Since plonking my bum firmly back on the book-y band wagon a few months ago following a very severe dry spell in my reading itinerary, my ‘To Read’ list is now growing freakishly long – to the point that quite frankly it’s almost intimidating. There’s no way that I’m ever going to be able to get round to reading everything I want to even in my entire lifetime, surely?!
I’ve always chosen to read fiction over non-fiction, simply because reading has always been a form of escapism for me and the length and breadth of people’s imaginations and the stories they manage to conjure up never fails to amaze me. However, I’ve recently decided that in an attempt to make this hobby even more worthwhile, I’d like to start reading some fact-based books that will serve to (hopefully) educate my puney little brain and spark some deep(er) thinking.
I’ve always been interested in and enjoyed learning about history, philosophy and psychology, so what better place to start? I’ve been doing some research and pouring over “Books to Read Before You Die” type lists that cover these topics, so here’s my September Book Wishlist as a result – if you’ve read any of these, please let me know your thoughts and which I should tackle first!
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
While Europe is becoming increasingly secularised, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between ‘intelligent design’ and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries religious dogma from medieval times still serves to abuse basic human rights such as women’s and gay rights. And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.
Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell
An art expert instantly spots a fake. A cop decides whether to shoot. A psychologist accurately predicts a couple’s future in minutes. This book is about those moments when we ‘know’ something without knowing why. It shows that honing your instincts could change the way you think about thinking forever.