8 best books to learn something new

Education

Reading can not only improve your vocabulary, but can also increase your attention span, reduce stress and expand your emotional intelligence.

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Which books to learn something new are best? 

Although the darkest days of the pandemic are in the rear view mirror, it’s not unusual for most of us to be spending much of our time at home, especially if you work remotely. Why not take some of that home time and put it to good use? You could learn a new skill or take up a hobby, do some self-reflection or sift through historical mysteries for new fun facts you can use at your next party. How-to and do-it-yourself books can help you fix your plumbing or learn how to replace a vanity, while art books teach you how to sketch or paint and personal growth books can help you set new goals. There is no downside to picking up a book, and you might actually learn something useful.

Top books to learn something new

Top drawing book

“How To Draw 101 Animals” by Dan Green

“How To Draw 101 Animals” by Dan Green

What you need to know: Take your doodles to the next level with this step-by-step guide to drawing 101 animals.

What you’ll love: Each drawing is broken down into six windows showing the sequence of steps the artist employs. It’s great for children 5 years and up, and for adults who don’t know how to draw or who never learned the basics.

What you should consider: Some reviewers felt that the drawings could have been broken down further.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top knitting book

“Knitting For Beginners” by Melanie Craft

“Knitting For Beginners” by Melanie Craft

What you need to know: This book is the ultimate guide for knitting and includes everything you need to know, plus projects and patterns.

What you’ll love: Not only does this book introduce you to knitting, it also includes helpful information about tools, materials, an FAQ section and mistakes not to make. The easy-to-follow instructions will have you up and knitting in no time with all of the included patterns and projects.

What you should consider: More photos would help readers visualize the techniques better.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top foraging book

“How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying” by Frank Hyman

“How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying” by Frank Hyman

What you need to know: This is a great book for those who want to forage for mushrooms in the forest but who also want to live.

What you’ll love: This vibrantly designed book features in-depth information about 29 different species of edible wild mushrooms. The author shares his expert advice on finding the mushrooms, the history of each one and how to prepare them, coupled with vivid images and sketches.

What you should consider: The book is fairly concise, covering only 29 mushroom species.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cookbook

“Cook This Book” by Molly Baz

“Cook This Book” by Molly Baz

What you need to know: This New York Times bestselling cookbook includes QR codes that take the reader to videos that accompany each recipe.

What you’ll love: This is a cookbook that blends the teaching of cooking techniques and basics with a modern take on classic recipes. Learn how to properly season your food and become a better cook overall. If you’re unclear about a recipe, simply scan the QR code to find a short video that explains it.

What you should consider: Several readers felt the book’s photo style was outdated.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top trivia book

“Stuff You Should Know” by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

“Stuff You Should Know” by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

What you need to know: This is an incredibly clever book about everyday things that you should know about, but you likely don’t, based on the wildly successful podcast of the same name.

What you’ll love: You’ll never be bored with topics like well-witching, demolition derbies and the Jersey Devil. The book is perfect for anyone who wants to get better at trivia or just have a repertoire of fun facts at their disposal for future social engagements.

What you should consider: Some readers didn’t find the material as interesting or engaging as the podcast.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top science activity book

“Birds” by the Smithsonian Institution and Rachel Curtis

“Birds” by the Smithsonian Institution and Rachel Curtis

What you need to know: It’s a textbook meets coloring book, with beautifully illustrated drawings and scientific facts about birds, straight from the Smithsonian Institution.

What you’ll love: This book is made with high-quality paper, so you can decide to color this book in pen, pencil or watercolor. Great for all ages, each page features a detailed illustration paired with each bird’s characteristics, such as where they live, what they eat and other fun ornithological facts.

What you should consider: The book does not include any waterfowl.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top language book

“Italian All-in-One For Dummies”

“Italian All-in-One For Dummies”

What you need to know: From the classic “For Dummies” series, this book is a well-rounded approach to learning the Italian language with an online companion site.

What you’ll love: Learning a language can be tough, especially from a book. But that’s not the case with this surprisingly robust book, which includes an entire section on popular Italian phrases and expressions. It will quickly teach you the basics of how to communicate while in Italy, from taking public transportation to ordering food to asking for directions, while also explaining grammar and sentence structure.

What you should consider: Some reviewers didn’t like the structure of the book.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top learning about people and culture book

“Humans” by Brandon Stanton

“Humans” by Brandon Stanton

What you need to know: It’s a collection of short stories and photos of very real humans and their everyday struggles and successes.

What you’ll love: Author Brandon Stanton interviews regular human beings across the world, capturing and sharing their stories in a deeply personal way. Everyone has a story to tell and Stanton slowly peels back the layers. Some stories are funny, some are sad and some are beyond the imagination. You’ll learn about different cultures and backgrounds with each story.

What you should consider: The front cover is susceptible to handprints.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Stefanie Hammond writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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