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Next Five Books to Read

My friends well know that I love to read and discuss what I read. Even though one may read on any subject, I am quite selective.

The reading rule that has stuck with me since I was a kid is that I don’t read any novels or science fiction. All I read is history, finance, economics, biography, self-development, psychology and philosophy.

This week, I would like to share with you the next five books waiting for me to read.

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1-A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins

I started reading this book almost a  month and a half ago and, since I have been busy reading some international affairs and financial papers, I have only read about the first 100 pages.

England is a great country with a long history and this book is a quick introduction to full English history from British tribes to the modern day. I always advocate that if you want to understand a set of people and a country, you have to master their history first.

It is a great book to enlighten you as to why modern England exists in its present form. The book is about 300 pages, and please don’t expect to get detailed information on each era.

Caution: You may get lost due to the speed of change of the kings, queens, barons and conflicts, but it’s worth a try!

2- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari

This book has been recommended to me by two precious people. One of them is the Vice Chancellor of Bahcesehir University and my economics professor back in Turkey, Elif Cepni, and that’s why it jumped all the books in the queue to be read after A Short History of England.

It mainly talks about different human species that inhabited earth 100,000 years ago compared to only one today, homo sapiens. The book takes you through human history from A to Z and talks about why we have created kingdoms, countries and the current systems such as using money as a medium of payment. It also refers to how and why we have come to believe in gods.

Since everything has a reason and a history, I hope that this book will enlighten me as to why we are so cruel to each other and to the rest of the species in the world, as well.

3-A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle for the Mastery of the Middle East by James Barr

The Middle East has been the land of politics for centuries and, unfortunately, the Middle East is known by many for its wars and conflicts. Actually, the Middle East has much more to offer such as its grand culture and history, rather than only its wars and natural resources.

Middle East history goes to back to many centuries ago, but this book focuses on the times of British and French rule in the region.

James Barr is an important modern author on the Middle East and I look forward to reading this book.

This book is also a recommendation from an honourable gentleman in my native land. He is currently in his 80s and I respect his intellectual knowledge very much.

4- Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane by Frederick Starr

Central Asia brought wealth, trade and science to the rest of the world, especially between 800 and 1200. Nowadays, this is forgotten, but it is the reality.

The sophistication of its cities and people, along with achievements in different types of field such as medicine, astronomy and mathematics, have established today’s modern world. The people of Persian, Arab and Turkish descent were behind this achievement during the medieval enlightenment.

With the New Silk Road project in China, it is very likely that this notable role will be revitalized, but hard to say if it will again be that influential a region in the world arena.

I believe this book is a good reminder that change is inevitable and you need to keep updated to keep running for the lead.

5-2014: The Election that Changed India by Rajdeep Sardesai

I bought this book in India when I was traveling in Delhi in December 2014. Unfortunately, due to regular queue jumping by different books, it is still standing unread on my shelves.

India is becoming more and more important and 2015 marks the first year that India has surpassed China in terms of growth. There are a lot of expectations from Narendra Modi and his mandate is not easy to deliver in the world largest democracy. I expect to get more insights on India from this book.

Given that it is written by an Indian news anchor, it makes the book more compelling and sincere.

I would like to finish this week’s article with a good website recommendation to keep track of your online bookshelves. If you are still not aware of Goodreads.com, I strongly suggest that you have a look. Nowadays everything is going digital and it is a great platform to establish your reading list and book reviews online.

For bookworms, I also recommend a visit to Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street, London. It is a very different book store from the usual ones and you can get lost for many hours inside.

Having strongly advocated the digitization of everything, I shall admit that I still could not give away my paperback books. I have a Kindle and I have read many books on it, but it has never given me the same feeling as when touching paperback books.

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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