Welcome to the General Academic Strand, or the GAS Strand! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t decided on a track yet, or if you just have too many options. You’re in a pretty fun track because you get to choose what to learn. In fact, why not learn them all?
One of the best parts of being in the GAS strand is getting a shot at every track. Besides that, you have the freedom to explore your passions. And for that, we’ve got some books that will excite you on your journey!
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
Gretchen Rubin once asked herself, “What do I want in life?” And she simply answered, “I want to be happy.” This book isn’t just a how-to. It’s an adventure. It’s a story of how Rubin spent a year trying and testing—through science and philosophy—to figure out how to be happy. And isn’t that something you go through in GAS, too?
Why you should read it: It’s better than those self-help books that simply give you tips on how to find yourself. The project is divided into twelve months, so it’s systematic. Plus, you’ve got relatable quotes and ideas backed up by creatives and philosophers!
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari
This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies.
Have you ever given thought to where humanity is headed? We’re settling our technology, medicine, science, and culture. We’ve advanced with data and the internet! But what does this mean for us as a species and society? That’s what Israeli author and historian Yuval Noah Harari theorizes, with a bit of humor too.
Why should you read it: This book will give you some perspective of what futures are likely, whichever path you choose. For those interested in tech, Harari also says a lot about the ethics of upgrading humanity.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant
To become original, you have to try something new, which means accepting some measure of risk.
This book lands on Sir Richard Branson’s list of books to read in a lifetime for good reason. It plots out creative ideas that changed the world and the people behind them. Grant answers the question: What are the habits of truly original people? And then he goes on to show how you can be one too!
Why you should read it: This book acts as a guide to finding your sweet spot and figuring out what drives you. One thing GAS Strand students struggle with is how to find their why and their what. With this book, you’ll learn how thinking differently is a good way to make a difference.
The poetry of Rumi
What you seek is seeking you.
Meet the original Insta poet who lived way before Tumblr and Instagram even existed. Born in the 13th century, Persian Sunni Muslim poet Rumi is one of the greatest mystical and intellectual minds. Through lyric and prose, Rumi knew exactly how to visualize and express spirituality and humanity’s deepest fears, longings, and loves.
Why should you read it: Rumi is more than a poet, he’s a life coach. And because it’s poetry, Rumi’s work can be read in sprints. Also, it gives you a better understanding of Islam, such as man’s intimate relationship with Allah.
The Harry Potter series, JK Rowling
“You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
If you’ve read this before, read it again. You’ll always find the light. Harry Potter’s plotline at this point needn’t be explained, but it’s a story of possibility. And magic, but not in of wands or brooms, but in people. Every character comes into their own, whether that’s in book one or book seven. And it all leads to a wonderful story.
Why you should read it (again): Harry Potter can be a story of finding your passion and your skills from zero. It inspires you to be the hero of your own story. Everyone learns something unique and personal from the books.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.
You’ll first be confronted with opposing perspectives: an adult’s and a child’s. As one grows up, they lose appreciation for the little things. This world-beloved book is all about friendship, growing up, and seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
Why should you read it: It’s a timeless classic many have advised to read first as a child then again as an adult. You find little details about yourself in the characters the little prince meets. The book hits close to home, and it’s a great read for soul searchers.
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
To Kill a Mockingbird follows a boyish girl, Scout, and her life in the rural “tired old town” of Maycomb, Alabama. Her father Atticus, a lawyer, has to defend an innocent black man against a white jury—a losing case. Throughout the book, Scout realizes people are more than the prejudices against them.
Why should you read it: It may be an American novel, but Harper Lee writes universal truths. It’s about courage despite defeat, coming-of-age, and getting to know people beyond their labels.
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Usually I had these plans on the tip of my tongue.
“I don’t really know,” I heard myself say. I felt a deep shock, hearing myself say that, because the minute I said it, I knew it was true.
Reading The Bell Jar is an emotional roller-coaster on its own. But reading it when faced with a major life decision you don’t know how to go through can feel therapeutic. Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel sheds light on the reality of mental illness. You’ll see it in Esther Greenwood’s struggle to find her identity despite her great potential.
Why you should read it: It’s like reading the very words you never knew you were thinking. Plath writes about real experiences of finding her place in the world as a young person, something anyone can relate to.
We all enjoy the smell—and content!—of new books. Still need a harder push to figure things out? There are loads of tips, guides, and resources on our All About Senior High section on Edukasyon.ph’s blog!