Scott Langen, Director of Development at Human Solutions, shares what he's been reading.
Langen has been director of development at Human Solutions, a nonprofit serving homeless and low-income families, since 2011. For work he consumes a variety of reading material: books, journal articles and online content, all of which serve to inspire and educate, as well as provide fodder for new ideas and trends in marketing and fundraising. But fiction is his first love. “I always have a book with me to read during lunch or a break before transitioning from one project to another,” says Langen, who is currently toting around a book of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. “I tend to dive into an author, reading all their works back-to-back, then cap off that experience by reading a literary biography of the author.”
“This is a dark comedy about a failed artist turned failing development officer at a university. Lipsyte touches on classism, consumerism and the collapse of the American dream, while delivering comic punches suffused with heart. Milo is a loving father and husband who fails to make life work for rather than against him. Maybe someday a more realistic novel will be written about the life of a development professional, lest the world think we are all as miserable as Milo. But I am thrilled we were noticed at all.”
The Fish Can Sing
“Set in early 20th-century Reykjavik, this is a coming of age story of an orphan boy named Alfgrimur, a gifted singer paid to lend his voice at funerals for unidentified bodies of fishermen and sailors that wash ashore. A mystery unfolds around Gardar Holm, a fellow Icelander and world-famous singer who makes occasional visits home to bask in the adoration of his people. The modern versus the traditional is a tug of war at play in the novel, and is a struggle that Iceland itself seems yet to have fully resolved.”