A time to celebrate, unwind and read

Some favorite books from your friends at the O’Keefe Group

Everyone appreciates the gift of downtime. Our holiday wish for you is that you get some time off this December to enjoy family, friends, and a good book or two. So, rather than our usual business insights, this week we’re sharing some of the books we’ve loved during 2022.


If you finally have time for one of the most highly praised novels of recent years…

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr brings together a memorable collection of characters from three different times and places: 1453 in Constantinople, 2020 in an Idaho library, and sometime in the future on the interstellar ship Argos. “Bound together by a single ancient text, the tales form a rich tapestry of solace and resilience and a celebration of storytelling itself.” (Goodreads)

If you’re a fan of historical fiction and beautifully crafted writing…

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell paints a luminous portrait of Agnes, a free spirit and healer born in Warwickshire, England in the 1580s. Agnes settles with her husband in Stratford and has three children, Susanna, Judith and Hamnet. Her husband, a playwright, later writes Hamlet, in honor of their son.

O’Keefe Group Senior Communicator Cathy Donnelly had this to say: “O’Farrell’s imaginative, compelling, lyrical tale transports us to a time that seems at once distant and contemporary. It’s the deeply layered story of an oddly gifted woman, an unconventional marriage, and the devastating and ultimately transformative power of grief.”

If you loved Little Fires Everywhere….

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng is told through the lens of 12-year-old Bird Gardner. Bird lives with his father in a society governed by laws designed to preserve “American culture.” After receiving a mysterious letter, Bird embarks on a quest to find the truth about his mother, a Chinese-American poet who left the family when Bird was nine, and whose works have been removed from the libraries.

O’Keefe Group Senior Communicator Tammy Kleinman says “Ng’s novel shows us the very real perils of censorship, isolation and fear, but it is also a love letter to storytelling, which has the power to help us heal.”

If you think YOUR family is dysfunctional….

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the story of an affluent New York couple and their triplets, who share few interests and little affection for each other. Most of the book takes place after they leave for college, when their mother’s loneliness leads to a surprising decision. The skillfully woven storylines and plot twists meander from Brooklyn to Cornell University to the world of modern art, and the author’s razor-sharp satire of contemporary culture is hilarious. Fans of Austen and Dickens will see their influence in this otherwise very modern novel.


If you’re looking for something laugh-out-loud funny (but also poignant)….

The Best of Me by David Sedaris finds the humorist older and wiser but still riotously funny. There’s a lot about Sedaris’s partner, Hugh, even more about the oddball Sedaris family, and hilarious snapshots of a recent book tour. He also shops for rare taxidermy, hitchhikes with a lady quadriplegic, spits a lozenge into a fellow traveler’s lap, and hand-feeds a carnivorous bird.

For O’Keefe Group Founder Teryl Taglieri, “the humor and wit of Sedaris is my remedy for a bad day, and The Best of Me is the best of him.”

If you’ve seen it on all the lists and wondered why….

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner is a remarkably wise memoir by the 30- something founder of the band Japanese Lunch. Zauner explores her identity as an Asian-American and the bonds that food can create. This includes frequent visits to H Mart, an Asian market in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon.

O’Keefe Group Senior Communicator Danielle Foley calls this “a beautiful memoir of a daughter caring for her mother during the last stage of a terminal illness. Crying in H Mart will have you, yes crying, but also craving the amazingly delicious Korean food that is cooked and meticulously described throughout the book.”

If you miss Trevor Noah already….

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is another memoir by a young, talented offspring of mixed parentage. Noah grew up in Apartheid-era South Africa, the son of a black mother and white father at a time when inter-racial marriage was illegal. He recounts his upbringing in Soweto, where his light skin made him a curiosity, with his trademark mixture of humor and righteous indignation. After a childhood spent in poverty, Noah sold pirated CDs and later started a DJ business, launching his astonishingly successful career in entertainment.

If you want a glimpse into a fascinating sub-culture….

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker is a funny and enlightening memoir from a former tech journalist who “stumbled upon an alternate university in which people could, after a single sip of wine, identify the grape it was made from, in what year, and where it was produced within acres” (Goodreads). Her decision to become a certified sommelier takes us inside elite tasting groups, exclusive New York restaurants, a California winery, and a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine.

O’Keefe Group Senior Communicators Jessica Cogan and Laura Singer think this is one of the best non-fiction books you’ve probably never heard of.

And that was just our short list! Also highly recommended:

  • The Henna Artist by Aika Joshi
  • Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
  • The Light We Carry by Michele Obama
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Jackson Brodie stories by Kate Atkinson
  • Wine Girl by Victoria James

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading from the O’Keefe Group!

  • Teryl Taglieri
  • Tom Taglieri
  • Jessica Cogan
  • Cathy Donnelly
  • Danielle Foley
  • Margo Hackel
  • Diane Karsch
  • Cathy Morris
  • Tammy Kleinman
  • Lauren LaFronz
  • Laura Singer
  • JoAnne Stauss