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What We’re Reading: Common Desk’s Guide to National Reading Month

 - March 11, 2024
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Let’s play a guessing game. We’re thinking about something we all do every day, likely without thinking twice about it or acknowledging how important of a role it plays in our lives. From communicating with loved ones to conducting our businesses and expanding our minds, for many of us, it’s as natural as breathing and beyond essential for life. In fact, you’re doing it right now! Ready to guess? Drum roll, please…

Reading!

March is National Reading Month, and if there’s one thing we love and value at Common Desk, it’s taking time out from our hectic workweeks with copious amounts of coffee, snacks, and great friends to dish about books, blog posts, and articles. First celebrated in 1994, National Reading Month was established in honor of the infamous Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was March 2nd. Acknowledged for his incredible contribution to the education of America’s children, the US declared the third month of every year the time to advocate for literacy in the nation. Today, National Reading Month goes far beyond one man’s legacy.

As we mentioned earlier, the majority of us likely take reading for granted. It’s so ingrained in our moment-to-moment that we don’t even process that we’re doing the dang thing and that our professional, academic, and personal lives would be pretty tough without such a skill. In 2023, the National Center for Education Statistics found that 79% of adults in the country have an average aptitude for reading. Now, that’s not so bad a number in our minds, but imagine a world where the ability to read was a given. Incredible. Whether you find reading a chore or it’s your favorite way to unwind, it’s certainly something worth offering up a bit of gratitude for.

That said, we’re bringing you 6 different books that our staff is buzzing about. In addition, we’re sharing our favorite ways to foster community through reading in our coworking spaces, and providing you with resources to get involved with literacy work, should you find it’s something you’re passionate about.

Listen, we know that not everyone’s reading tastes are the same. At Common Desk, our crew of Daymakers have book interests as diverse as our stories, work experiences, and backgrounds. Whether you’re digging into Booktok’s latest Romantasy recommendation or your vibe lies in devouring the wisdom of industry leaders and business gurus, we’re confident we’ve got something for everyone. Let’s go!

The 6 books bound to inspire, entertain, and inform you this March!

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More than They Expect by Will Guidara

(Biography)

Come on, now. There’s no such thing as a Common Desk booklist without talking about hospitality. In late 2023, our leadership, community teams, and much of our support staff dove headfirst into this inspiring, heartfelt, and convicting read by Will Guidara. The pages follow Guidara’s experience turning Eleven Madison Park, a 2-star, struggling brassiere, into one of the world’s greatest restaurants over the course of 11 years. Packed with his insights, wit, and charm, Guidara delivers invaluable advice on hospitality that left our hearts burning to continue our marching orders of delivering the best possible collaborative workspaces to cities near you. Whether you want to host your best dinner party to date, learn what makes a community electric, or simply want an entertaining and inspiring read, this one’s for you.

Similar titles: Setting the Table by Danny Meyer, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Originals by Adam Grant


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

(Self-help)

We all have relationships in this life. Between our partners and best friends, immediate family, or professional connections, it’s imperative to show up as authentically and healthily as possible. In Daring Greatly, Brown dives into her findings after 12 years of researching the topic of vulnerability, shame, and the path to freedom and courage in our work and play. Brown discusses the hopeful and inspiring possibilities for connection, creativity, and more in our lives when we’re willing to embrace lifestyles of vulnerability and honesty without shame haunting our every step. If you’re looking to level up your relationships, become more compassionate and open in your leadership, or have heard of Brene Brown and find yourself curious, then this one’s an undeniable must-read. 

Similar titles: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Atomic Habits by James Clear, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert  


Before the Coffee Gets Cold: A Novel by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

(Magical Realism, Time Travel Fiction)

Here’s a pick for those of you who like a bit of magic in your reads. Before the Coffee Gets Cold began as a play that debuted in 2010. Adapted into a novel in 2015, it tells the story of a cafe in Tokyo that allows its patrons to travel back in time with a catch; they must return before their coffee gets cold. Described as wistful, quirky, and mysterious, Before the Coffee Gets Cold addresses the age-old question of what we’d each do with the chance to go back in time and has been said to be a great read for those looking to appreciate the present more. Recently, our CD – Richardson Community team selected this book to buddy read with their members and threw a wine-tasting happy hour (complete with a local sommelier) to discuss the novel, book club style. 

