What are you reading? (Book recommendations thread)


Not only that, but there is a lot of research to suggest that reading fiction helps develop empathy and understanding.

It is strange to me how many people don’t read fiction here, but maybe that’s a part of the journey we are all on. When you start cutting down on one form of “entertainment” like web surfing, it’s probably natural to apply the same kind of thinking to other forms of entertainment. I know I am guilty of that with music, which I don’t listen to much at all at the moment. Having said that, I think there is a world of difference between surfing Reddit for six hours straight and reading fiction for six hours. To paraphrase something I read once and can’t remember the source of: no one has ever stood in a library and suffered from information overload because of all the books.

Reading books, fiction or non-fiction, is also an excellent way of rebuilding the attention muscles that constant web surfing have wrecked. In a way, it’s a form of meditation to be able to focus on one narrative for an extended period of time. Not to mention, the thrill of getting lost in a good book.

Anyway, sorry, rant over. I would just hate for people to miss out on the thrill of reading fiction because they feel it’s detrimental to their development. To get back on subject, I am currently reading The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.


I read fiction more, but so far I have more respect for non fiction, mainly because I tead ton of insufferable bullcrap that was in the fiction basket. I never had the urge to throw a non fiction book in the trash so far. It never got me bored either. I guess it’s saying something.

Both have their pros and cons but non fiction is more straightforward and you kind of know what you get and they’re either right or wrong. No room to get emotional. With fiction you can either find a classical masterpiece or the worst drivel ever, or - even worse- and ok book. Thrill is you don’t know what you get before you start reading.


My wall in my basement has a random window sill on it so I decided a good way to fill it up would be to use it as a bookshelf:


My sister and I were just chatting on the phone about David Copperfield. She read it in 8th grade and hated it. In addition, her husband used to be a reader until he tried to read that book. Now he’s in his 40’s and hasn’t read a book for pleasure since. :rofl:

I see Guns, Germs and Steel on your bookshelf. You might also like Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything if you haven’t read it yet.


I am now reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which is fascinating. It’s one of those books that will change the way one views food, society and industry, despite the fact that it was written more than 10 years ago.


You might like reading Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. It was a terrifying and eye opening read into the modern food industry.


Just started reading Fahrenheit 451 again.


Currently reading:

Only about 50 pages in but riveting so far. Going to read Brave New World after.


Hi guys,
I’m reading The Shallows on the Kindle and wanted to ask what you think about whether it’s a big difference between reading real books and e-books on Kindle?

To the question Non-fiction / Fiction
I myself have always read non-fiction because I just wanted to improve myself and felt anything but a waste of time. But after having dealt with the topic of procrastination for the last two months without success :frowning: which is why I ended up on No Surf, I believe that reading self-help books is a form of procrastination. Because, like me, you can fall into the trap of thinking “I am not yet ready/not good enough to start and must continue to improve myself” and therefore never begin to learn whether you were good enough.
But of course they can be also very helpful as long as you start something with it.

Nevertheless, here are my non-fiction books I’ve read in the last two months.

The War on art
An author’s view of the subject of what is procrastination, to understand it and how to deal with it.

The subtle act of not giving a fuck
A book that appeals to younger readers not to take life too seriously and to set their priorities in such a way as to find more inner peace.

Have a nice sunday, everybody.


I think whatever gets you reading and keep reading is the best medium. That being said I find that reading with physical books beats the Kindle and iPad for me (I used to read on both).

For me it goes Paper > iPad > Kindle. Perhaps surprisingly to some I like the Kindle the least.

What I found is that it’s similar to running outside in the forest or on the beach vs. running indoors at the gym on a treadmill. The kindle felt like a treadmill and nearly ruined my enjoyment of fiction. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a physical copy of Dune and decided to give a read again despite having already read it that I realized that the kindle was affecting my perception and enjoyment of fiction that much.

The first time I read Dune I didn’t find it that great. The second time I read it on paper, I found it incredible. Also on a practical level reading on paper is better for comprehension and retention.

For some reason this effect occurs less with the iPad.

Also for nonfiction I’d like to give audiobooks a big thumbs up.


Doesn‘t Carr talk about this in The Shallows? I seem to remember that he wrote that studies showed that information retention was better when using paper books vs. screens.


