“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
With summer approaching, it’s time to put together a reading list. We asked the AJ leadership team for recommendations.
Here are the ground rules: the only requirements were that the books be appropriate for high-school-aged readers, and that they not be books that regularly show up on high school reading lists. Fiction and nonfiction, memoir and sci-fi—it’s all here.
Happy summer, and happy reading!
Best Interests of the Student by Jacqueline A. Stefkovich
Recommended by Stephen Horabin
Best Interests of the Student explores case studies relating to ethics and laws that affect teachers, students, and parents. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who falls into those categories! While technically an educational text, the review of the case studies was eye-opening for me with regard to how little the court system intervenes in school policy, for better or worse.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Recommended by Sheena Tsang
This book changed my life! Cleaning and organizing are most definitely chores that many dread, but after reading this book and actually engaging in Marie Kondo’s process of “tidying up,” I managed to actually enjoy the process. I focused on keeping the items that sparked joy for me as opposed to focusing on throwing out items. I ended up making a few hundred extra dollars selling items I no longer used: a bonus in addition to a newly-organized space! I also learned about the deception of a “clean house,” where everything on the onset “looks” organized, but the actual content in drawers can still be in disarray. I thought I was a semi-organized person before, but I really learned how to be organized with Marie Kondo inside and out.
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Recommended by Dipti Dedhia
Oliver Sacks is brilliant, and reading the way he writes makes you think about how you think and how you perceive the world. People who learn music have visually different brains than people who don’t, which I find fascinating.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
Recommended by Nieka Bright
A friend recently read The Alchemist and commented that it would have been great to have read this book in high school, during the near beginning of his current journey into adulthood.
The Power Broker by Robert Caro
Recommended by Sebastian von Zerneck
Caro tells the story of Robert Moses, known as “master builder” of the New York metropolitan area in the mid-20th century. Caro, one of the great biographers of all time, shows how a man who was never elected to public office came to wield extraordinary power, shaping New York with massive bridges, buildings, highways, and housing projects. What was behind this superhuman effort? According to Caro’s biography, Moses was driven by a diabolical desire for power and a racist worldview.
The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Recommended by Lee Miller
A must-read for those interested in classical, military, or political history. While Kagan’s erudition shines through, this book is highly readable and a real page turner.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Recommended by Noah Larson
John Ames, a preacher in 1950’s Iowa, is dying of heart failure and so writes a long letter to his young son. The goal is to recount aspects of John Ames’ life as a preacher in a small town. The book is compelling because of John Ames’ reverent and awe-struck appreciation for the world.