Sorry for not updating the blog for the last while! We’ve been trying to sort out better structure for our book selections, and in case you weren’t around for the results, they are as follows:
When I put together the polls, wordcount will be listed. If a book is under 100,000 words, we will read the whole thing in two weeks. If the book is over 100,000, we will meet twice as we have for many in the past.
The submission poll has a space for you to identify how many weeks a book should be read, so if you can find the wordcount and put that info it, that’d be great. If not, I don’t mind finding it myself. 😊
Other than that, it would be very helpful to me if you could send me a message or post in the Discord channel what genre(s) you’d like to see next. I don’t mind selecting one, but I want you to have the chance to read the genres you’d like. Doing this in writing is a quicker and more efficient process than doing it during the meetings, so please send any suggestions my way! Even if you don’t care what we read, that is still valuable information that I’d appreciate.
Our genre for next session(s) is nonfiction. I’ve tried to find a variety of books, since I don’t have any of the genre in the submissions. I recognize that there is a wide variety of nonfiction styles, so if you are hoping for a different type, let me know and I’ll consider it for our next meetings.
Without further rambling…
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it. Dr. Oliver Sacks recounts the stories of patients struggling to adapt to often bizarre worlds of neurological disorder. Here are people who can no longer recognize everyday objects or those they love; who are stricken with violent tics or shout involuntary obscenities; who have been dismissed as autistic or retarded, yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales illuminate what it means to be human.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.
Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
In Underland, Robert Macfarlane delivers an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself. Traveling through the dizzying expanse of geologic time—from prehistoric art in Norwegian sea caves, to the blue depths of the Greenland ice cap, to a deep-sunk “hiding place” where nuclear waste will be stored for 100,000 years to come—Underland takes us on an extraordinary journey into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind.
Global in its geography and written with great lyricism, Underland speaks powerfully to our present moment. At once ancient and urgent, this is a book that will change the way you see the world.
(Quiet) by Susan Cain
The book that started the Quiet Revolution
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I read this book four or five years ago and absolutely loved it. I think it might be too short and perhaps too sad for the club at this time, but I strongly encourage any of you to read it. I’ll include it in the poll just in case. 🙂
For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question ‘What makes a life worth living?’
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.
Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.'” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
What shall we read next? (pick two)
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (35%, 6 Votes)
- Quiet by Susan Cain (29%, 5 Votes)
- Underland by Robert Macfarlane (24%, 4 Votes)
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks (6%, 1 Votes)
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (6%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 9