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13 Books That Will Help You Break Your Netflix Habit

What CEO Sarah LaFleur and the M.M.LaFleur team plans on reading in 2021.

By Caitlin Abber

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With the title of Brand Editor, you might think that I’m a big reader, but the truth is…I very rarely sit down to read a book. I usually have several audiobooks downloaded at once, and I’ll listen to those while walking the dog or doing the dishes (or commuting, RIP), but I would not call my book consumption voracious by any means. This is an area I’d really like to improve on (there’s only so much Bling Empire I should watch in a day), which is why I asked my very well-read colleagues to share the books they’re most excited to read this year. They’ve listed cookbooks, memoirs, novels, and even some self-help. One book I know I’ll be picking up later this year is previous Woman of the Week Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter,” which focuses on her childhood with an incarcerated father, and how that has and hasn’t shaped who she is today.

Below, a reading list we’re sure you’ll want to bookmark for later.

Caul Baby: A Novel by Morgan Jerkins

“In addition to Ashley C. Ford’ book, I’m also excited to read the first novel by Morgan Jerkins, author of This Will Be My Undoing. Caul Baby: A Novel, is already getting high praise for being a rich look at the deep connections and winding roads that create a Black woman’s life. I love following Jerkins on Twitter, and I’m really excited to see what she does with this format.” —Caitlin, Brand Editor

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson 

“It’s been highly recommended to me, and seems like a good one to start with in this weird year.”—Sofia, Senior Project Manager

My Korea by Hooni Kim 

“It’s a cookbook, but it has tons of background about traditional Korean ingredients, dishes, and cooking methods. I’m excited to sink my teeth in literally and figuratively.” —Maddie, Brand Manager

 

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“I’ve been wanting to read more books by women of color this year, so I’m excited to start with this one. An American Marriage follows three people who, following unforeseen circumstances, have to learn how to move forward from the pain of the past. It’s supposed to be beautifully written, moving, and very thought-provoking about race, class, and love.”—Cindy, Junior Graphic Designer

Get Smarter by Blair Imani

“Okay, maybe I do love reading after all? Historian  Blair Imani, another one of our Women of the Week, is coming out with her third book. Get Smarter is based on her Instagram series of the same name, and it’s basically a crib sheet for how to be a good, informed, anti-Racist citizen today. A must-read for all of us”.—Caitlin, Brand Editor

 

Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez

“I’ve been trying to read more Latinx authors and came across Isabel Ibañez last year. I’m excited for this book, because it’s so lighthearted and filled with delicious food descriptions and references from her culture. It’s also a fantasy and adventure story, so it’s a great escape from the heaviness of all of our day-to-day lives right now.” —Taylor, Senior Experience Operations Associate

 

The Survivors by Jane Harper

“I’m excited to read this book for many reasons. I love stories where, by connecting with the characters, I can also learn about our world and the ups and downs of those in it. As someone who is trying to work through personal grief, I can’t wait to see how the author depicts the characters addressing many similar tragedies. Also, I feel deeply called to adopt a child of my own one day, so I love a story that allows me to read more about people’s experiences with that.” —Christina, Manager, E-Commerce

 

While Justice Sleeps, by Stacey Abrams

“Stacey Abrams captured everyone’s attention with her work protecting voter rights and increasing turnout. But in her spare time, she penned a thriller, When Justice Sleeps, coming out in May. The book will focus on the intricately woven story of a law clerk and her impact on the Supreme Court, drawing from Stacey’s legal and political background. And no doubt, as a follow-up to the 10 other books she’s written, it will serve as a handy reminder: I have the same 24 hours in a day as Stacey.”—Callie, VP of Brand & Creative

Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Powerby Lalah Delia

“This book teaches you how to protect your energy and raise your vibrations, which is key for living a healthy life and standing in your power.”—Nyjerah, Brand Stylist

 

Sarah LaFleur's Picks

Aftershock by Nadia Owusu

“I just selected this book for the book club I’m in with my college roommates. It’s about a Black woman with a Ghanaian diplomat father and an Armenian-American mother who ‘is a woman with many homes and none,’ ‘her looks questioned everywhere, by everyone, seemingly no matter the land she’s lived on. Her speech patterns have shifted to fit her surroundings—to protect herself or to feel more at home.’ While her background is different than mine, there are parallels between our lives: I also grew up the daughter of a diplomat, living in multiple countries, am biracial, and have had to adjust my language and speech depending on the context. So in a very self-centered way, I’m curious to learn how she navigated similar challenges. I listened to her interview on NPR and was hooked. I can’t wait to read it.”

Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion 

“Joan Didion—need I say more? Slouching Towards Bethlehem still feels as relevant as ever, and this book is a collection of her twelve uncollected essays.”

The Daughters of Kobani by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

“I’ve had a girl crush on Gayle since 2011, when I first started my company, and she has since become a dear friend and the inspiration behind the Gayle dress. Gayle frequently writes about strong women in conflict situations, and her first book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, was about a female entrepreneur who started a secret dressmaking business with her sisters under the Taliban regime in order to feed their families. Her most recent book, The Daughters of Kobani, is about ‘an all-female militia faced off against ISIS in a little town few had ever heard of: Kobani.’ The adaptation rights to this book were just purchased by HiddenLight Productions, the new production company founded by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.”

Caitlin Abber

Written By

Caitlin Abber

Caitlin Abber is the Brand Editor at M.M. LaFleur, and an award-winning writer and content creator. Over the last decade she has held senior editorial positions at MTV, Women's Health, Public Radio International, and Bustle, and has bylines at InStyle and OprahMag.com.

See more of Caitlin's articles

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