It's human to err. It's also human to judge others by their actions, and ourselves by our intentions when the finger is flipped back at us. Atticus Finch said it first: “You never really understand a person until you… climb into his skin and walk around in it.” So climb into the skin of these books, into the minds of their protagonists, for a complete shift in your daily outlook.
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Coming under the guise of children's literary fiction, this Nordic novel is actually a thought-provoking crash course on the history of philosophy. It is admittedly difficult to get into at first, but if you stay unfazed by the protagonist's tropes, you will be rewarded with immensely original, fourth wall-breaking gems that address the greatest question of them all— Why are we here?
The Shack by William Paul Young
Calling this a highly controversial novel would be an understatement, but that is all the reason to dive into it. Mackenzie Philips, broken and bitter over the brutal murder of his daughter in a shack, receives an inviting note from God apparently, to meet him at the same shack. To see God as a black woman among other unlikely portrayals of the Trinity, you will close the book either loving or hating it, but surely left with an altered view on higher powers.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
You might have heard of this multiple award-winning short story collection. The anthology of fantasy alludes to science fiction but is very much steeped in Asian culture. Almost fable-like, tales are diverse and fascinating. Its emotional impact will also creep up on you, deliver a sucker punch to the gut, and leave a bruise that lingers long after you've finished.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
As its self-explanatory title says, the book aims to bridge the gap between our general ignorance and reality. Aside from the five-star rating and personal review Bill Gates gave it, it is an innovative approach to step back and reflect on the 10 instincts that cause us to get facts so wrong that even chimpanzees choosing answers at random will perform better. It’s non-fiction but does not read like one as the first-person voice of the late Rosling engages you like a casual coffee-table chat.
Success by Martin Amis
Success is relative. In this case, between an opposing pair of foster brothers. If you enjoy standard English cynicism, the signature Amis tone pans out this tragic comedy so convincingly, you would believe that Terence Service and Gregory Riding exist somewhere in London. It’s profuse, it’s merciless, it’s your-word- against-mine. Add a disloyal girlfriend, an erratic sister and eloquently vile writing into the mix and you have yourself a neurotic lesson on success.
These titles are available at Books Kinokuniya.