Winter is coming and with that dreaded cold drawing near, here are three books students should read to inspire, motivate, cultivate or take a spoon full of the sweetest laughter every student needs.
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
While on assignment for Harper’s magazine, Wallace writes seven nonfiction essays on the topic of Middle-America culture like taking Caribbean Cruises or the one vacation that you actually hated, and it was much less a vacation than previously anticipated. In this story, Wallace writes in the most vivid of ways about the mundane, supposedly fun things on a Caribbean Cruise. It is the cruise ship staff that is trying overtly hard to demonstrate what fun is and the mere idea of fun becomes absolutely, horrendously creepy in a way that makes you laugh and think. We have all looked back on that one vacation or trip, and we shrivel up inside with pure dread. Another essay that Wallace is noted for is his infamous time spent at an Illinois State Fair, Ticket to the Fair. He writes of baton twirlers being thrown in to the air and coming down hard on random, unfortunate spectators to the out-right mystifying career that is the carny, with whom you give money to but win nothing back.
A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Atwood writes a chilling novel that will surpass the time for years to come. Published in 1998, Atwood tells the story through her beautiful prose of Offred, who has been abducted for the pure benefit of her procreation. Offred and many others end up at a house where they are called Handmaids, which are the women who are fertile enough to bear children for their leaders. During the times of the current political climate with the debates strong on abortion and women’s rights, this book brings a terrifying alternative to what could be.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
This book cannot come more highly recommended by me. Written by well-known astrophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, he writes a book that is small enough to fit in your pocket but is packed with enough knowledge about our universe that it blows the mind. He answers many of the questions some of us may have had or do have now about, “How do we (or I) fit within the universe?” He doesn’t fluff up any of the terminology at all, but he does explain it in a way that the reader will be able to understand. He writes about how religion plays a role and what the benefit is with them, as well as expounding on the Big Bang to black holes and quantum mechanics. It’s the perfect book on those nights when there is not a cloud in sight and the stars are so bright one would want to try to count them.