"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells." - Dr. Seuss
Question #92964 posted on 03/20/2020 4:42 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Book recs? I really like sci-fi/fantasy, historical, romance, and interesting nonfiction (science, self-help, and history in particular) but any genre is awesome. Bonus points if they're on the shorter side.

-My Name Here

A:

Dear friend,

I haven't read non-textbooks in a while, so these are just some of my favorite books that have really stuck with me over time:

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn - very creative, light, fast, and intelligent, and just generally entertaining. 

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour - This is a historical book that helped me be more Christlike and understand a conflict I thought I knew the right side of. It's a great book about compassion and brotherly love, even for those you may see as your enemy. 

The Chosen by Chaim Potok - Again, a book that taught me important things about compassion, and helped me broaden my understanding of Judaism a bit more. It was very good. 

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - deserves all of the praises it gets. A spectacularly written book.  

Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva - So good. So informative. So clear. Is this technically a school textbook, but it is a GREAT non-fiction read to help you pinpoint your own invisible biases. Spectacular literature on the problems of "colorblindness." 

The Years That Matter Most by Paul Tough - is what I'm reading right now. It's a really interesting, journalistic approach to the impacts and problems with college, admissions, testing, and the struggles of the working poor to gain access to this vital stepping stone of social mobility. 

Love Your Enemies by Arthur Brooks - I'm slowly working through this one, but it's really good. I'm trying to learn to be more forgiving, better at listening, and better at engaging in conversation without getting mad at people I disagree with. This book is a great self-help, religious, reflective resource. 

The Liberal Soul by Richard Davis - This book is also REALLY good, and helped me understand my own way of thinking about the world as it relates to my religion and politics... but in a way that is educated, nuanced, and appreciative of people who think differently. 100% recommend. 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - though certainly, you've read this by now. 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - Man. This one is emotional. It's deep. It's thought-provoking. The movie did a really good job, but you have to read the book and work through your feelings about family, poverty, and the ways people try their best. 

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages - Is oriented for youth audiences, but I still remember it as one of my favorite historical fiction novels I have ever read in my life. It's about a girl that lives near the nuclear testing site in Nevada around World War II. Again, deep, symbolic, beautiful. 

11/22/63 by Stephen King - Hey, how about Sci-Fi, time travel, and history? This isn't a scary Stephen King novel. It's amazing. Not conspiratorial, but gives you a cool fictional perspective on a significant moment in U.S. history. I was blown away by his authorial capabilities in this book. I stayed up until 4 am reading it when I was almost done. 

Okay so at the end of the day it turns out I haven't read much of anything since high school, and when I do read I read "basic" books, so I just really love the classics and popular books. So don't rely on me if you want a list of books that you haven't read before. 

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear MNH,

I have actually been reading books because I am in a humanities class. Reading books is cool! What have I been missing? Anyways, not Sci-Fi, but I will recommend these to you anyways:

  • Sundiata: This is an epic poem about the founding of the Malian Empire. Think along the lines of Beowulf, or the Illiad. It's a pretty short read, and although the story changes quite a bit depending on who is telling the story,each telling I've heard of is amazing. It's got drama, it's got magic, it's got war, it's got a whole lot going on .I'd also recommend looking it up on YouTube to find a performance of it (the performances are quite dramatic and include instruments and a choir)
  • Things Fall Apart: This tells the story of a man in Nigeria just before the start of and up to colonization. It's a tragedy told through a very flawed protaganist. The writing is full of cool literary devices and does a magical job of showing the culture and daily lifestyle of the people.  
  • Gods Bits of Wood: This is a story about a railroad strike in 1950's Senegal. The story is fast pace and is told through about 15 different characters in 4 different locations. This has been my absolute favorite so far. It has strikes, rioting, drama, and power struggles. The writing is masterful and this would make a killer movie.

I don't do these books justice #EngineeringStudents, but I cannot recommend them highly enough. I have loved my foray into African Literature and I can't wait for the day to read some more books by the author's we've been studying because dang they are good.

Peace,

Tipperary

A:

Dear reader,

Here are some of my favorite books that I read last year.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (memoir; it might be impossible for me to recommend books without including this one)

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton (ditto, see above)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (historical romance novel; set in 1946 England; written in letters)

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (historical children's novel; set in first-century Galilee; very touching)

Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River by George Handley (Google says this is "travel literature," but it is SO much more than that: memoir, environmental literature, theology, etc.)

Happy reading!

Sincerely,

Cerulean

A:

Dear You,

Out of my recent reads, here are some I think you might like:

  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. It's an entertaining, easy read about a topic I had never heard of before even though I'm a history teacher. (Did you know that instead of integrating, a lot of states CLOSED their schools FOR YEARS?)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. This is fun, fast-paced, and cute. And if you go the audiobook route, the narrator is amazing.
  • Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings, curated by Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Hannah Wheelwright. This is an amazing and eye-opening collection of essays by self-professed Mormon feminists, whatever they interpret that to mean, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who considers themself a Mormon feminist.
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. Is it even the Board if no one recommends a Brandon Sanderson book? This is one of his shortest books, it's very fast-paced, and it's a pretty fun read.
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Oh my heart. What a read. It's historical fiction, and is so so good.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Ng is really good at taking multiple perspectives and putting them into one book, and I think that's what I like about her writing--it's very character-driven.
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Another historical fiction book that will probably make you cry, this one is set in WWII Germany, and is beautifully written.

Happy reading!

-Alta