A year has passed since I have been conveniently putting off reading books mainly because I’ve always had so much studying to do, and also because facebook is the cancer that mysteriously sucks out literally hours of potential productivity time from the day. Anyway, now I’ve decided to curb my social media addiction and steer more towards books (and studies). And since making a post about your resolutions helps you complete them sooner (or so I’ve read) here is a part of my new year’s resolutions, which requires me to read at least 6 of these books by May this year (don’t you judge me now I have a med school to pass).
1. A Brief History of Time –Stephen Hawking
I’m done with half of this amazing book already and I might be worsening the pre-existing existential crisis but anyway, studying Physics in Pre Med has a lot to do why I’m still sane till now. Also Stephen Hawking, being the genius he is, explains every complicated thing in this flawless manner which makes you want to leave everything and go do a Physics major.
2. The Stranger–Albert Camus
I remember reading the first few chapters of this masterpiece of a novel last year but then stopped because I had a semester exam coming up (which I hadn’t studied for all year, thanks again to facebook). Now I want to finish it, but it’s gonna have to wait till I’m done with Brief History Of Time.
3. A History of Western Philosophy–Bertrand Russell
We had an essay from one of Bertrand Russell’s book in high school as a part of our curriculum and two years ago I had decided to read more of his works, inspired mostly by his thoughts and philosophy on science and his opinion on war and Einstein. Two years have passed and procrastination took the better of me. Until recently I had forgotten about it but then I came across Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reading list, and it had this book in it.
4. The Metamorphosis– Franz Kafka
Okay, this one is a bit of a long shot, because I don’t really read a lot of novels but I have been seeing Kafka quotes on my Facebook timeline a lot lately and I wanted to see what the fuss is all about. Lets see how this one turns out.
5. The Communist Manifesto–Karl Marx and some other guy
My maternal aunts have been keen supporters of communism, in fact my uncle died defending communism in the time of a dictatorship on my country. My grandfather and most of my maternal side is referred to as comrades by their friends. So it was natural that I was brought up to believe in socialism. This time I wanted to read the manifesto thoroughly (not just skim it as I had done before) and decide for myself if it is the only way to save humanity.
6. Black Hole Blues And Other Songs From Outer Space– Janna Levin
“Scientists are like those levers or knobs or those boulders helpfully screwed into a climbing wall. Like the wall is some cemented material made by mixing knowledge, which is a purely human construct, with reality, which we can only access through the filter of our minds. There’s an important pursuit of objectivity in science and nature and mathematics, but still the only way up the wall is through the individual people, and they come in specifics… So the climb is personal, a truly human endeavor, and the real expedition pixelates into individuals, not Platonic forms.”
What more reason to love this book.
7. Time Travel: A Brief History– James Gleick
Although time travel has been struck off as a scientific impossibility after the popular Stephen Hawking’s party for the future time travelers (where no one showed up) one can’t help but re-visit this thought over and over in a futile pursuit to satiate the imagination of the human mind. This book is more of a philosophy and history based rather than pure science and I’m really looking forward to reading more of it.
8. The Birth of Tragedy–Friedrich Nietzsche
Although I’m not that big of a Nietzsche fan, but I would be missing out on a lot of wisdom if I left my mind devoid of any Nietzsche styled cynicism. This book would be the perfect way to rekindle my long suppressed nihilism phase.
9. The Phenomenology of Mind– Hegel
I didn’t decide to be a neuroscientist out of boredom, it was because I have this crippling desire to read people’s minds and find out whether it’s just a bunch of chemicals and sparks holding together the fort of sanity or if there is more to it. Which means I am also obsessed with psychology (that is when I’m not overwhelmed with cosmological insignificance). Which also means Hegel is a must read for me, but only a summary because this book is long enough to awaken my procrastination demons.
10.Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Minds– Charles Mackay
This book was a part of Carl Sagan’s reading list which is convincing enough for me to have downloaded it. Also the title is so thought-provoking.It is more of a history accounting and quite lengthy to begin with, so I hope I don’t end up reading only half of it (which I probably will, smh).
11. The Shadow of The Crescent Moon–Fatima Bhutto
The only person in the Bhutto family that I have a slight amount of respect for is Fatima Bhutto. She was once a role model for me along with Sharmeen Obaid- Chinnoy. This novel is based in a war-stricken Afghanistan and captures most of what is happening as a result of sugar-coated “peace missions” and how they affect the locals.
12. Snell’s Clinical Neuroanatomy
Because I have to pass my neurosciences module too.
13. The Republic-Plato (summary)
There is something about books that are not written in modern English that really repels me, and I think English being my second language has to do with it. And its sad when most of these ancient works are translated in hard to read English. Also The Republic is really long so a summary will suffice for now.
14. The Quran
Being Muslim, I have read the Quran quite a few times but I havent exactly read read it. This time I aim to read it thoroughly with proper translation and explanation, and clarify all the misconceptions and misinterpretations fed to us by the media.
15. Carrie –Stephen King
You may remember me just saying how I’m not a big fan of novels but that does not hold true for Stephen King. His books aren’t novels, they are roller coaster rides imprinted onto paper. I read almost half of Carrie but I can’t really recall why I abandoned the book. Well this year is the time to resume this masterpiece.
16. Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour
I came across this when I researched some reference books to study for Behavioural Sciences and I was addicted, but it got lost under the pile of other homework and I had more important subjects like anatomy and pathology to study first. So now I’ve decided to finish this book before any other distractions/module exams come in the way.
Woahh this was a pretty long post. I hope it serves its purpose and motivates me to read at least half of the books I listed down. Here’s to a more educated 2017!