Book Reviews (June-July)

  1. The Socrates Express by Eric Weiner

As the name suggests, the book combines philosophy lessons from famous philosophers and the author’s train journeys. In each chapter, the author writes about visiting the city of a different philosopher and, and along with experiencing the train rides, he tries to experience the philosophy of that philosopher. You could say he tries to reimagine the era of that philosopher and walk in their shoes along with sharing little tidbits or facts of their life. He visits the place where they lived—homes, workplace (if any), and also museums which contain their belongings or artifacts.
So, I chose to read this book because of my interest in philosophy, but in just the first chapter, I got bored of the author’s ramblings about the train travels and the dumbed-down versions of the philosophies. Being an ex-philosophy student, this book failed to keep me captivated. The philosophy lessons seemed to be for the layman. And well, so I never got to finish the book.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

2. Deep Work by Cal Newport

I had been hearing a lot about this book but I gravitated towards it this June. I had been procrastinating and wasting a lot of time, and I wanted to get out of the rut. It began by listening to some interviews of Cal Newport and then I was hooked and wanted to read the book. I found its audiobook and listened to it, as it helped me figure out some strategies to block out distractions and getting work done.

Deep Work refers to quality work done without any distractions or multi-tasking. Deep work is necessary now more than ever since we live in a world full of distractions. Though it might not be possible to get deep work done in every profession, it might help in finishing personal projects. The book is filled with examples and strategies for the readers to incorporate in their own lives.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are not being productive enough and would like to find some strategies to adopt in their own life.

3. The Rudest Book Ever by Swetabh Gangwar

I really like Shwetabh’s YouTube videos and watch them every now and then for some practical advice. The book, however, told me things I already knew. Yes, people say that for every self-help book, but this one is really aimed towards teenagers and young adults. Perhaps, I was just not the right audience for the book. Those of us who watch his videos perhaps just couldn’t find anything new in the book. But still, I would say it was a commendable first-attempt.  

4. The Switch by Beth O’Leary

This is a fun book—at times hilarious, at times emotional. Leena Cotton and her grandmother, Eileen Cotton, exchange their residences for two months. By essentially stepping into each other’s lives, they hang out with people from each other’s life and build new friendships. In the end, they have revelations about their own life, learn to deal with grief, and start afresh. Eileen Cotton’s character as an octogenarian is absolutely badass. Another character that really stood out for me was Eileen Cotton’s neighbor Mr. Arnold, who appears to be a nosy, cranky, old man but undergoes a surprise transformation by the end. The book is filled with several characters who harmoniously bind together. It also focuses on the grief of losing a loved one and the life of our elderly, who can feel stuck and alone in the rush and individuality of city life.
I liked the narration of Eileen’s character more, maybe because I liked that character more overall. I would recommend the audiobook to those who are looking for a light, fresh listen. The run time is 10 hours which can be easily finished in 3-4 days if you listen at 1.75x speed.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing the advance listening copy in exchange for an honest review.


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