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Illustration of person at laptop with a glowing brain
January 18, 2019
3 mins read

10 snappy reads to feed your mind

What can you achieve from just a few minutes of reading?

”Taking a study break” almost always means flipping on Netflix, getting lost in the IG feed, or chowing away on an extra serving of chips. Because, well, writing your name and date on that essay was a truckload of hard work.

Jokes aside, our days are actually sprinkled with little moments where our brains need a break, or where they’re on break with nothing to do. These can include 5-minute breaks from WeBWorK, long bus rides, lineups for Tim Horton’s, or even extra time because you got to class too early (#realisticgoals).

We have rounded up a bunch of great reads that (we believe) are snappy, fun, and thought-provoking! Be prepared to grin and get spooked, expand your perspectives, and experience the art of writing—to make those 5 minutes meaningful.


1 read to get you spooked

Illustration of person at laptop

My Friend Henry Banner

1 word to describe this 1-minute read: Rattling. - Meg

Excerpt: “Sometimes we have a laugh, [Henry] pulls faces at me in the rear-view mirror. He’s the king of all jokers.”


2 reads to introduce you to change-making

Illustration of person at a laptop with a lightbulb idea

I invited strangers on the bus to chat with me, and this is what happened

2 words to describe this 2-minute read: Conversational epiphanies. - Shawn

Excerpt: “One young fellow is taking up boxing. He wants to transition into mixed martial arts. (Because why limit yourself to just punching someone when you can kick them as well).”

This is How You Change the World

5 words to describe this 5-minute read: Positive and inspiring pep talk. - Meg

Excerpt: “You start to wonder why the square peg of your creative spirit has been forced into a round hole.”


3 reads to give you a laugh

Illustration of person laughing at their laptop

Conan the Grammarian

2 words to describe this 2-minute read: Misfired satire. - Shawn

Excerpt: “Examples I gleaned from my students include things like, ‘I thought in my head.’ Now, tell me, Stuart, where can people do their thinking other than in their heads?”

Urban Etiquette: Should I tell the bride her bridesmaid dresses are ugly?

2 words to describe this 2-minute read: Farcical advice. - Shawn

Excerpt: “Yes, it would be rude to make her walk down the aisle, staring balefully at all of you fuming away at having to buy and wear dresses you hate.”

Applicant Number 43

5 words to describe this 5-minute read: I didn’t see that coming. - Meg

Excerpt: “Sumer smiled and replaced the chair and sat on it. ‘I am sorry about that sir, but I believe in starting things on a happy note.’”


4 reads to streeetch your perspective

Illustration of person at laptop with a glowing brain

How humans might outlive Earth, the sun…and even the universe

4 words to describe this 4-minute read: Hello there, existential crisis. - Meg

Excerpt: “As one star ages and dies, we can move on to the next. We’ve got time.”

“Mysterious Benedict”: Solve a Puzzle, Save the World

5 words to describe this 5-minute read: Interview transcript about brainiac book. - Shawn

Excerpt:  “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities? Dozens of children answered the ad and tried to conquer a series of mind-boggling tests, but only four are able to pass.”

12 of the Best “Humans of New York” Posts

5 words to describe this 5-minute read: Extraordinary stories from ordinary people. - Meg

Excerpt: “And her health got so bad at one point, she called me and said: ‘I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!'"

How Memoirists Mold the Truth

5 words to describe this 5-minute read: Metaphors and meditations on remembrance. - Shawn

Excerpt: “Writing the past is never a neutral act. Writing always asks the past to justify itself, to give its reasons…provided we can live with the reasons. What we want is a narrative, not a log; a tale, not a trial.”


Let’s discover how a permutation of words can change you in just a few minutes!