Concordians recommend their favourite winter reads to students
- Utopia for Realists– Rutger Bregman
By following mainstream media on a daily basis, we aren’t given the impression the world is doing too well. In a lot of ways, it isn’t. However, in this book, young European theorist and journalist Rutger Bregman argues the world has also come a long way in many ways. He talks about “two centuries of stupendous progress,” where the world saw a decline in warfare and a spike in technological advancements in the 19th and 20th centuries. He writes: “What would have been miraculous in the Middle Ages is now commonplace.” His book is a well-researched, detailed and refreshing exploration of modern-day society and the new dystopia we face today. He discusses problems within the food industry, advertising and how societies have lost their sense of leisure. He argues that a lot of the world has become pessimistic, and many refuse to believe another utopia could be around the corner. Bregman thinks what is lacking, most of all, is the will to believe in an upcoming utopia, complete with 15-hour work weeks and long, healthy lives. This nonfiction book makes you think and forces you to reflect on the modern world—how things have evolved and how they will continue to evolve.
By Danielle Gasher
The Hidden Life of Trees– Peter Wohlleben
Spending more time looking at screens than the sky has been normalized in North American culture. This is why Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees is a refreshing, interesting read. Wohlleben spent more than 20 years studying, working and writing about trees. His admiration for trees is obvious in his writing. He writes about them with the same affectionate tone pet owners use towards their animal companions, which helps him direct the reader’s’ attention to the many similarities between animals and trees. Once you enter the intricate world of forests—a world perhaps you didn’t know existed—you won’t want to leave. Wohlleben is adept at translating complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-understand and engaging story, featuring trees as the main characters. Life tends to be busy and fast-paced, especially for students. This book is a striking reminder there is so much going on in the natural world we are unaware of, and we should pay more attention to these things.
By Aysha White
Born a Crime– Trevor Noah
A lot of us know Trevor Noah as the funny and smart new face of The Daily Show. But upon reading his compelling, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking memoir, the South-African-born comedian and television host became so much more to me. This maturely-written book has made me care about The Daily Show and Noah’s commentary more than I already did. In his book, Born a Crime, Noah shares extremely personal experiences—bringing us into his childhood of troubled households, poverty and life within a politically unstable country. His memoir recounts unexpected and intimate aspects of his upbringing, such as his trouble-making habits as a boy and his complex relationship with his mother and grandmother. Through humour and poignant storytelling, Noah transports us to Johannesburg in the 90s. This book is an important one—a thought-provoking read recounting the life of an important and admirable public figure.
By Danielle Gasher