7 Books to Keep Your Mind Fit This Winter


The benefits of reading are irresistible. Daily reading has the potential to reduce stress, exercises your memory muscle, and sharpens your analytical thinking skills. Great! But what should you read? We've put together a list of fun, hopeful, and empowering book recommendations for you to read, including a few of our personal favorites.


Empowering Reads

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison - What does it mean when we say we feel someone else’s pain? Leslie Jamison explores the topic of empathy and more in this collection of sweeping personal essays.  

Why we like it: Empathy is a powerful tool that can grow the relationships in our lives. Learning about empathy can sharpen and improve our ability to practice it.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay - Don't let the title fool you. The women of Roxane Gay's new collection of short stories are difficult only to the antagonists plotting against them. Each story centers on a woman facing a problem that usually just besets women.

Why we like it: Her characters overcome mounting obstacles and distance themselves from abusive situations, all powered and moved forward by their own strengths.


Hopeful and Inspiring Reads

Hope in the Dark: The Never Surrender Guide to Changing the World by Rebecca Solnit - In this book, Rebecca Solnit chronicles the progress of political action and social change from the early 2000s back to the 1950s. This encouraging read tells us how the world has changed for the better as a result of steady and unwavering activism.

Why we like it: Do you wonder if your actions and involvement are actually making a difference in the world? Solnit’s here to you tell they are.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh  - Ever wonder who coined the “all the things” memes? You can thank graphic blogger, Allie Brosh, for these. Hyperbole and a Half started as a series of autobiographical webcomics. In 2013, her stories and cartoons debuted in print.

Why we like it: Because it's brilliant. Bill Gates says so.


Fun, Illuminating Reads

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe - From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when hits the ground? How many lego bricks would it take to build a bridge capable of carrying traffic from London to New York? Randall Munroe answers these silly queries and more in his book of answers to hypothetical questions sent to him by readers of his webcomics.

Why we like it:  Equal parts funny and informative, this easy-to-read book stokes your curiosity and, if science isn't your strongest subject, may help to increase your scientific literacy.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer - This book, an offshoot of the website Atlas Obscura, charts 600 places hidden places to see around the world. A fun read during winter to inspire your summer travel plans.

Why we like it: For us travel nerds—and those who like the weird and wonderful—we tend to veer off the beaten path and explore lesser-known locations. This book satisfies the need to live like locals when you travel and find hidden gems you'd otherwise miss reading tourism bureau travel guides.