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Life at Work

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, C. & N.W. R.R., Clinton, Iowa (Library of Congress) 1943 April

Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it. ~ Madeleine L’Engle

Labor Day had us thinking about books where the character's job plays a major part in the story. It’s a varied and interesting theme. Here are 6 novels that reflect life at work, each in a different profession. Here’s to reading your way to a work/life balance.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This sardonic novel challenges the idea of retail work as meaningless drudge labor, exploring it through the eyes of a woman who actually enjoys being a store employee.

The New Me by Halle Butler

Millie, the narrator of The New Me, spends her days stapling papers as a temp worker in pursuit of the elusive “temp-to-perm” while she teeters on the brink of total emotional breakdown.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Sweetbitter, written in the voice of a 22 year old newbie, does a great job of conveying the feel of what it's like to be "on the floor" as a waitress in a high end restaurant.

Godspeed by Nickolas Butler

In this riveting novel three troubled construction workers get entangled in a dangerous plan against an impossible deadline.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family division. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude, and sensitivity.

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

Told entirely through clever and captivating Slack messages, this irresistible, relatable satire of both virtual work and contemporary life is The Office for a new world.

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