Surrounded by chocolate and tea, Luke and Iris W. talked books on this month’s YouTube staff picks video. This time around, they (with a little help from their ABC friends) pointed us to fantasy, science fiction, some artistic and non-artistic self-help tomes and a history book with a very contemporary theme.


Emma V. read Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett and found this novel (despite its name) enchanting, adventurous, spooky and very heartwarming–quite a journey given all the emotions it evoked in her. Emma loved the detailed scenery descriptions, which made her see the wintry forest. It’s fantasy with a low-burn romance.

Science Fiction

Jouke recently read A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World by  C.A. Fletcher, which Iris W. also read, and they both loved it and want to read more by the same author. With its post-apocalyptic setting, Jouke thought it was “bleak and harrowing, but in the end, it’s hopeful and heartwarming, and the prose provides a compelling story.” Translation:: it’s a page-turner!

If you’re into “end of the world” books and haven’t yet read The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, pick up a copy today!

Iris W. recommends The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older. Set on Jupiter, it’s a science fiction-meets-detective story. And because it’s a novella, the world-building is quite subtle  compared to the all too common word dump that explains everything at once. You learn about the world, the characters and the story in a very organic way. Really well-done.


While watching a video on scriptwriting, Luke came across Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. The teacher mentioned this title during the video and how it made him realize how important it is to have an open mind and be more accepting when teaching.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is still an ABC staff favorite. This book guides you through all aspects of your life and helps you transform them into artistic expressions, whether it be via writing, painting  dancing or some other artistic endeavor. Luke read this book when it was released in the 90s but thinks it’s a good time to read it again. This 25th anniversary edition includes a new introduction by the author.

Another title that challenges readers to change their mindsets and go for it is Drawing on the Artist Within by Betty  Edwards.  The author opens our minds to learning how to draw without the preconception that you need  talent, instead helping us to build skills in an intuitive way. A very interesting concept indeed.


Tom recommends The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan, author of the bestselling The Silk Roads. Recently published, The Earth Transformed connects human history to natural history in a novel way. Volcanic eruptions and other weather events have a huge impact on human history. And because climate change is such an important issue right now, it’s quite interesting to see climate’s real impact throughout the ages.