Ketchum Readers’ Choice: 10 Greatest Reads to Explore this World Book Day

World Book Day is an opportunity to celebrate reading and a love for books. The theme for this year’s World Book Day is “Share a story”, and the organisers are encouraging people to share a book together and encourage reading for pleasure as a way to promote all-round wellbeing. While we’d love to dress up as our favourite book characters to honour this day, we thought top book recommendations by 10 voracious readers in Ketchum’s London office would be far more beneficial for the readers of this blog. Happy reading!

  1. VOX by Christina Dalcher – recommended by Jo-ann Robertson, CEO of Ketchum London
    In an industry that is female dominated and where our words are critical to our success, reading Vox is a bit of a jolt. Much like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is set in the future where women have been limited to 100 words a day, are not allowed to work, or read! I’m about half way through, but the power an individual can have in standing up to oppression is a good lesson in never being silent when you see wrongdoing in the world. Ultimately, be a force for good.
  1. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – recommended by Amanda Moulson, Director (Brand)
    So many faves but this book really stuck with me. It is totally originally in setting, voice and character development; it’s profound and insightful and as per usual, her knowledge of the natural world inspires wanderlust. I think Holly Underwood agrees this is a good one, too!
  1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole – recommended by Karl O’Doherty, Account Director (Corporate Reputation)
    I’m currently reading this book and recommend it because of its brilliantly written characters, vivid sense of place as it describes New Orleans life and being unbelievably funny.
  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – recommended by Georgie Wolfson, Account Manager (Brand)
    This has to be my all-time favourite book. It’s just such a feel-good book that you can come back to at any point in your life and it’ll just lift you up and let you relax and put things in perspective. A great holiday book but also can be interpreted differently so no matter who you talk to about it, everyone has their own perception of the book and that’s what I love so much. It means something different to everyone. I could read it over and over again!
  1. Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman – recommended by Olga Szymanska, Senior Account Executive (Corporate Reputation)
    My recent favourite is a beautiful and elegant coming of age story, Call Me by Your Name. It’s an exceptional book that showed me a whole new meaning of how time influences human relationships and how important it is to appreciate people that come into our lives – taking me on an emotional rollercoaster throughout. It’s one of my favourites, as its gentle and wonderfully drafted storyline is something I won’t be able to get out of my mind for a long time to come. Definitely a must-read for everyone!
  1. Jog On: How Running Saved My Life by Bella Mackie – recommended by Sarah Foden, Producer (Ketchum Creative)
    Right now, I am reading Jog On: How Running Saved My Life by Bella Mackie and I can’t recommend it enough. For anyone who has suffered with, or knows anyone who has/is suffering with anxiety – then this book may be of interest as it explores Bella’s personal account of how she tackled her anxiety by taking up running. Why do I love this book? Because Bella’s story is honest, funny and inspiring – and in addition to her own experiences, she also shares other people’s stories, ideas and tips demonstrating how running and other exercise can help change lives for the better. I couldn’t put it down, however when I did – I then headed out for a run myself.
  1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – recommended by Nahla Idris, Account Coordinator (Healthcare – Inspired Science)
    Eloquently written, Homegoing follows the lives of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, who go on to lead very different lives in colonial Ghana. Each chapter is dedicated to a sister and her respective descendants, whilst cataloguing the vibrancy of Asante culture, the sorrows of occupied Ghana and the atrocities of enslaving the free. This book is rich, heart-breaking and enlightening to the ironic paths life can drag us down and will probably stick with me for life.
  1. Germs, guns and steel by Jared Diamond – recommended by Izabela Szewczul, Account Director (Corporate Reputation)
    This is a Pulitzer winning book about civilisation development. It’s insightful, compelling and brings together geography, history, anthropology and sociology. It’s like a synopsis that will help you understand the world better.
  1. The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs – recommended by Adrian Nesci, Studio Manager (Ketchum Creative)
    I’ve read this book before and will continue to re-read this through my life, as each and every time I read this book I find something new, a new chapter I love, a new message which I feel is only shared with me. Alan Downs created this book based on real experiences with gay men he had the pleasure of working with. This is the book to read if you want to understand the world a gay man lives in. The unrelenting pressures to be better than perfect. The constant battle of the toxic masculinity and the shaming femininity. The struggle of overcoming the pain of growing up GAY in a straight man’s world. This blurb sums up the book the best: “The most important issue in a gay man’s life is not ‘coming out’, but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Wondering, “are we better off?” the by-product of growing up gay in a straight man’s world continues to be the internalisation of shame, rejection and anger.
  1. Shook One by Charlamagne Tha God – recommended by Toks Ayorinde, Account Executive (Brand)
    At the moment, I’m loving a book called Shook One by a NY radio host called Charlamagne Tha God. His new book, named after Queensbridge hip-hop duo Mobb Deep’s 1993 track “Shook Ones,” examines the intersection between Charlamagne’s unrest and achievements. The radio host — born Lenard McKelvey — uses Shook One as a tell-all diary of his struggles with mental health. The format of the book reveals personal traumas, regrets and fears with paired “clinical correlations” written by psychiatrist Dr. Ish Major. With raw honesty, Charlamagne hopes to break the stigma around seeking treatment.