Fairmount InSights

This year the first day of autumn will be September 23, 2015. That means we still have two months of summer left! Below is a late-summer reading list plucked from the minds and shelves of Fairmount Ventures staff. All are good choices for the beach, the pool or the porch. Enjoy!

Fairmount Ventures Reads

Source: Image Conscious Studios


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This mystery novel tells a series of ‘parallel universe’ imaginings of how one woman’s choices affect how she lives and dies in WWII England. This is a fresh and fun mystery novel that keeps you on your toes.

A Hole In Texas by Herman Wouk

A Hole In Texas

A lively story about lost love, high-energy physics and the machinations of Washington. Wouk is a Pulitzer Prize winner and has wry humor. It’s a great, light-hearted read.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

The book alternates viewpoints across characters and time, but follows protagonist, Libby, as she manages the fallout from accusing her brother for the murder of her family while simultaneously working with a secret conspiracy group to figure out whether the true murderer is still out there.

It’s a chilling thriller perfect for a summer read, but it also moves the reader to question the reliability of one’s perception, meaning of truth, and the fallibility of memory.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

In this member of the MaddAddam trilogy, genetic engineering and climate change come to a head, with devastating impact for humanity. A dystopian thriller from a sci-fi master.

Gold Help the Child by Toni Morrison

God Save the Child

The story speaks to the unwitting damage parents do to their children in the name of preparing them for a difficult life, and how adults spend their lives un-doing the trauma their parents visited upon them. It a driving narrative, beautifully written narrative regarding the twists and turns behind the realities of resilience.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman

In this greatly anticipated sequel to Lee’s To Kill A  Mockingbird, a young adult Scout returns to the South and confronts her father Atticus’ racism, and a loss of childhood innocence and idealism.

This book offers a timely opportunity to examine our individual and collective notions about race, justice, and human decency through the lens of a classic American story.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


A love story about two loners who become separated and must overcome difficult battles to get back together. A realistic story with fantastical elements makes the reader ask what’s going to happen next.


A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez

Daisy Hernandez Cup of Tea Under My Bed

A memoir of short stories about Ms. Hernandez’s experience growing up in New Jersey with immigrant parents from Colombia and Cuba. This coming-of-age memoir provides a unique, thoughtful, and beautifully written glimpse into the experience of a daughter of Latin immigrants.

Fixing Broken Cities: The Implementation of Urban Development Strategies by John Kromer

Fixing Broken Cities

This book is about the planning, implementation, and impact of investment strategies designed to bring about transformative changes in urban downtowns and neighborhoods. Kromer is a former Director of Housing at the City of Philadelphia and offers a rich perspective on the City’s history of housing preservation and development activities.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Everyone Hanging Out

Biographical book about comedian, writer, and actress, Mindy Kaling’s experience growing up as a woman of color and how she navigated her way through the entertainment industry, ultimately carving out a place for herself. It conveys a voice and perspective from a woman of color in a light-hearted, humorous, and relatable way that not only celebrates “otherness” but also reveals how much we are alike.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson


Beautiful, but accessible, freestyle poems tell the story of a young African American girl, with one foot planted firmly in the South and another in NYC, who discovers her love of writing while growing up during the civil rights era. The themes of this book – identity, family, friendship, home – are especially moving when explored through the eyes of a child and set against a backdrop of the 1960s.

Pulphead by Jeremiah Sullivan


Essays on popular culture, the South, and life as we know it today. Intrepid reporting meets the emergence of a distinctive new voice in American writing.

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts by Peter T. Coleman

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts

It provides a framework for understanding intense, often intergenerational conflict using research in “dynamic systems theory,” a way of modeling complex events and situations. Thought-provoking and fascinating, it integrates social psychology, history, and mathematical modeling, all while providing a beautiful, troubling analysis of why some conflicts persist and seem intractable.

Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

Thich Nhat Hanh’s compiled life of the Buddha is based on over 50 different Pali and Sanskrit texts. Beautifully written and illustrated account of Buddhist stories and teachings, humorous and heartbreaking and wise, very accessible and very profound.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

Flash Boys Michael Lewis

This unique book focuses on a small group of Wall Street guys who each realize in their own way that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They come together to investigate what it really means and its inevitable impact. It reads like a mysterious financial detective novel, except its real life and involves hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Colonel Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Colonel Hadfield will indirectly explain to you how you will never be an astronaut but also how amazing it is to be one. Great storytelling that’s funny, inspiring and insightful.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers get the plane off the ground by the first quarter of the book; the balance explores what happened next. All our contemporary talk about innovation, but this book demonstrates what it takes truly innovate and to make something happen.

A Year to Live by Stephen Levine

A Year to Live

Meditation teacher and counselor Stephen Levine, who has long worked with the ill and dying, decides to live one year as if it were his last. In doing so, he explores what it means to live fully. Levine encourages us to examine our lives and ask ourselves: If I had only a year to live, what would I do differently? A book for anyone who wishes to face their fears and live a joyful, meaningful life.


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