Illustration of a book with whimsical shapes and colors flowing out or the pages

Members of Gladstone’s community share some of their favorite books.


World Book Day is an annual celebration that highlights the importance of reading and encourages people to embrace the joy of books. In honor of this special occasion, members of Gladstone’s community share the books that have made a profound impact on their lives and careers. Whether you are an avid reader or just looking for some inspiration, these books are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Recommended by Hannah Watry, Lab Manager, Conklin Lab

I really enjoyed reading this book as a kid. I remember my family reading it aloud when I was younger and laughing hysterically. It was one of a group of books that helped me identify as a reader starting when I was young, and led to a lifelong love of reading!

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Recommended by Nadia Roan, Senior Investigator

I've always been a big fan of Charles Dickens, and have read most of his complete novels. I’d say they’ve all had some impact on me as a person, in some way or another.

For me, the classic, Great Expectations has some of the most memorable Dickens characters, including those with vivid (and eccentric) personalities, reminding us of how complicated people are in general, and that there’s no “one size fits all.” Although not rooted in realism, I like that the novel touches upon life’s uncertainties, mysteries, and serendipities. It’s also about human compassion. I find I can relate to many of these aspects in every life, both as a scientist and as a person.

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong  

Recommended by Linh Huynh, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Cathy Park Hong’s essay collection, Minor Feelings, remains one of the most impactful books I’ve read. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, Hong explores the concept of “minor feelings,” which she describes as the dissonance that occurs between her lived, racialized reality and American optimism. I appreciate how Hong uses her own story to examine racial consciousness in America and speaks to personal and collective racial trauma.

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Recommended by Ayushi Agrawal, Bioinformatician II, Bioinformatics Core

I felt a plethora of emotions while reading this book, about a dying professor imparting practical life lessons about aging, love, family, happiness, and life. The wisdom—particularly on patience and forgiveness—transformed my perspective on regrets, self-forgiveness, and compassion for myself and others, and left a lasting impact that motivates me subconsciously to this day, in every task I undertake.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Recommended by Shijie Wang, Scientist, Finkbeiner Lab

This book by Yuval Noah Harari provided me with a fresh perspective on understanding Homo sapiens, our relationship with other humans and animals, and our development throughout history. The book adeptly combines various scientific evidence and presents a comprehensive picture of our past, our present, and our future, from being a not-so-different animal that was constantly hunted by predators, to a completely different kind of animal that can master fire, connect socially, believe in things that do not exist, and build a better future.