Reading books is a great hobby. If you disagree with me, it kind of means you're ignorant. (Only kind of, though. If you're taking action and being busy with your action-taking and that's why you don't have time to read, I'll forgive you. Doing is always better than mere reading. But if you have the time and just don't think it's worth it, I condemn you to the fires and ashes of Mordor.) Reading gives you new ideas, new ways to see the world, new perspective, and a fresh ground to grow your opinions. Even if you think you've already the best you can find, and there's no point searching for better since there isn't any, you're mistaken. While it is true that some books become redundant after you read some other books, there is always another book that either goes deeper in ideology and analysis or provides a point of view you haven't yet considered. Your preferences might also change during your life, so it's handy to be on the lookout for new material at all times.
Here are some books I recommend you check out this spring, if you haven't already:
1. The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman
The book looks intimidating with its brick-like thickness, and Herman's writing style can be irritating in the beginning, but once you develop the taste for history and start to yearn more, it becomes a delightful read. You'll learn plenty about ancient Greece and the Roman Empire and philosophy and the Middle Ages and the key players, and most importantly, your eyes are opened to see how everything that has happened in (semi) recent history truly comes down to Plato and Aristotle. You may even choose a side, or change sides, in the process.
2. Eat That Frog! 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
If the previous book depressed you with its length, you'll welcome this one with open arms. A very tightly compressed little handbook with its 21 productivity hacks is a quick and easy read, giving you what you need to know without wasting any time. Spring is a great time to get things done effectively, and this book will definitely help you on your way to superior productivity.
3. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
A timeless classic, this novel not only gives you perspective and allows you to reflect on your own life, but also sheds light to the different morals and abilities of man. You may finds both the good and the bad of your own soul in the pages, or realize something fundamental about human life. If you've read The Cave and the Light mentioned above, you'll also see the influence of one of the great philosophers in the story.
4. Deep Work by Cal Newport
If you're an introvert who likes to sit alone in a corner and do his own thing without the disturbance or assistance of others, yet wonder if you should feel bad about being so anti-social, this book will give you a peace of mind. Newport despises so-called shallow work and instead advocates deep work in getting things done. This means, in effect, that it's okay to lock yourself in a room alone with a computer to finish your project; it's okay that you're not on social media; it's okay that your phone and email are turned off while you do your work. In fact, it's not just okay, it's the optimal state. Go hermit. Work deep.
5. Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development by Otto Rank
I have to confess not having read this book, but my partner talks about it constantly, so I'm starting to get intrigued. Rank is considered one of the great thinkers of the 20th century, along with Jung, Adler, and Freud. The book explores the need to create present in every human. Rank has fascinating theories about the fear of death, the fear of life, truth, reality, and illusions, which can be studied by further reading his boooks Beyond Psychology and Truth and Reality.
6. Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
Keeping in line with this week's WIP video series about Kafka, I feel I must recommend this volume here as well. Kafka wrote a lot of short stories in his live - and only three full-length novels - and most of them are quick reads. None of them are particularly funny or positive, though. Nonetheless, Kafka is unique in his writing style and imagination. You'll be shocked, scared, shaken to the core, and left pondering over what you just read for days, even weeks to come.
These six books will get you started and then lead you futher in their respective directions. You can discover the worlds each of these have to offer, or choose those that pick your interest the most. Get the book, grab your pens and highlighters, and start reading and glossing.
Oh, and if you got too depressed after reading Kafka, a quick remedy can be found in any Calvin and Hobbes collection, so make sure to keep one at hand.