Similar titles: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley


None of This Is True: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

(Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Fiction)

New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Jewell, dropped this heart-pounding thriller in the summer of ‘23 and our staff has been eating it up. We can’t resist stories that bend our minds and leave us with that ‘what the heck’ feeling. None of This Is True follows the story of a popular podcaster who finds herself the subject of her own true crime podcast after a series of unsettling events. Praised for its enthralling prose and twisted characters, it’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat this spring.

Similar titles: Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney, Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent, If We Were Villians by M.L. Rio


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

(Fantasy, Romance)

Welp, if you haven’t heard of this series… then that rock you’ve been living under must be one heck of a hangout spot. A Court of Thorns and Roses, affectionately referred to as ACOTAR, is one of the most-raved about Romantasy series on the market today. Readers follow the story of mortal huntress, Feyre Archeron, as she scrambles to provide for her ailing family in the height of winter. After killing a wolf in the woods, a powerful figure appears to collect reparation for the kill. Suddenly captive to her world’s most terrifying and ominous creatures, the Fae, Feyre is transported into a world of ancient magic, complicated politics, and an undeniable romance she never expected. If being immersed into a world of otherworldly magic, sizzling romance, and harrowing trials across a thick, four-book series is your idea of a good time… then you’re gonna wanna hop on Amazon ASAP.

Similar titles: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda


Start with Why: How Great Leadership Inspires Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

(Entrepreneurship)

Simon Sinek, inspirational speaker and business leader, went on a mission in 2009 to encourage others to become more motivated and inspired in the workplace and to give away that enthusiasm to their colleagues in return. Years later, millions of people have found themselves reinvigorated by the fundamental question posed by Sinek; Why are some people and organizations more influential and profitable than others? Why do some experience greater levels of loyalty and success than others? Start with Why outlines the thought processes and actions behind some of our world’s most famous and successful movements and teaches its readers how to do the same. If you’ve been wanting to breathe fresh life into your workplace, professional life, or get to work shaping your dreams then we wholeheartedly recommend this read!

Similar titles: Good to Great by Jim Collins, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek, Nuts! by Kevin and Jackie Frieberg

There you have it! Common Desk’s very own book recs list. As we sail through March, we hope you find some time to snag these titles and give them a go. We’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts about them over a cup of coffee or on any number of our comfy sofas in our shared space.

The best book club yet: Common Desk’s amenities that’ll help you throw the gathering of your dreams

Book clubs and buddy reading can be a great way to stretch your mind, get inspired, or take a break from your workload. Not to mention, it’s a prime way to network with your coworking neighbors in different industries and develop unexpected friendships. As we mentioned, our teams love to host book clubs and reading workshops! If you’re interested in starting a book club at your location, don’t hesitate to approach your location staff, and remember that our shared space and conference rooms make the perfect meeting place to talk about a plot that you just need to gush about or to get your team together for leadership training with an inspiring tale of humility and overcoming at its core.

Got a PowerPoint presentation as to why Tamlin sucks (iykyk)? We’ve got HDMI capabilities for that. Just finished Unreasonable Hospitality or Start with Why and need to get your team together for a creative brainstorm? Our conference rooms come equipped with whiteboards and can seat larger parties of up to 10 in most spaces. Perhaps you’re behind a chapter and gotta catch up in an hour—no problem! Book an available Wellness Room and get to speed reading. Whatever you need, Common Desk has the tools available to make March’s reading goals more than attainable for you, your team, and your newfound pals. Between us, we’re big suckers for book swaps over crisp afternoon drinks and charcuterie at Common Desk.

If you’d like to inquire about conference room availability, fill out our form here! If you’re already a member with us, pop into your Common Desk app to get started previewing open meeting rooms at your location or contact your hospitality team for assistance.

Literacy volunteer opportunities in our communities

As we wrap up, we want to share some resources for you this March. Literacy is such a gift and a life-changing skill that not everyone has experienced. Whether you’re writing a dissertation, planning for your company’s next big presentation, or simply love the art and beauty of storytelling, reading has changed each one of our worlds, and we’d be remiss not to share opportunities to support literacy efforts in our communities.

See the list below for both Texas and North Carolina resources, and remember that while the thought of teaching someone else to read can be daunting, in many cases, no formal education is necessary, and the organization you choose to volunteer with will set you up for success.

From all of us here at Common Desk, we wish you a happy and full National Reading Month and hope to shoot the breeze with you about your favorite reads at a hospitality bar near you sometime very soon. Later, y’all!

Jessica Madden

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