elif Shafak, Penguin Books, 2021

Chosen by Daniela Garcia, Consultant Experience Manager

The Island of Missing Trees is a multi-layered, dual timeline narrative story about love, loss, identity, and nature. It revolves around a couple who met in Cyprus shortly before the 1974 civil war between Greeks and Turks, and a fig tree who bears witness to all. This touch of magical realism entwines with modern day times and a daughter’s struggle with loss and identity. “It is a beautiful and immersive love story, that depicts love in various forms and how it can transcend all obstacles, including hatred, distance, and time”, says Daniela, “It is definitely one of my favourite reads this year!”

Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall
Winston Graham, Pan, 2011

Chosen by Haidee Stephens from our Finance Team

“There are a few series of books that I return to read over again and this is one of them”, says Haidee, “Graham’s writing is easy to read and I am absorbed almost instantly.” Ross Poldark is the first of eleven books that span 30 years or so from 1783 and the historical setting in Cornwall at that time makes for great characters and significant storylines such as social inequality, food poverty, brutal justice, the rise of Methodism, the relationship between the counties and London in the election of MPs and how parliament operated at that time. It was first published in 1945 but you wouldn’t know it as the writing is as fresh as if it were written today. The beauty and rugged raw countryside of Cornwall is ever present. “I read these first in the 70s and saw the first TV series at that time. Now it’s most famous for Aidan Turner’s bare-chested scything scene of course!”

Maid: Hard work, low pay and a mother’s will to survive
Stephanie Land, Orion Publishing, 2019

Chosen by Laura Vosper, COO

The memoir behind the Netflix series, Maid details the life of a single mother working as a cleaner to support her and her daughter in the US in the 2000’s. Whilst her talent, grit and determination helped the author build a new life for them both, this book is a heart-breaking look at the precarious nature of modern life for those working in low-paid jobs and relying on state support. Though it is set in the US, many of the structures that make life so hard for the author and her family – low-quality childcare, state bureaucracy, inflexible work, transport costs – are equally challenging for millions of people in the UK, especially single parents. “Especially against the backdrop of the pandemic, this book’s honesty about the realities of life on low pay motivates you to give and do what you can to support those who have less.”

The Mindset Mentor Podcast
Happy Place Podcast

Chosen by Naz Khanom, IT & Operations Manager

The Mindset Mentor podcast is great for anyone looking to “level up” in life and follow their passions. Great tips on how to be more productive and finding your “why” to wake up in the mornings.

Happy Place is one of Naz’s favourites. “I’ve loved listening to these talks by Fearne Cotton and getting to understand the human behind the “celebrity””.

Read (or listen) and relax

We hope you enjoy this sneak preview into the books and podcasts our team have been inspired by this year, and there’s something here that you can relax with over the festive break!

 

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