Candide by Voltaire | You might need to read this book twice just to get the full effect of it. It’s packed with political satire circa 1759, but it reads as if it’s talking about the culture of today. In a lot of ways, it proves that all people are pretty much the same, regardless of the century.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan | A lot of people say that this book changed the way they view food, and for good reason. It looks not only at what we’re eating and how the food is being treated before it makes its way to our table, but also things we rarely take the time to acknowledge: like food policies and how it affects the bigger world.
Instead of celebrating prodigies, this book shows that there really is no such thing as a “prodigy.” It’s not that successful people just fell into it, but more that it’s a combination of hard work, opportunity, and seizing the moment. It will inspire you to work harder, if anything.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz | You need to read this book, because it challenges the distinction between “high” and “low” culture. And if you’re not bilingual, it makes you deal with bilingual thinking.
The Stranger by Albert Camus | Dying is a complicated business, and nothing proves that more than Roach’s in-depth and fascinating examination of exactly what happens when you donate your body to science. It might just make you want to do it…
For help understanding: Bipolar disorder, depression Dr. Jamison looks at manic-depressive illness from two sides: as one of the highest regarded authorities on it, and a person diagnosed with it; as someone who treats it, and someone who’s resisted her own treatment of it.