Being in grad school means that I spend lots of time reading for class and not enough time reading for myself. I’ve been collecting a list of books to read as soon as my summer break rolls around. This is just a selection of the books I want to read, but since summer only lasts so long, it’s probably a good thing that this post has forced me to narrow my list to ten. What books are on your to-read list?
The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier: Award-winning science journalist Angier draws on conversations with hundreds of the world’s top scientists, and her own work as a reporter for the New York Times, to create an entertaining guide to scientific literacy–a joyride through the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy.
Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara Frederickson: We all know love matters. but in this groundbreaking book positive emotions expert Barbara L. Fredrickson shows us how much, by giving us an entirely new way of understanding and appreciating it. More than happiness and even optimism, love holds the key to improving our mental and physical health as well as lengthening our lives and deepening our personal experience. Using research from her own lab, Fredrickson redefines love not as a stable behemoth, but as micro-moments of connection between people–even strangers.
Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain by Dana Suskind: The founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, Professor Dana Suskind, explains why the most important–and astoundingly simple–thing you can do for your child’s future success in life is to talk to him or her, reveals the recent science behind this truth, and outlines precisely how parents can best put it into practice.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty: Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he’s sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him — most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of? Coates takes readers along on his journey through America’s history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings. In his trademark style — a mix of lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, essayistic argument, and reportage — Coates provides readers a thrillingly illuminating new framework for understanding race: its history, our contemporary dilemma, and where we go from here.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain: Demonstrates how introverted people are misunderstood and undervalued in modern culture, charting the rise of extrovert ideology while sharing anecdotal examples of how to use introvert talents to adapt to various situations.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg: Identifies the neurological processes behind behaviors, explains how self-control and success are largely driven by habits, and shares scientifically-based guidelines for achieving personal goals and overall well-being by adjusting specific habits.
Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild by Ellen Meloy: Meloy follows a herd of Southwestern bighorn sheep through the canyonlands of Utah and throughout the Southwest.
About Alice by Calvin Trillin: A remarkably moving and memorable tribute to Alice Trillin, who figured prominently and indelibly in Calvin Trillin’s books, and in his life. Alice was a beautiful, brilliant, and beloved wife who died too soon.This persuasive and poignant portrait, which is not about grief, is a celebration of a rewarding and remunerative life.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely: An evaluation of the sources of illogical decisions explores the reasons why irrational thought often overcomes level-headed practices, offering insight into the structural patterns that cause people to make the same mistakes repeatedly.