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The Zinc Blog

Zinc’s Winter Book Picks

Favorite Reads from our Tutors and Staff

For many of us at Zinc, the winter break meant picking up new books, or finally diving into the ones we’d been piling on our desks and night tables. Scroll ahead for the Zinc team’s latest recommendations.

Stitches by David Small
Recommended by Karthik Chandrasekariah, CTO

“This graphic novel is intense, devastating but powerful. The story is beautifully told with words used sparsely and has many completely silent pages.”

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut
Recommended by Matt Bardin, Founder + CEO

“Many of you would seriously dig this ‘non-fiction novel’ that tells the stories of troubled geniuses who exploded our faith in ‘reality’ via twentieth century science/math.”

Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows
Recommended by Fibinse Xavier, Data Scientist, ZLL

“An interesting perspective to look at macro interactions in all kinds of systems around us.”

Severance by Ling Ma
Recommended by Zoe Mackey, Practice Test Coordinator, Zinc Ed

“A satirical novel, very topical to our pandemic times, yet written in 2018. The novel follows Candace Chen and a group of survivors after a worldwide illness called Shen Fever slowly destroys the United States.”

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Recommended by Lily Nathan, Zinc Ed

“Read the book and watch Station Eleven on HBO Max. It’s a rare, wonderful book adaptation, and one of the best shows I’ve watched in a long while.”

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Recommended by Rokya Samake, Proctor, Zinc Ed

“The book begins in the year 2024. The US has been in a state of collapse for twenty-plus years due to climate change, bad leadership, and greed. The story follows a young woman, Lauren, as she comes of age in this world of collapse and embarks on a journey to rebuild the world anew.”

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Recommended by Chris Marino, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“Incredible drama and characters from page one!”

Tales by E.T.A. Hoffman
Recommended by Cherry Brice Jr., Tutor, Zinc Ed

“I’m re-reading Hoffmann’s ‘The Golden Pot’—a manic-depressive, Romantic delight filled with suffering spirits flung headlong toward each other.”

The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow
Recommended by Raoul Meyer, Zinc Ed

“It sounds like hyperbole, but this book really does change everything about the way ‘prehistory’ is conceptualized. It introduces so many cultures and peoples that are almost never discussed in traditional history books.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Recommended by Dan Coogan, Tutor, Zinc Ed

“An honest and realistic depiction of a complicated relationship between two people during their teens and early twenties. Rooney put me back into that peculiar period of life with its deep insecurities, the search for oneself, and the challenge of beginning to understand romantic relationships. It’s a smooth and quick read, but there were moments that forced me to immediately stop and reflect.”

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