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22 Titles We'd Choose to Study in an Alternate Universe

By Beth Clark • August 23, 2018

Alternative Textbooks

Back to school time means beach reads come out of your bag and textbooks go in, but that doesn't mean the fun is over. While we (obviously) embrace all things learning and reading (because books), we have to admit that some textbooks are a bit, um...dry. To ease the transition, here are 21 alternative academic titles that are entertaining, practical and, well, educational, so feel free to peruse them all or jump straight to your favorite subject(s).

Life Skills

YouTube is great and all, but real-life skills are definitely worth learning if you need to fill in some blanks. Below are some solid reads to further your adulting education.

Home Economics: How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew by Erin Bried
Life Skills: You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
Leadership: Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
Acceptence:  When the Drama Club Is Not Enough: Lessons from the Safe Schools Program for Gay and Lesbian Students by Kim Westheimer and Jeff Perrotti

Language Arts

If AutoCorrect is your only spelling and grammar tool and the thought of speaking in front of an audience or in a second language terrifies you, then this section is for you.

Grammar: Painless Grammar by Rebecca S. Elliott
Speech: TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris J. Anderson
Foreign Language: Learn French the Fast and Fun Way by Elisabeth Bourquin Leete and Heywood Wald

Fine Arts

Painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpting, dancing, music, and drama all fulfill the need to create...and make the world prettier. Kinda hard to go wrong here.

Art: Drawing on the Artist Within: An Inspirational and Practical Guide to Increasing Your Creative Powers by Betty Edwards
Music: Last Night's Fun: A Book about Irish Traditional Music by Ciaran Carson
Dance: Dance Me to the End of Love by Linda Sunshine and Henry Matisse
Drama: Failing Up: How to Rise Above, Do Better, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom Jr.

Math and Science

Ah, math. Whether you love it or hate it, math really is the one true international language, so make it your friend. Science, on the other hand, is just plain cool, so have fun with it!

Math: Everyday Math for Dummies by Charles Seiter
Science: Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste: More Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun by Steve Spangler
Physics: The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone, by Kenneth W. Ford
Computer Technology: Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics by Michael Miller

P.E. and Health

No matter how old you get or how many books you read, your health will always be important, and P.E. is even more fun when you’re the one choosing the activity, so le these books inspire you to find what works.

Physical Education: Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated by Dana L. Ayers
Health: How Not to Die by Jan Garavagli
Life and Death: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Social Studies and Business

These alternative social studies textbooks put a whole new twist on the classic approach that makes the whole subject more relevant and interesting.

History: Salt, A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Psychology: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Anthropology: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
Business: What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Happy reading and remember, you’re never too old to stop learning!

Read more by Beth Clark

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