With the new year comes a renewed interest in catching up on reading. Whether looking for a book that helps with self-improvement or picking up the latest New York Times bestseller, books offer the perfect escape from the dull days of winter.

Just like the diversity and uniqueness of the optical industry itself, so too are the selection of reads being devoured in our roundup of best reads. This particular collection of books shows that readers in the optical industry are reflecting on the world around them, from current events to politics.

Earlier this year, we reported that more than $3.5 billion was spent on hardback, paperback and mass market books in 2021. This demonstrates a healthy appetite for knowledge and continued drive to learn about the dynamics that are shaping our world.

From our list of titles, there seems to be a strong desire to find sense in what is happening in the world today, as some of our readers see a trend toward history repeating itself. This may be a reason why so many people are broadly turning to the classics to find answers, whether it be in the stark and harsh reality of Rand and Orwell, or the escapism of the latest page turning thriller, in an effort to find pleasure in a fast-paced and ever-changing society.

Enjoy the latest reads and suggestions from optical industry colleagues and remember no matter what is motivating you to pick up a book, it is perhaps most important to make every effort to take in as much literature as possible, whether it be news in the latest VMAIL or a classic work of fiction. Perhaps, George R.R. Martin captures it best, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

Georg Mayer
Director, Head of International Lab Support

On my reading table is “Cloud Empires” by Vili Lehdonvirta. He is writing about how digital platforms are overtaking the state and how we can regain control. Lehdonvirta argues that the internet has become ruled by Silicon Valley despots who govern new marketplaces and need to be held more accountable. I think this topic is crucial for understanding today's debates about the role of such tech platforms.

Mehran Baghaie
Spectacle EYEworks Inc.

I am rereading “1984” by George Orwell, because I think this book is coming to absolute fruition and reality! It is so fascinating seeing social media acting as “Big Brother” and detecting and analyzing every step we make and the whole concept of corporations taking over, as well as seeing poverty and inequality running rampant and becoming a norm in the 21st century. The whole concept of “thought control” is extremely reminiscent of “misinformation” and common advertising practices deployed by big corporations and governments.

Paul Faibish
Plastic Plus Ltd

I just finished reading “Look Closer” by David Ellis. This is a fast-paced thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book has so many twists and turns, you never know what is going to happen next. It also deals with relevant topics like greed, revenge and trust.

Paula Weissman
Vice President of Marketing
Modern Optical International

I just finished reading “The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel.” I love biographies and this one did not disappoint. Ms. Merkel was an extraordinary world leader. From humble beginnings in bucolic East Germany to the world stage, she led with great dignity and remarkable courage.

Leo Mac Canna

I have just started Bono’s autobiography, titled “Surrender,” which has received very good reviews even from those who are the most cynical about him. It is particularly interesting for me in that he grew up about 3 miles from my home in Dublin, and we lived through largely the same time, though he is a little older. While I don’t enjoy his global success, our work has also taken us around the world, so I’m looking forward to hearing about how much different it is to be a rock star!

Allen Nightingale
Centennial Optical

I am rereading “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. Many of the issues we are seeing in the world today seem to resonate with this book that was written in the 1950s.

Martin Bell
Director of Education and Quality Assurance
Shamir Canada Inc.

Woodworking is my hobby and I am reading several books about cabinetry with a focus on creating special joints and finishing techniques. No high-brow literature from me this year. I am working on a side table and am reading about how to perfect a “waterfall” joint for the live-edge maple I am using for this piece. I am also working on a turned salad bowl from pine. The difficulty has been that the original pine block was the former home to an ant colony so that affects the finishing. Yes, that sounds unappetizing, but it makes an interesting piece for sure.