Summer Book Recommendations
Summer is quickly coming to an end, but here at AMT, the book recommendations keep coming. Reading is an important aspect of the culture around here. In fact, we recently finished reading Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and held two informative and fun book discussion groups where we discussed ideas and challenged each other’s and our own perceptions.
Reading is a great way to explore history, place, and the wide spectrum of people who inhabit both history and place. Reading can open us to new experiences and provide an outlet for our innate curiosity. You don’t have to read widely and voraciously to benefit from a good book, and we are talking about books here.
Reading a book requires sustained engagement with ideas, characters, and questions. Reading a book requires concentration and attention, and the importance of being able to both concentrate and attend has never been more important than in this age of almost constant digital distraction.
Reading on a screen just isn’t the same thing. In fact, a recent article in Psychology Today lays the case for reading real books by explaining how digital reading falls short. Martin Kutscher explains that: “1) screens lack a tactile experience, 2) hypertexts are distracting and hard to navigate, 3) shallow reading becomes the norm, and 4) digital distractions are right there on the screen.” Think about it–the way a book smells, the way it feels in your hands, the thickness of the pages are all part of the reading experience. Research proves that reading is multi-sensory and when information enters your brain in a variety of ways, you learn better. It’s why teachers often use blocks, tiles or other manipulative devices in teaching.
When you couple the physical sensation of holding a book with the fact that a book doesn’t have clickable links, you begin getting at the core differences between book and screen reading. How often do you stick with an entire article on the internet without clicking on a link? If you are able to get through an article without clicking, you’re a better internet reader than most of us. As human beings, we’re hardwired towards distraction–and internet reading feeds our distractibility.
When we read on screens, we’re rewarded by a flashy new page every time we click a link. The rewards in reading books, however, come by way of patience and sticking with something to a logical (or not) conclusion. Books–fiction or nonfiction or poetry–promote attention and a much deeper dive into the material at hand, and that deeper dive is good for our brains!
A few months ago, we created a book list on Amazon.com. The list comprises some of our favorite books, and because we love reading so much, we’re always adding to it. Here are a few recommendations to round out your summer reading. Check out the list–if you’ve recently read something you think we should check out, let us know!
Wolf Boys by Dan Slater. “It’s a look into how these drug cartels recruit young people and how they move up through the ranks. Very graphic accounts of the inner workings. Dark and sobering.”
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. “I loved reading Dahl’s children’s books when I was younger and recently discovered his other, more adult-focused writing. This is a collection of short stories that I recently read that kept me guessing all the way through; there are lots of unexpected twists and I can’t get enough of the writing style!”
Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom. “This debut novel by my good friend Katy Yocom leaves you hungry to know more about tiger rescue, India, and the connection and disconnection inherent in our humanity. Beautifully written, it’s not to be missed.”
The Last Stone by Mark Bowden. “If you like true crime, you’ll devour Bowden’s exploration of how authorities finally solved the 30-year-old disappearance of sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyons from a shopping mall in suburban DC.”
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. “If you haven’t ready any Vonnegut books, you definitely should. If you like your satire with a twist of science fiction, Cat’s Cradle is the perfect book.”
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. “Nomadland, Jessica Bruder’s book about the three years she spent driving around the U.S. tracing the subculture of people who live in their vehicles and the economic and social forces that brought them there.”