I used to hate reading and never understood how people could just sit and "curl up with a good book." I could never sit in one place for that long and enjoy staring at pages. I also think that this hatred came for how close the act of reading was to the act of doing homework. It was only in the ninth grade that I started appreciating books and reading for pleasure. Dan Brown and Malcolm Gladwell were my go to books. Brown provided me with amazing insights into cities and religion, both things I find fascinating; while Gladwell introduced me to critical thinking- about how to look at a situation and analyze it differently. Outliers was mind blowing to me just because it challenged the status quo of people that we put on a pedestal and empirically analyze how "luck" or "being at the right place at the right time" can make a person.
College is when I fell in love with reading, though most books I read were for class. My favorite books from class were The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Since college, I have been collecting books and whenever I get time I try and finish them (as much as I can). I have been a lot better this summer and have actually read quite a bit but since I have started working, I have completely stopped reading however that might be changing soon.
Here is a list of my must read books:
- Bhagvadgita: I don't consider myself religious but rather culturally Hindu. How this "bible" of Hinduism book is really interesting and doesn't seem to be preaching at all. It doesn't give me commandments but rather helps me understand how to live my life. I try and read a page a day before bed just because of how deep the writing is and I doubt I'm understanding a lot but I think its one of those book where the meaning changes based on where in life you are. I am determined to finish this book (along with some others on this list)
- The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Amy Schumer: I had asked for this book for Secret Santa from a friend and she did not disappoint! I loved the book, as I do with most biographies of comedians. Understanding the etymology of a joke and where comedians derive humor fascinates me. Schumer writes as candidly as she presents herself on stage and I love how headstrong she is. I am a huge fan and after Trainwreck, this was just the cherry on top.
- Designing your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans: Burnett and Evans, two big wig tech designers introduce design thinking, a new way of approaching a problem by first thinking about the problem itself. The workbook goes through how to ideate a career by firstly saying that there are multiple versions of you that can exist and that there is no one way god sent career for you. With this as a backdrop, this workbook becomes both challenging and fun to go through. Just like the Gita, this one also changes based on the stage of life you're in. Comment, or message me if you want to know what career plans I came to by the end and the overarching critiques I have about design thinking.
- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy: I entered into this book excited to read something by the author who wrote God of Small things and for the most point, she did not disappoint. She picks one big social issue: the last time it was feminism, and this time it's the lives of trans people in India; and further weaves multiple storylines around them. I have yet not finished the book but in true Roy fashion, I feel stupider as I read. I love her hidden meaning and how she makes direct claims about the government through the cloak of fiction. It's truly lovely purely because of how accurately she can depict India. Again, nowhere close to finishing it. Hopefully if my reading buddy, Hannah picks it up again, I might as well haha.
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah: Another comedian on the list and one of my faves. While, I don't particularly love The Daily Show, Noah's charm and comedy always ropes me into watching and feeling happy, even if it was just because I got to see him. His story is amazingly unique as a kid from the apartheid who was half African and half White, raised by an African mother in a militant South Africa. I have read this cover to cover and to be honest, I might pick it up again.
- Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: An honest exploration of poor-class white America living in the midwest is beautifully crafted purely because of how genuine it is. Vance sprinkles literally no heroism in the story (even though he himself is an ex-marine and Yale Law grad) but paints this heart wrenching story of people who live in a poor bubble with no escape hatch. Reading this also helps me understand why people voted for Trump. It's something you can only understand if you read the book.
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari: Another comedian comes up on the list! I told y'all I like comedians. Ansari released this book two years ago as a sociology experiment along with a professor at NYU. I loved his qualitative approach because it validated my own research on social media app, Yik Yak at the time. I have read this book multiple times and honestly it gives me hope (even though statistically, I am bound to get the least matches on Tinder).
- Michelle Obama, a Life by Peter Slevin: I met Slevin on campus and had lunch with him. We talked about MOB (as he calls her), the etymology of the title and what it was like to hand over a copy to the first lady. This wasn't just a book but an encyclopedia of interviews and observations about Michelle Obama without a single input from her or the White House. If you think about it, it was truly stalking at its best!
This has been my list of books for the year! Let me know what you're reading and as always, like and share!