I don’t know the science behind this, but I think your reading method comes down to personal preference. I really, really hate reading on bright screens, like my phone, tablet or computer. However, I was pushed into reading on a Kindle because getting paperback copies of books in foreign languages is surprisingly expensive ($25+ for a basic paperback, Kindle editions are about half the price). I was surprised to find that I enjoy reading on a Kindle, and it doesn’t feel like a screen to me. It also has a built-in dictionary which is useful for vocabulary that I don’t know.

The fine points about reading on screens vs physical books could be picked apart, but I do feel that whatever works for you is going to be best in this situation. I know some people who love reading e-books. If it’s the difference between reading a book and not reading a book, don’t get stuck on the method of delivery.


This one has been on my reading list as well for a long time. Can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy.

Could it be because you associate reading on the iPad as if you are reading an article on the web and with a Kindle it’s more different to place what it is and due to the smaller form factor, get less of a grip on your progress.

Yes, he did. I was a bit surprised by that fact as well. So now I feel less guilty buying physical copies over e-books, which I never really liked paying for.


Or, to be honest, anything by Bill Bryson is amazing. :slight_smile:


In general, I read on the Kindle app or device the most. I’m a HUGE fan of the dictionary and become very spoiled by it. While I like paper books, I combat my paper “need” with a notebook and pen to take notes while I read, since I don’t like writing in books or taking notes on the Kindle app/device.

But ultimately it’s as others say and it’s whatever works best to get you to read. Sometimes I’ll start out reading a book and realize it’s just not what I want at that time and being able to easily pull up another book is great.

I also have a great library and am able to get most books in Kindle format easier than I can paper books (they have more digital copies than paper) and it’s great for cookbooks, which I also love to read.


I’m currently reading ‘The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court’ – it’s been on my list for a long time but with the current situation going on here in the US, it felt like a good time to read it.

I’m also reading ‘American Government 101’ for a similar reason. Like most I had civics classes growing up but that information is a bit rusty in my brain so I wanted a refresher on everything.

I read a page or two of ‘Mindset’ (Dweck) every week but I’m not actively pursuing the finishing of the book. It’s a great one but it’s just not holding my interest.

One of the things I like to do is collect lists of lists, usually book lists from people like Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, etc. It’s a ready source of reading material. I also like that Ryan Holiday, for example, tends to focus on classics and/or history. I don’t think it’s as appreciated as a subject as much as it should be.


In The Shallows the plasticity of the brain is discussed. To get a clearer picture on the brain and its innate structures, I highly recommend The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. I’ve just finished it a week ago.

Other than that I can recommend no one differently than Yuval Noah Harari and his three best-selling non-fiction books on humanity. He offers a great, new perspective on us. His books are by far the most inspirational books I’ve read.


The idea behind this book is one of the most important ones for society today. Unfortunately the book itself is quite boring and dry and it was really difficult to get through the audiobook. Some sections, like the sports chapters were very superficial and could have been cut entirely.

I still recommend everyone read it, just be warned in advance that it’s a flat read.


I am reading “Mindfulness in Plain English”, recommended by Nik, and I love it. The language is simple and accessible, perfect for both beginners and old-timers alike.

(“Old-timers?” :neutral_face: Pretty sure that’s not the word I’m looking for.)

(Edit: I was looking for the term “experienced meditators” but I’m going to leave old-timers there because it’s cute.)


I am reading “How to be Compassionate by The Dalai Lama” because I need it obviously LMAOOOO :rofl: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.

Anyways, came across this passage and felt it was pretty relevant to the current state of many things in the world right now. This book was written 7 years ago and I feel like I’m reading the words of a fortune teller sometimes:

“When we do not challenge appearances, but assent to them, and consider an object or person to be good or bad through and through, this causes us to desire it unduly, or to feel unwarranted hatred for it. At such times we make strong statements like ‘He is awful!’ ‘She is really terrible!’ ‘This cake is terrific!’ ‘That restaurant is fantastic!’ At the point when anger and lust (Aside: by lust he just means inflating the goodness of things) are generated, reality has become obscured; instead, we see extreme badness and extreme goodness, evoking twisted, unrealistic actions.”