6 Books I Will Read in Q1’2024

How I plan on learning more about the world.

Irtiza Hafiz
4 min readJan 10, 2024
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I read 14 books in 2023.

In 2024, I want to step up my game and finish the year with around 24 books — or 6 books every quarter.

The goal is to read from a range of domains, instead of being one dimensional. There’s an intention behind every book.

If a book made it to the list, it’s because of its potential to improve my life in some way. As I go through each of the 6 books below, I will list out my reasons for picking that book.

That said, let’s look at the 6 books I will read in the first quarter.

1–7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

This is the only productivity/self-improvement book that I will read in the first quarter.

The book talks about leading an effective, productive, and intentional life, based on first principles. Like many self-help books today, it does not promise shortcuts, or propose solutions based on superficiality.

It focuses on authenticity. At first, the book tells you to change as a person, and then change your actions/routines, and finally impact others around you.

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Become a better engineering manager
  2. Get better at relationships both personally and at work

2 — Being Mortal

Author: Atul Gawande

The book talks about end-of-life treatment options for people suffering from terminal diseases. It contrasts the more popular approach of keeping someone alive at all costs, ignoring quality of life, with the alternative approach of hospice care where doctors prioritize well being over lifespan.

Most good reviews of this book talk about the book’s focus on an unwell person’s final weeks and months. It paints a vivid picture of what’s important to people in their death beds.

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Come to terms with my own mortality
  2. Come to terms with the mortality of many of my loved ones, such as mom and dad, who are getting older every year
  3. Use it as a reminder of how so many people die from terminal diseases that stemmed from leading unhealthy lives

3 — The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

If you are even somewhat familiar with books, you must have heard of this one.

According to Goodreads:

Combing magic, mysticism, wisdom, and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

The book teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, following our dreams.

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Gotta read at least one classic this year
  2. I like the idea of a fiction that directly helps you grow as a person

4 — The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine

Author: Rashid Khalidi

With the recent Israel-Palestine conflict, it’s the right team to educate myself on this subject.

The book talks about the conflict from an explicitly Palestinian perspective. After going through many book recommendations on this subject, this one stuck out to me.

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Educate myself on Middle East history
  2. Learn about Palestine’s conflict from a Muslim perspective

5 — When The Mango Tree Blossomed

Author: Niaz Zaman

If you have been reading my blog posts for some time, you will know that I am from Bangladesh. I was born and raised there, before moving to the United States in 2015.

Even though I grew up in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, I never taught myself about Bangladesh’s culture. Going to an international school with English as the primary language did not help either.

This book contains 33 stories translated from Bangla and 17 stories written in English. It talks about different pivotal points of Bangladesh’s young history — starting from the language movement to our independence to terrorist attacks on our soil to more present situations, such as the Rohingya refugees.

Out of all the books I talked about so far, I am the most excited about this one!

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Learn about my own Bangladeshi history and culture
  2. Teach myself pivotal points in Bangladesh’s young history
  3. Become a educated and responsible citizen of Bangladesh

6 — All The Light We Cannot See

Author: Anthony Doerr

Staying with the theme of “learning from history”, the final book in the list is based on a time when the Nazis were occupying Paris.

The book takes the reader through the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War II. It’s a book about survival, tenacity, and the beauty of life, in the backdrop of a world consumed with the devastations of World War II.

I have had too many people recommend me this book.

I picked up this book at a local library and flipped through the first 10 or so pages. It’s beautifully written! I don’t think I have ran across many books of such beauty.

Cheesy as it may be, this is one of the books that somehow showed me how beautiful writing can really be and how to paint gorgeous images with mere words.

Why Am I Reading the Book:

  1. Understand how ordinary people lived their lives during World War II
  2. Immerse myself in Anthony Doerr’s beautiful writing
  3. Learn to become a better writer

Closing Thoughts

If you made it this far, thank you for reading!

I hope you found it valuable.

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Irtiza Hafiz

Engineering manager who writes about software development and productivity https://irtizahafiz.com