What’s On My Bookshelf
February 2021 Edition
In the midst of all the craziness happening around us, sometimes it’s nice to just unwind with a good book and a cup of coffee on the couch. I honestly don’t believe people who claim they aren’t “big-readers”; I just think they haven’t found the right genre or style for them yet. Find what captivates you the most; once you do that, trust me, you’ll have a whole list of books just waiting to be checked out, or even added to your online shopping cart. Here are some of my favorite books at the moment to give you a headstart:
Things No One Else Can Teach Us
This book is by Kanwer Singh, or his stage name Humble the Poet. It’s full of quotes, poems, and recollections of relatable memories of Singh’s life. This book does focus on positivity in general, but it’s more than that. He recalls dark moments in his life, similar to what many people face today. He explains his reactions to those situations at the time, but also transitions to how he should have reacted. Singh has an incredible voice connecting to his readers; unlike many philosophical books, he caters to millennials and even a fraction of Gen Z.
The book is full of values that we must come to terms with, even though it may be difficult to. We obviously can’t control events in our lives, but we can control how we react to them- it’s all about perspective.
Unlearn: 101 Simple Truths For a Better Life
Unlearn is also by Kanwer Singh. This book is comprised of 101 truths to life that we must realize to move forward- things to keep in mind in everyday life. Every single value in this book I personally took to heart; it’s almost as if it’s your best friend giving you real talk combined with a pep talk, but in a book form. This is literally a handbook to life- read it and you won’t regret it.
Ok, yes, it’s a science book but bear with me here. The author Randall Munroe takes a series of questions from his forum asked by real people around the world and answers them using actual scientific reasoning. Mind you, these questions are VERY random and VERY stupid, like “If every person on Earth aimed a laser at the Moon at the same time, would it change color?”. At first, you’re probably like, Why would anyone wonder that? But then the more you think about it, you’re like Wait…would it?
The stupidity of the questions, combined with his hilarious sarcastic tone and stick-figure illustrations makes this book weirdly intriguing. His explanations are very simple, even with all the complex jargon and calculations; you do not need any prior science background to understand this book- that’s what’s so amazing about Munroe’s writing.
What Einstein Told His Barber
The style of this book is similar to What If?; Instead of hypothetical questions, Robert L Wolke answers common questions. For example, I’m sure you know that hot air rises. But why? And if that’s the case, why is it so cold up in the mountains? Wolke answers these questions in simple, yet scientifically thorough terms. Included in many of his explanations, he writes a “Try It” section, where you can witness his explanation in action through a home-safe experiment. Moreover, he includes a “Nitpickers Corner” at the end of some explanations for all you science-enthusiasts. Occasionally, in order to maintain the simplicity of his descriptions, he must skip over some irregularities or exceptions; the “Nitpicker’s Corner” is there to give an even more in-depth explanation of said anomalies.
The Book of General Ignorance
…it’s literally a book of RANDOM facts that you’ll probably never need to know in your LIFE; yet, nevertheless, it is encapsulating. It debunks common myths, misunderstandings, and misconceptions with humor, leaving you with that “my-whole-life-has-been-a-lie” feeling and dumbfounded with how little you truly knew. The book uncovers truths about science, history, literature, nature, and much more.
Keep track of authors and genres you tend to gravitate to. Generally, authors maintain a similar style across their works; you may find another book of theirs to your liking! Turn on some soft music, brew some coffee, and prepare to get lost in wherever your book takes you next.
— Nisha Shastry, Program Management Intern
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