Why you should consider reading classics + 5 classics recommendations

June 19, 2019

Classics

Once again we have another book recommendation and this time it’s on classics books. I decided to also share some of the reasons I think you should consider reading classics once in a while. I know this genre could be daunting to get into. It might be difficult to read especially if you enjoy mostly fantasy and other popular genres.

Here are some of the reasons why I think you should consider reading classics once in a while:

  1. Classics provide an opportunity to learn and understand history and culture. If you have an interest in history whatsoever, then this is a genre you need to consider picking up. Classics provide a lot of context for things you might not know/understand. They offer more perspective to historical events and philosophies thus you acquire vast knowledge in a certain topic, thus enriching you in ways you did not expect.
  2. Classics will challenge your perspective on certain topics. I have experienced this through the books I’ve read, even though I haven’t read a lot. I always find this intriguing and it’s the jist of what reading is all about.
  3. Most classics have been adapted and remade into movies. After enjoying the books you can reward yourself by watching their adaptations. It is always intriguing to see these unfailingly rich and penetrating stories brought to life on the big screen.

With those reasons, here are 5 book recommendations for you to consider:

  1. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart“Reduce, reuse, recycle,” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart point out in this provocative, visionary book, such an approach only perpetuates the one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model, dating to the Industrial Revolution, that creates such fantastic amounts of waste and pollution in the first place. Why not challenge the belief that human industry must damage the natural world? In fact, why not take nature itself as our model for making things? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we consider its abundance not wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective.
  2. The origin of Species by Charles DarwinDarwin’s theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been specifically created; all are locked into a pitiless struggle for existence, with extinction looming for those not fitted for the task. Yet The Origin of Species (1859) is also a humane and inspirational vision of ecological interrelatedness, revealing the complex mutual interdependencies between animal and plant life, climate and physical environment, and – by implication – within the human world. Written for the general reader, in a style which combines the rigour of science with the subtlety of literature, The Origin of Species remains one of the founding documents of the modern age.
  3. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondIn this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed writing, technology, government, and organized religion—as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war—and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.
  4. Sapiens by Yuval Noah HarariDr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
  5. Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made by Gaia VinceWe all know our planet is in crisis, and that it is largely our fault. But all too often the full picture of change is obstructed by dense data sets and particular catastrophes. Struggling with this obscurity in her role as an editor at Nature, Gaia Vince decided to travel the world and see for herself what life is really like for people on the frontline of this new reality. What she found was a number people doing the most extraordinary things.
    During her journey she finds a man who is making artificial glaciers in Nepal along with an individual who is painting mountains white to attract snowfall; take the electrified reefs of the Maldives; or the man who’s making islands out of rubbish in the Caribbean. These are ordinary people who are solving severe crises in crazy, ingenious, effective ways. While Vince does not mince words regarding the challenging position our species is in, these wonderful stories, combined with the new science that underpins Gaia’s expertise and research, make for a persuasive, illuminating — and strangely hopeful — read on what the Anthropocene means for our future.

Thank you Penguin Random House South Africa for sending me these copies.

Until next time, lets keep reading

Sthembile

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