I found one of Sam Starbuck’s books on a blog, and that they were available for free online. I read that book, loved it, made note of a few other interesting titles to read later, but they fell by the wayside.
There are only so many hours to read in a day, but I’m shifting the other titles to higher priority. I’ll read them soon. I adored the second book so much, it made me sorry I hadn’t spent time on it sooner.
Charitable Getting; Sam Starbuck.
This story follows the workers at a charity consulting company called SparkVISION. They help charities rebrand themselves, do ad campaigns, run damage control, etc. Because they’re working for charities, it’s very important that they earn their money, and many of them are doing their work more for the love of it than their pay–they’re a small group, often over-worked and hassled. And yet they’re a tight-knit family, hilarious in their squabbles and jokes.
They’re run by Bo Sparks, energetic and slightly insane (he has a gong). Jess, their Outreach Officer, takes entirely too much joy in breaking the new interns. Ian, their receptionist, also doubles as a cook at company parties. Taking place in December if 2009, the company has to deal with all the fuss that surrounds the holidays, some complicated personal lives, and their jogs at the business, a kind of juggling that sometimes has casualties.
One of them just might be an anonymous blogger that a journalist is determined to uncover–mostly for the story, partly because she hates the blogger. And one of their clients is so angry with the results of a consultation he’s threatening to sue. And if the major crises aren’t enough, minor ones pop up every day.
The frenetic pacing of this book had me reading to the end, wondering who the blogger would be, and what would happen to them if they were discovered. The characters themselves are interesting, and their interactions with their family, co-workers, and friends create a complex web of relationships that feel very real. They help each other, but also tease, place bets, joke, and made me laugh more than once. An interesting look at the business of charity, how the internet affects the non-digital world, and the consequences of trying to make the world a slightly better place.