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Books · July 21, 2017

The Birchbox Book Club: 6 Summer Reads Our Staffers Love

Startup by Doree Shafrir

What Its About: A fictional account of startup life from someone who knows it well. Written by a senior BuzzFeed writer, this novel follows three people working in the same Manhattan office building: a successful app CEO, a young journalist hungry for the next tech scoop, and a mother returning to an unfamiliar workforce. Their worlds collide when a racy scandal eruptsand in the messy aftermath, the story takes a satirical look at startup culture, workplace gender politics, and our internet-obsessed world.

Why I Love It: While there are plenty of familiar references, juicy gossip, and even a Birchbox shout-out, I loved that it was ultimately the story of different women coming together to support one another. - Cati Pishal, customer operations associate

The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe

What Its About: Former New York Times journalist Claudia Rowe pens a chilling account of her four-year-long fascination with a serial murderer and rapist who killed eight women in her upstate New York town in 1998. We follow along as she interviews the murderer and becomes obsessed with the story of the killingsand the killer himselfdesperate to understand how a young, seemingly kind man could perform such violent acts.

Why I Love It: This book takes an alternative look at true crime as a genre and the effect it has on those who participate in it. While the content isn't for the faint of heart, true crime fans will appreciate Rowe's attention to detail and personal investment in telling the story. It should make for an awesome beach read! - Jenieze Herman, senior user support associate

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg

What Its About: Were taking heaps of self-improvement inspiration from the latest book by Sheryl Sandberg, author of the now-ubiquitous Lean In. This time around, Sandberg sees life in a new light in the wake of her husbands sudden, tragic death and the overwhelming grief that followed. She details how she went from thinking shed never feel joy again to being able to move onand gives practical tips for how we can all learn to flex the muscles of resilience in our own lives.

Why I Love It: Sheryl Sandberg is such an inspiration. Although this book specifically discusses how she overcame the death of her husband, Option B is perfect for anyone who wants insight on how to be resilient in all aspects of life. She co-wrote the book with Adam Grant, a psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and it combines his scientific background and her anecdotal stories to teach us about the importance of dealing with adversity every single day. If you're looking to strengthen yourself and gain a new perspective on the concept of 'bouncing back,' this is the perfect pick for you! - Margo Ghertner, PR intern

After Kathy Acker by Chris Kraus

What Its About: Kathy Acker was an American experimental novelist, punk poet, playwright, essayist, performance artist, and feminist writer who often injected her novels and stories with characters that changed identities at the drop of a hat. She was well known in New York Citys East Village in the early '80s for her signature leather clothes, spiky hair, red lipstick, and stilettos. Sound fascinating? Then youll love Chris Kraus new biography about Acker, which pulls from research and conversations with mutual colleagues and friends to explore the many contradictions she embodied.

Why I Love It: Chris Kraus is an awesome writer whose fiction has always had a touch of the autobiographical in it. Im fascinated by controversial, experimental Kathy Acker, who wrote a handful of feminist novels, including her own take on Don Quixoteand just as famously created a myth of celebrity and genius around herself. This is a thoughtful look at Acker's work with a side of hot gossip about her and her peers. - Jamie Johns, senior merchant

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

What Its About: In his newest memoir, David Sedaris (of Me Talk Pretty One Day and When You Are Engulfed in Flames fame) shares personal diary entries filled with everything he finds interesting, bizarre, beautiful, or uncomfortable. To Sedaris, theres no such thing as a boring day, and his astute observations, perceptions, and curiosities make this a spirited read.

Why I Love It: Many of my favorite Sedaris stories feature events and characters from his real life, so a book compiling a collection of his diary entries is the ultimate Sedaris read! - Hannah Anderson, photo editor

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

What Its About: Lilac Girls tells the based-on-real-life story of three women whose paths cross in Nazi Germany. The unlikely trio (a New York socialite working at the French consulate, a Polish teen courier for the underground resistance movement, and a German doctor who unwittingly gets trapped in a Nazi government role) collide when one of them is sent to Ravensbrck, a Nazi concentration camp.

Why I Love It: This story examines Nazi Germany and its surrounding countries from a female perspectivean important take on the horrors of that time. It's eye-opening to learn what these characters, based on the lives of real-life women in WWII, went through and what it took to survive. - Francesca Conlin, junior copywriter


Alexis Bridenbaugh