While we might have all the aspiration in the world to dive into a new book next month, life — or the ever-growing stack of celebrity book club recommendations — gets in the way. Picking the “right” book seems like a needle in a haystack type of situation (and let’s be real, we don’t have time for that).
This guide is built to simplify the process. In honor of this year's back-to-school season, we've created a reading lineup for students and non-students alike. And to make things even easier, we're breaking it down by subject. Whether you’re into movement science, cooking in home ec, or playing hooky for a day of self-care, select your fave subject and get reading!
“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer
In traditional social studies class, we’re accustomed to deep diving into past wars and failed governments, but this new study of human society completely redefines our role on this planet. Rather than breaking out the thousand-page history book, indigenous scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer looks directly to her Potowatomi heritage for insight into the human condition, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people.
Instead of presidents and capitalism, this book looks to every turtle, raspberry, and speck of algae as humankind’s oldest and most sacred teacher. The result? An entirely historical but spiritual read that uncovers the gifts and lessons hiding beneath every grain of sand.
“The Joy of Movement” by Kelly McGonigal, PhD.
Timed miles and max pushups in gym class didn’t necessarily kick-off a fairytale relationship with exercise in grade school — but after reading “The Joy of Movement”, we realize why most of see working out as more of a chore than a “joy."
In this revolutionary narrative, Kelly McGonigal doesn’t give the typical, guilt-inducing arguments for why you should workout. Instead, she shares inspiring storytelling that gets you to fall in love with the happiness, self-expression, social connection, and fulfillment that comes from mindful movement.
“The Water Will Come” by Jeff Goodell
While we’re well aware that H20 means water thanks to high school chem, most of us aren’t aware how it's rapidly changing what the world as we know it will look like. Jeff Goodell’s worldwide trek and journals from the front lines of climate collapse inspired this immersive piece that connects the dots between global warming, rising sea levels, and how we can assist in tossing our planet a life jacket.
From its vivid descriptions of a flooded Miami to its discussion of the intersection between race, class, and climate change, this read gives compelling reason to dive into the science and care about what it’s telling us.
“Eat Feel Fresh” by Sahara Rose Ketabi
While we’re still students of all things Ayurveda, one thing we’ve learned is that food is medicine with the power to heal. The question is how do we know the right way to make it be thy medicine? Well, with the help of Sahara Rose Ketabi, we’re well on our way to finding out.
In this plant-based, Ayurvedic cookbook, you’ll explore over 100 recipes with contemporary twists on Ayurvedic classics. Between moon chia pudding and turmeric-ginger kitchari, you’ll try updated favorites and new weekly go-tos. This book blends traditional Ayurvedic practice with modern nutritional science for a wellness-centric recipe book you need in your lunchbox.
“Change is the Only Constant” by Ben Orlin
We’re glad we learned about y=mx+b and Pythagorean theorem, but we’d be lying if we said our everyday life required their use all that often (if ever). While most of us are trying to avoid the binomials that tormented us for our school years, math has plenty to teach us beyond how to figure out if Bobby or Suzy has more apples.
“Change is the Only Constant” peels back the curtains on how math and daily life intersect in an eloquent way that’s way more engaging than high school geometry class. Things that dreaded algebra classes never seemed to cover — such as love, time, and life changes — all find their way into this enlightening, humorous, enjoyable read that reveals what prevalence square roots and obtuse triangles have in our life.
“How To Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell
Even on days where we play hooky (A.K.A. a self-care day for working adults), our time for R&R is typically occupied with lots of screen time as opposed to downtime. Whether it's online shopping or mindlessly scrolling TikTok, addictive technology has slowly but surely captured a lot (if not all) of our attention.
“How To Do Nothing” provides an inspiring field guide on how to remove ourselves from a technological world that’s designed to buy and sell our attention. As Odell sees it, our attention is one of the most precious assets we have, and it’s up to us how we use it. This book details how to transfer this often-wasted resource into places that bring happiness, meaning, and progress.
Whether you’re a student gearing up for another semester or someone simply looking for a good read, give us a shoutout when you read one of our recs by tagging @Alo in your posts! Happy reading!