Your summer reading list: Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill and Melinda Gates and many more share their book recommendations

Now I have a lot of “to read list” =)

TED Blog

Books - vector illustration

Summer: the season for cracking open a good book under the shade of a tree. Below, we’ve compiled about 70 stellar book recommendations from members of the TED community. Warning: not all of these books can be classified as beach reads. And we think that is a good thing.

books-Elizabeth-GilbertPicks from Elizabeth Gilbert, author 

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. “The only book I have ever bought by the crate-load. I give copies of this sumptuous masterpiece to everyone I care about. I could try to describe it further, but … it would be more efficient if you just read it yourself. (Watch Maira Kalman’s TED Talk, “The illustrated woman.”)

Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror in Science by Richard Holmes. “I just finished writing a novel about
18th- and 19th-century scientific exploration, and this engaging book was a…

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(Book review) Dear John


Wow.. I haven’t been reading a lot lately. It’s amazing how calm and free you can feel when you are in a foreign country. I actually got 30 min on weekday before bed time and more than 1 hour to read on weekends after I moved to Singapore. For the past two weeks, I have been reading “Dear John” by Nicholas Sparks. I’ve watched several movies originated from Nicholas’ novel, but “Dear John” is the first one that I actually bought the book to read.

To be honest, for a foreign reader, it’s impossible to understand every word, but for this book, it never really spoiled the fun and pace even you can’t understand some of the vocabulary. The story is about a soldier, John and the girl Savannah. The author describes really well on how they first met and how much they love each other even they are apart most of the time. I can really feel their strong love just by those words on the book. Well, my favorite part is actually not about the love between the young two but the part Nicholas describes about John and his autistic father’s interaction from childhood to adult. I could totally imagine how difficult it is for his father to raise John and bear with his rebellion. I burst out crying when I read about the last time John spent with his father before he died and finally told him that he was the greatest dad ever.

I think we should never complain about our parents. Sometimes we might think that we could have been better if our parents were like someone else, but we will eventually come to realize that no matter what our parents have done, they have always been giving us the best they can.

As for the love part, I hate long-distant relationship and I don’t really believe that it would work out. Every couple need a lot of time to know each other and to be together for happiness and difficulties. Though this is not a happy-ending story like I usually love, I still love this novel a lot. I am impressed by what John did for Savannah in the end, and I think that’s what true love is all about… hoping the other one could be happy. It’s a heartbreaking ending.. and I felt sad after reading it, but I believe the author successfully show us what true love really is through his words.

(e-book review) American Princess

American Princess by Brittany Sanford

It was a very attractive teenage novel and I just can’t stop reading it. The book is full of fantasy and unexpected stories. I love the special magic described in the book and how the magic is related to art. The characters Penny, Zola, fish teacher and everyone else have strong personalities and I found them really interesting. Basically this book is easy to read and enjoyable!


(e-book review) Club College: Why So Many Universities Look Like Resorts

Club College: Why So Many Universities Look Like Resorts
written by Andrew S. Rosen

This is another free eBook which I just finished this week. Although I’ve never studied in the US, I would love to know more about why many universities are like resorts! This book does clearly explain why American tuition is super expensive, not to mention how much burden it has caused for some people who wish to study in the US.

The Author explains in details on how universities spend endless resources on non-educational related things like dorms, restaurants, and gyms.. It is indeed good to have competition between schools so that schools will try to improve year after year. But it turns out that when they think education resources like professors, libraries.. are difficult to improve or stand out from others, they will start to compete on something else which makes schools an even better resorts than the real resorts! And those expenses not only reflect on government, but also students expenses. You may just use swimming pool once a month, but you are paying all the maintenance fee…etc.

This is truly eye opening to see a lot of  true evidence about how universities build up their luxurious offerings which definitely distract students attention on studying. It was also interesting to learn the “Texas College Climbing Wall War”. It would have been much better if these resources could have been used in educational things. I agree that equipments should be improved once in a while but maybe not too much.


(e-book review) My New Life in Sweden

My New Life in Sweden by Stephanie Mikneus

I got a new Kindle last December as a birthday gift so I tried to download some interesting ebooks from Kindle Store. Since Kindle 4 only support English, I need to find books that are not too difficult to read and must be free of course! I believe I can find tons of book about Sweden but a book about Umea?! No way!

This is a story about a American girl’s 4-year university life in Umea, Sweden. I was once an exchange student in Umea for a year when I was a junior in university, so I might find some similar stories in this book! I can’t wait to read it, and indeed it brought back so much memories of my life there… Ålidhem, Fika, International Business Program, Umea University… 

This was indeed an easy book to read, but I felt a bit disappointed that the author spent quite a lot of paragraph on the relationship with her boyfriend instead of life of Umea. Still, it is worth reading if you would like to know more about northern Sweden!