With an abundance of media options to choose from and our attention spans shorter than ever, reading can often feel like a chore. Reading provides just as much information and entertainment as the other types of media we consume, but we tend to ignore it. With Staff Picks, we aim to uncover some of the things that are currently on our minds.
For our first Staff Picks, we highlight some of the books that YR Staff are currently reading. Next time you need an escape, consider these five books picked by YR Media staff:
Book: Killing Commendatore
Author: Haruki Murakami
Reading Level: Easy
All of Murakami’s books are bizarre and I don't want to spoil this one, so I’m not gonna put much out there. His books are a take on magical realism where things just suddenly go left field at some point in the story. Usually, there’s a big revelation or just a weird plot twist. This one is about a recently divorced portrait artist who's tired of doing corporate portraits for rich business people. He moves to this weird mountain-top house where a recently deceased famous painter was living. He's dealing with all this stuff in his life and then things get really bizarre and it's surreal. One of the characters from a painting he's obsessed with comes to life and then pops out into the story and does some other weird stuff. I like that he just talks about things in an almost boring way that somehow is super captivating. All his books are really focused on everyday details. It's kind of creepy, not a murder mystery or thriller-type thing. But there are definitely some unsettling moments in it. He focused a lot on interpersonal human interactions. All the characters are weird. His books are hard to put down.
Book: Capital in the 21st Century
Author: Thomas Piketty
Reading Level: Hard
I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in the world’s current financial situation. If you are passionate about economic inequality and want to learn more, this book is 750 pages of pure economics. The only way I could finish it was by skipping the footnotes because almost every page had one and it was getting hard to digest all the information included. Piketty examines how inequality has changed from the end of the 19th century to the current present-day and the economic ebbs and flows of past and present.
Oliver “Kuya” Rodriguez
Book: As a Man Thinketh
Author: James Allen
Reading Level: Medium
"As a Man Thinketh" is an early self-help book that was published in 1903. I picked it up because I was watching an old ESPN interview with Gucci Mane and he said that he read this book while he was incarcerated and it changed his whole perspective on life. It's only 60 pages. I can get into that. It's got some terminology that I had to go back and look up because some of the words are outdated. It examines the human thought process and how your thoughts create the world you live in, so circumstance isn't really an important thing. I would recommend it to anybody who is at a fork in the road or if you're questioning whether or not you want to do something. It'll help guide your decision-making skills. The overall message is that nothing can come from fear and doubt, you have to be okay with something not being easy. Guwop!
Book: City of Thieves
Author: David Benioff
Reading Level: Easy
It's historical fiction, loosely based on his grandparents. They were in Russia during World War 2. His grandfather was in Leningrad during the siege of Leningrad. So he wrote this coming-of-age story about this young guy who's based on his grandfather. He’s trapped in the city during the siege. He meets up with some other people and they have to navigate how to get through the country when it's war-torn. It's easy to read and it's very cinematic, which makes sense as Benioff was also one of the main TV writers for “Game of Thrones.” He does a lot of scene-setting that's very visual. I would recommend it to literally anyone. What really appealed to me about it is that coming-of-age stories are always really interesting, but I especially like this one because it's mostly about these two boys and learning what their friendship means to each other.
Book: Where the Wild Things Are
Author: Maurice Sendak
Reading Level: Easy
I would recommend this book because what's not to like? The illustrations are awesome, it's adventurous and fantastical. It's mostly for younger kids, but I think it's great once you're older to revisit this book. I think if you give it a second read, later on, you might take away a whole different story or meaning that you might have missed the first time around.