What they're reading now

Real estate pros share their picks for books on old New York, how Trump won the 2016 election and the New Zealand gold rush

Dec.December 01, 2017 11:00 AM

Jacqueline Urgo
President, The Marketing Directors

What are you reading now? “The Dollhouse” by Fiona Davis.

What spurred you to read the book? I like to follow new historical fiction releases, and Fiona Davis has written two books about the early days of New York City. Her stories center around characters that live in iconic buildings, such as the Barbizon Hotel for Women or the Dakota.

Has anything in the book stayed with you? The book made me think of my place in the ongoing story of New York City, and how there is history in every place and object. It is incredible how if you look around, and talk to longtime residents, you just might find someone who will be able to tell you tales of the city long ago. Like in the book, this might lead to a new discovery that could directly relate to or impact your life. It’s interesting how everyone is connected in some way, even through the decades.

Matthew Brett
Partner, Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman

What are you reading now? Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency” by Joshua Green.

What spurred you to read it? I stumbled upon a book review, and while I don’t generally read this type of nonfiction, I was genuinely intrigued by Bannon and his rise within the political world.

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? What grabbed me the most is that we rely too heavily on conventional wisdom. In the case of the 2016 election, the conventional wisdom suggested that Hillary Clinton was going to win. It seemed as if everyone believed that — even the Trump campaign. This book made me realize that in the world we live in, all of the norms we once accepted as being true are subject to challenge. We can no longer operate under the pre-2016 set of assumptions.

Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is searching for understanding as to what happened in the 2016 general election. The book was incredibly well written and offered great insight into the mind of Steve Bannon and how Donald Trump ascended to the presidency.

Maria Vitagliano
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Ideal Properties Group

What are you reading right now, or what did you finish most recently? “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton — the youngest writer ever to win the Man Booker Prize.

What spurred you to read that book? I love historical fiction that weaves a narrative around historical events, in this case the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s. I also love contemporary literature that intelligently draws upon past literary traditions to create something interesting and new. This is all that and more. “The Luminaries” begins as a mimesis of a 19th-century novel with a gothic edge that then transforms and deconstructs as the work progresses.

Would you recommend it to others? I highly recommend this book. It is a long, meandering tour de force at 832 pages, with rich descriptions of 19th-century colonial New Zealand and a multicolored cast of Dickens-esque characters. The overarching mystery tale is composed of intertwining story lines, rife with murder, sex, opium, greed and the like, with each chapter ending on a cliffhanger.

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