#WorldBookDay: See Inside the Blanc & Otus Team’s Bookshelf

It’s World Book Day and we thought we would celebrate by sharing our favorite books. Some of them date back to our high school days; others have stuck with us since as far back as elementary school, but each one means something special. Danielle Tarp, Vice President: It’s too hard to choose, so I’ll give you two – one oldie and one a bit newer. Oldie: John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath. It’s rustic and well written. Newbie: Erik Larson, Devil in the White City. WOW, just WOW, and now Leo is making a movie of it, so obviously it must be good.

Neil McAllister, Director, Content and Media: Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It’s a rich, compelling, episodic story on the theme of remaining sane in an insane world — or vice versa. It’s also widely considered to be the first true novel ever written.

Sophie Sieck, Senior Account Executive: Most of the books I read are truly embarrassing, but one I’ve held close to my heart is A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. Despite the controversy surrounding its factual integrity, it’s a true, very harrowing look into the reality of addiction that I found riveting. The sequel, My Friend Leonard is great as well.

Chris Navalta, Account Supervisor: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom is my all-time fave!! It’s a story of friendship, compassion and wisdom… and it was written by a sports guy!

Allison Barry, Intern: The Great Gatsby, because it’s a perfect mixture of romanticism and realism; also, Leo DiCaprio is Jay Gatsby IRL *heart eyes emoji*

Cate DeBenedictis, Intern: To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee showed what kindness, humanity and a genuine sense of being looks like when forced to consider the status quo, or doing what is right. Also, because Scout Finch is an OG feminist.

Jay Anderson, Vice President, Analyst Relations: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami; amazing novel that mixes fantastical characters, a detective mystery, WW2 history, jazz records and the best way to cook spaghetti. Thinking about it makes me want to read it again!

Jen Smith, Account Supervisor: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, because it’s the ultimate medical mystery. It’s an eerie, sad, educational and so unbelievable that an autoimmune disease could cause a totally normal 24 year old girl to go insane. The brain is a crazy place.

Annemiek Hamelinck, General Manager: Any Gabriel Garcia Marquez book but especially One Hundred Years of Solitude; such an immensely beautiful tale that brings together every imaginable emotion, and then some.

Christine Pai, Senior Account Executive: The Little Prince. What seems to be a children’s book at first glance actually teaches you very applicable life lessons: be open-minded, importance of adventure, give more than you take.

Julia van Broek, Associate Account Executive: This is so hard! I have so many, but ok I’ll pick one. My current favorite is Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price. It’s got all the stuff I love: two strong and smart female leads with genuine character progression, a totally new take on the post-apocalypse, time travel, super powers, a maniacal bad guy that used to be a good guy, and a super sci-fi alternate reality with inexplicable twists that JJ Abrams would be proud of. The only thing it’s missing is people with barcode tattoos. That’s always awesome.

Neil Desai, Account Supervisor: The Count of Monte Cristo, because I couldn’t put it down – the hallmark of any great book.

Vanessa Krooss, Intern: The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Her most recent book The Goldfinch made her a household name and solidified her as one of the greatest writers of our time, but the meditative, intimate, and deeply disturbing story of a too-close group of friends at an elite college will always be peak-Tartt for me.

Natalie Pridham, Account Supervisor: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. This was my favorite book when I was a kid. In 4th grade, I had to put together a diary as if I was one of the characters in the book and my dog literally ate it. Well…. he just chewed the corner of it. I turned it in and said the rats chewed on it. It was artistic.

Sara Shaughnessy, Associate Account Executive: Having a very difficult time picking just one but I really like Michael Pollan books: In Defense of Food, The Botany of Desire, Cooked. They’re super fascinating and I love cooking and reading about where nature and culture intersect with the food we eat, the science of nutrition, the history of our food, etc. Plus I think it's cool he boils his advice down to the simple phrase: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."


And there is one thing we all agreed on: The Giving Tree is awesome.

What’s your favorite book? Let us know on Twitter @BlancandOtus.

Sophie Sieck