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Symposium Book Staff Picks!

Stories are all around us, and many incredible authors bring them to life in their books. Whether it is written down or spoken by someone else, a story can bring the listener or reader into a whole new world. In collaboration with Symposium Books, WaterFire strives to bring all kinds of stories to its audience members!

Wondering what book to read next? There are so many to choose from! To guide you, here are some of our staff’s favorite reads!

If you have a favorite author or book, and you don’t see it on the store website, contact us. We may have it in store or at Symposium Books Downtown. Happy reading!

Little Fires Everywhere A Novel by Celeste Ng

Jenn Kobza

Events & Operations Associate

One of my favorite books I have gotten from the Store at the WaterFire Arts Center is Little Fires Everywhere. I have always enjoyed books that have a little mystery in their plot line but also have a couple of sub-story lines with them. Part of the fun for me is reading a book that becomes a tv show or movie. Seeing the differences between the writing of the story and how they recreate it on the big screen always help continue the mystery of the story.

Buy your copy of Little Fires Everywhere today.

CIRCE by Madeline Miller

Jerry Suggs

Manager Education Programs and Partnerships

I highly recommend this book it’s an amazing retelling of the story of the greek goddess Circe. This version is a more complete telling of her life throughout the ages with a strong feminist view. It was both a challenge and a pleasure to read this novel as it presents the goddess through the lens of a more modern perspective on women. Circe is not a minor character in the overall history of ancient greek legends and mythology. She is a central force in the comings and goings of some of the greatest of the ancient heroes and gods. She takes her banishment and makes much of her place in the world. She is not used by men but uses them for her ends and challenges our sense of what value we place on women. This book is written in the first person and consequently places the reader directly into the action and feelings. I found this to be a thoroughly entertaining, highly provocative and timely summer (pandemic) read. I loved the book so much that I followed up by buying her other novel, “The Song of Achilles” and read that as well during this summer of pandemic shutdown. Well worth the read.

Buy your copy of Circe today.

Cat’s Cradle A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut

Lucy Shao

Creative Services Summer 2020 Intern

I have come to enjoy reading many of Vonnegut’s books, as they all work on a level of dark humor while also exploring very relevant themes in our society today. Cat’s Cradle, with the invention of ice-nine, explores themes of humanity mixed with technology, among many other themes. His stories are all fiction, with exaggeratedly almost fantastical stories. Yet, these stories manage to still be grounded in some form of reality, bringing to question whether or not his stories are fantastical, or if reality is more absurd than we would like to believe.

Buy your copy of Cat’s Cradle today.

Becoming A Memoir by Michelle Obama

Nicole Nehiley

Development Assistant – Venue and Corporate Relations

After watching the Becoming documentary on Netflix, and finally getting my hands on the book, I dove into the autobiography of our Forever First Lady Michelle Obama. In a few days time I was finished and her writing left me wanting more from the Obama’s. Her story goes beyond just her being the First Lady of the United States during a historic administration, but rather gives you a glimpse of who she is as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, as well as an accomplished professional. Her story is super inspiring and proves that no matter where you come from, or what obstacles are in your way, you have the power to make your own dreams come true.

Buy your copy of Becoming today.

The Stationary Shop A Novel by Marjan Kamali

Laura Duclos

Director of Creative Services

I had the pleasure of meeting Marjan Kamali as she was one of the first authors as part of our WaterFire Symposium events at the WaterFire Arts Center. I bought her book that evening after the talk, as I was quickly wrapped up in her story and that of the characters. This book is filled with culture, history, love and the incredible charm of stationery shops! A great beach read!

Buy your copy of The Stationery Shop today.

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Peter Mello

Managing Director

Heading out the door on the day we closed the WaterFire Arts Center due to the coronavirus pandemic, I grabbed a copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Leadership in Turbulent Times because I couldn’t imagine a more relevant book for what we are experiencing. In the first half of the book the author examines how life’s circumstances shaped the leadership of 4 US Presidents and in the second half she uses each of their stories to illustrate transformational leadership: (Abraham Lincoln), crisis management (Theodore Roosevelt), turnaround leadership (Franklin D. Roosevelt) and visionary leadership (Lyndon Johnson). Kearns Goodwin is an expert at weaving compelling stories into practical leadership lessons for leaders at all levels. I really enjoyed this read and recommend it to anyone who is a student of leadership. 

Buy your copy of Leadership in Turbulent Times today.