Hey guys, Rostick here. First of all I hope you and your loved ones are all OK during these difficult times. Make sure to stay safe and protect others!
That being said, I reckon this is a great time to get to read more for those who have some time to kill. Here are 7 books which I enjoyed and can wholeheartedly recommend.
1. Meditations (Marcus Aurelius) non-fiction
A book I feel every person should read in their lifetime. The Stoic philosophy has been a pillar of mankind for more than 2000 years, and remains applicable today – be it in the everyday life of an individual, or in psychology. The popular cognitive-behavioral therapy is deeply rooted in Stoicism. Furthermore, gaining insight into the inner thoughts and torments of a great Roman Emperor (the last of the Five Good Emperors) can only make for a fascinating read.
There are multiple translations of the Meditations. The easiest one to read is the Gregory Hays translation. A more academic one is by A.S.L.Farquharson, which contains a marvelous section of notes to put things in context and enhance your understanding of the words written by Marcus Aurelius. I have read this Farquharson translation, and while it definitely challenged me, I felt I was left with the best possible understanding of the “Meditations”.
2. White Nights (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1848) fiction
The perfect introduction to Dostoyevsky. A short story following a troubled young man dealing with the torment of unrequited love. A mix of romantism and realism taking place in the magnificent St. Petersburg of 1848, and Dostoyevsky makes sure to capture the allure of the beautiful city. This has the potential to stir feelings of sadness, regret, loneliness, or sheer pain. It can just as well stir feelings of awe, appreciation, wholesomeness, insightfulness, or it can send certain individuals on a journey of self discovery.
“May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be for ever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness which you gave to a lonely and grateful heart.”
3. Discourses of Epictetus (Epictetus, Robin Hard) non-fiction
‘About things that are within our power and those that are not’. Arguably the most important and influential lecture on philosophy and Stoicism, and the mother of all self development books. Epictetus teaches us how to be happy, ethical, kind and fulfilled – and the interwinding between the four. His Discourses have been a great influence on the previously mentioned Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. You should probably buy the Discourses, Fragments, Handbook translation by Robin Hard, the consensus is that it`s the best one. Besides Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, you should also read Seneca if you are interested in the topic.
4. Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides, 2019) fiction
Alicia Berenson’s husband, Gabriel, returns home one night and she shoots him five time in the face, then never speaks another word. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, is obsessed with unraveling the mistery. A classic page turner for sure, and easy to read. The final twist gave me chills. One of the best books of 2019, winner of multiple awards.
5. Where the Crawdads Sing (Delia Owens, 2018) fiction
“For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.” synopsis from goodreads.com
Beautiful. One of the best fiction book in recent years. Many avid readers regard this to be one of the best books in years.
6. Pale Blue Dot (Carl Sagan, 1994) non-fiction
Not quite “Astrophysics for dummies”, but not far from it. It`s not for ‘dummies’, but the brilliant Carl Sagan puts the Universe and its existential questions into an intelligible form for the regular reader, and succeeds in a big way. A deep dive into perception, perspective, the Universe and our place in it. A look into humanity and our future. Published in 1994, many of Sagan’s visions for the future already came true. The Bible for anyone passionate about the Cosmos, but an enlightening and likely enjoyable read for any person on this planet.
7. The Chain (Adrian McKinty, 2019) fiction
Finished this one yesterday, the classic Summer Beach read, just … not on the beach … this year. Some of the above titles could be more challenging or specific reads, so I will end the list with a simpler book with a great premise. Here`s the synopsis from goodreads.com.
“You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain”.
All the best, everybody! Rostick.