#YSRecos: four books for after-school reading

Whoever thought that a text book nine inches thick would get everyone to read is kind of ridiculous. Staying focused inside the classroom is already tricky, and the readings we have to take home aren’t any better. If you’re looking for alternative ways to learning about history or just life in general, here are four books that will make everything a bit more bearable.


History Without the Boring Bits by Ian Crofton

Before politics went haywire last year, learning about history was kind of meh if you weren’t interested in such things. The 10-pound textbooks are always intimidating, and chances are, you wouldn’t even lay eyes on half of them by the end of the school year. Ian Crofton’s History Without the Boring Bits makes it more digestible and friendlier. Think of it as the Cliffs Notes version but more comprehensive if you want to see how one event affected the next. At the rate the world leaders are going, we might even use this as a reference to determine our future. — Maine Manalansan, creative director


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

While the cover might mislead you into thinking that you’re in for a light, kitschy read, think again. A significant portion of A Tale for the Time Being is written in diary entry-style by a Japanese teenager named Nao. The rest narrates events in the life of a writer named Ruth, who finds Nao’s diary in a lunchbox that washed up near her home on Vancouver Island. Nao’s straightforward voice brings with it a certain sincerity as she grapples with suicide and issues of morality. We’re not going to lie: this is the type of book that’ll take you ages to finish, but it’ll definitely be worth your while.  — Gaby Gloria, editorial assistant 


Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

The story of Asterios Polyp revolves around its eponymous protagonist, an architect whose designs have been praised and acclaimed but never actually built. Visually, this graphic novel demonstrates how far one can push the sequential art form. But more than that, what makes this book so resonant, especially for anyone still trying to figure out their place in the world, is that it follows a character who turns to theory and intellectualization to explain experiences of love and beauty, then eventually learns that even his brilliant mind can’t hope to pin everything down. — Jam Pascual, copy editor


So Sad Today by Melissa Broder

As a big fan of @sosadtoday on Twitter, finding this book in a local bookstore was a pleasant (and exciting) surprise. The dark humor behind the supposedly anonymous Twitter account comes from Melissa Broder’s personal experiences and existential crises. Through her personal essays in So Sad Today, Broder expounds on how she deals with her anxiety attacks, her experiences sexting and her fetish for vomit, and her insatiable desire for replies from  her lover. Her book is humorous first, and painfully relatable second. You’ll be saying “hard same” after every essay. — Ina Jacobe, online art director

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