It's fairly safe to say that 2016 has been a bit of a crazy year.
With the constantly changing political landscape, the sad series of high profile deaths and the worrying warnings about environmental change that seem to be going unnoticed - it feels like the only way to escape is in the pages of a good book.
And that's exactly what we're going to do - it's safe, it's relaxing, and we might just learn something along the way.
So here are indy100's recommendations of how to read your way to being a better person:
By expanding your knowledge of people:
Quiet by Susan Cain:
This cult book offers a great insight into the introverted mind. It will help introverts get a better understanding of their behaviour, but it’s also a must-read for extroverts, because it’s always good to have a better understanding of the other half of the population.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Actress Kendrick’s debut book is a collection of essays featuring her trademark honesty and humour. Painfully but refreshingly relatable for a someone so famous.
By expanding your knowledge of the world:
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah:
Host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, has some very interesting things to say – and they’re not all about the diabolic state of US politics.
Born a Crime is a memoir of Noah’s life in South Africa under apartheid, with a Xhosa mother and Swiss-German father, as the country moved into its post apartheid era in the 1990s.
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
This book will give you a great and timely insight into the lives of white working class Americans. While it’s set in a very specific place, its messages are universal. This is an honest account of the universal struggles of social mobility, of breaking the mould and achieving beyond what you thought was your lot in life.
By improving your political knowledge:
The Establishment by Owen Jones:
This year the UK voted to leave the EU in what was a shocking, anti-establishment statement beyond what many of us predicted.
For the 52 per cent who got us in this mess: The Establishment looks at the role of politics and how it coexists with big business, the police and the media. This book will help you on your quest to understanding who the real enemies are, debunk what we’ve been conditioned to believe and ensure we never misdirect our anger ever again. Sorry, Europe.
Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders
In this book, Sanders gives readers a personal insight into his campaign for this year’s US presidential election and his policies for a social revolution. His optimism will prove to be a great escape for next year.
By learning about writers:
Absolutely on Music by Haruki Murakami and Seiji Ozawa:
Japanese author Murakami ran a jazz club in Tokyo before becoming one of the world’s best-selling authors. As you do. His books all have a jazzy thread running through them, whether in the setting, through the character or in the rhythm of the words.
Absolutely on Music is a conversation about music and creativity between Murakami and world-class conductor Seiji Ozawa, offering an insight into two of the world’s most talented minds.
So You’ve Been Publically Shamed by Jon Ronson:
Journalist Jon Ronson has catalogued the worst cases of online public shaming for us to wince at, including his own experiences and thoughts. This book delves into the human condition and the devastating powers of the internet. It includes the story of a science writer whose career is almost destroyed after he makes up a quote, and a woman who makes a joke in bad taste on Twitter about Africa and aids.
By getting lost in history:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This work of fiction follows the lives of two slaves as they try to escape Georgia’s cotton plantation through the Underground Railroad. Critics say it delves into some of history's most uncomfortable truths.
Love Wins by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell
This book follows the story of the court case and subsequent battle for civil rights that was at the heart of legalising same-sex marriage in the US. Obergefell‘s partner was dying when the couple travelled from Ohio to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal, only for officials on Ohio to refuse to recognise their marriage, or list it on his partner’s death certificate.