Essential Reading Guide: 11 Titles Mission Northers Will Be Tackling This Summer

Summer Reading Book Covers

It won’t come as a surprise that our team at Mission North is full of book nerds – those eager to dive headfirst into immersive language and fictional landscapes. While we’re of course steeped in the world of technology, we also read other titles that help fuel our roaring creativity. From understanding the nuances of space travel to exploring the origins of “Hunger Games” villain Coriolanus Snow, Mission Northers are ready to escape to all sorts of settings this summer.

We caught up with several team members who shared their book of choice for the season. So, here are 11 essential titles that we’ll be cramming into carry-ons or lugging onto the beach:

Tyler Perry, Co-CEO

  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Fiction)
  • “It’s loosely inspired by ‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens, which I decided to read first (it’s dense and delightful!). The premise is akin to ‘David Copperfield’ – a boy who is born into circumstances (in the Appalachian Mountains vs. England) that make life challenging. He goes through a series of challenges – foster care, OxyContin addiction – but emerges triumphantly. I love this format – it inspires me and reminds me that we can do hard things.”

Elinor Mills, Senior Vice President, Content Studio and Media Strategy

  • Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age by Annalee Newitz (Nonfiction, History)
  • “Science journalist Annalee Newitz uses archaeological research to reveal how environmental changes and politics led to the fall of four great metropolises: Çatalhöyük in Turkey; Pompeii in Italy; Angkor in Cambodia; and an indigenous city that existed where St. Louis is today — Cahokia. I’m intrigued by post-apocalyptic ‘cli-fi’ (climate fiction) scenarios and understanding the human blunders that adversely change the course of history.”
<split-lines>"I’m intrigued by post-apocalyptic ‘cli-fi’ scenarios and understanding the human blunders that adversely change the course of history.”<split-lines>

Melinda Ball, Vice President

  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach (Nonfiction)
  • “Roach's books are about the oddities and absurdities involved in innovation – in this case, putting a person into space. She has a knack of finding the humor in the history that launched the space race, and provides a gaze forward at what it takes to send humans to Mars. Roach's books are hilarious, educational and entertaining. As a life-long space nerd, the more unusual aspects of astronauts' training made this an immediate next purchase.”

Victoria Butler, Vice President

  • The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Historical Fiction)
  • “It’s a coming-of-age story set in the 1950s about a wayward teenager and his younger brother leaving home and traveling across the country to start a new life. I loved ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ and got completely swept up in the multi-layered, decades-spanning story. Towles creates rich characters and stories that definitely take patience but that ultimately pay off. I've had this one on my list since it came out in 2021, so I'm finally making time for it.”

Allie Carmichael, Senior Director of Content Strategy

  • The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Fiction)
  • “It’s the fourth and final book in the Neapolitan Novels series. It documents the lives and friendship of ‘two women…who first met amid the shambles of postwar Italy…Through it all, [their] friendship remains the gravitational center of their lives.’ I've been hooked on this series since I read the first book, ‘My Brilliant Friend.’ After spending so much time with these characters (over 1,000 pages), I'm completely drawn into their lives and feel like they're close friends. I'm both excited to find out how the saga ends and sad to finish such a beautiful series.”

Danny Casarella, Senior Director

  • Fairy Tale by Stephen King (Fantasy)
  • “‘Fairy Tale’ is a dark fantasy about a 17-year-old who inherits keys to a hidden realm and gets mixed up in a battle between good and evil. I've been a massive fan of King my entire life, after stumbling upon ‘The Eyes of the Dragon’ in seventh grade. While I love some of his most famous horror outings (‘It,’ ‘The Shining’), I find myself drawn to King when he's focused on human relationships – from lovers to friends, in titles like ‘11/22/63’ and ‘The Body.’ You can relate to the characters in ‘Fairy Tale,’ and it’s an intriguing premise.”

Dan Gunderman, Content Strategist, Managing Editor, Dispatch

  • Essex Dogs by Dan Jones (Historical Fiction)
  • “This is Jones’ first foray into fiction and the first entry of a planned trilogy. It’s about a group of hired swords who land in Normandy in 1346, as England aims to reclaim France (a part of what would become known as the Hundred Years’ War – which was actually 116 years). Initially seeking familiar riches and glory, these mercenaries apparently drive much of the brutal war effort. I’ve long appreciated Jones’ ability to recount the history and lore of medieval times. I’m looking forward to diving into his fictional world – of almost 700 years ago.”
<split-lines>"I’m looking forward to diving into his fictional world – of almost 700 years ago.”<split-lines>

Mary Jenkins, Senior Research and Insights Associate

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (Young Adult Fiction, Sci-Fi)
  • “A prequel to Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy, this is the coming-of-age story of future president and villain Coriolanus Snow. It’s a YA dystopian/soft sci-fi novel that depicts an earlier Panem, the fictional country where the annual Hunger Games take place, and details the contest’s evolution. I was a huge ‘Hunger Games’ fan in high school and am excited about the new movie, and so had to read the book first.”

Christina Roach, Account Manager

  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay (Essays)
  • “It’s the first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay and is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. It’s easy to overlook these ordinary wonders, but this book has been a pleasant reminder that it is possible to find small delights, everywhere, without dismissing the complexities of the world around us.”
<split-lines>"[It's] been a pleasant reminder that it is possible to find small delights, everywhere, without dismissing the complexities of the world around us."<split-lines>

Olivia Osborne, Account Manager

  • Happy Place by Emily Henry (Contemporary Romance)
  • “A couple that broke up months ago pretends to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends. I’ve read Henry’s books before and they always slap. They are quick reads – which is personally great for me when I just want to unplug and escape. She’s great at telling romantic, heartfelt and humorous stories without being too cheesy. I’m really excited to read this on the beach.”

Logan Wood, Junior Designer

  • The Language of Cities by Deyan Sudjic (Nonfiction)
  • Written by the director of the Design Museum London, it explores how cities emerge, what makes them unique, and how the people that live in them integrate them into their lives. I’ve learned so much about how the design of cities influences both the identity of the people living there and their recollection of their shared histories.”

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