Back to Books


I have always loved the start of school. Walking back from the bookstore with an enormous armful of textbooks I know I’ll read every page of over the semester (or at least speed-read over finals week) has always made me more more excited than daunted. While I won’t return to school this fall, I hope that life will provide for me plenty of opportunities to learn new things.

Looking back at this summer, the majority of the books I read taught me something. So in the spirit of the back-to-school season, here is my list of educating reads (that won’t put you to sleep like your old O-Chem textbook).

  1. Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen: A stranger-than-fiction account of the planning behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and a murderer who found his victims there.
  2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: An incredible novel about race, gender, and nationality that was as entertaining as it was eye-opening.
  3. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton: A memoir that gives a new female perspective on what it means to be a chef.
  4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg: Political views and controversy aside, this is a fascinating account of Sandberg’s path to becoming the chief operating executive at Facebook.
  5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: A dense nonfiction account of what the title promises, just about everything, written in a conversational voice that makes it easy to digest.
  6. HRC by Jonathan Allen: A beautifully crafted biography of the Secretary of State and former First Lady’s political rebirth.