Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a classic for a reason.  It is a book that I have re-read probably 5 out of the last 10 years.  It is a staple of many high school English curriculums, but I know that assigned reading can often be ignored.  Also, as cliché as it is to say, the book is just plain better than the movie, so don’t let having seen the movie keep you from reading the novel.  Austen captures the human condition so brilliantly and with humor. Even a less than intense reading of the story forces us to confront our own judgment and evaluate our relationships with those around us.  In addition to being entertaining, that prompting of self-examination is a mark of a good novel.

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance – Ben Sasse

I just finished this book in June. Ben Sasse is a US Senator from Nebraska and he wrote The Vanishing American Adult not as a political book, but a commentary on our culture and what we can do about it. Among the innumerable things that I appreciated about the book, in a climate where we cannot even turn on the television without seeing someone complaining, Sasse takes 100 pages to state his concerns and observations and 200 pages to talk about solutions (none of which are political). That’s a leader that I want in our Congress!  Sasse talks about societal reluctance to grow up, our lack of personal responsibility, and how to best parent in our post-truth culture. If you pick this up to read, please, let me know! I can’t stop talking about it, so let’s have a cup of coffee and discuss.

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

Many people know Lewis for his fictional series The Chronicles of Narnia, but may be surprised that he was also a prolific non-fiction writer.  This is widely considered one of his most popular books. It contains transcribed radio addresses that were broadcast from 1942-1944 in Great Britain.  In an attempt to bring comfort and unity to yet again war torn Great Britain, the BBC asked Lewis to simply explain Christianity. Lewis, an atheist for the first years of his life, uses personal experience and his own study to speak generally to Christian belief.  Mere Christianity is an excellent primer to either explore your own faith or to further understand this faith tradition that has undergirded much of western society for the past two centuries.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture your Child’s Developing Mind– Daniel Siegel M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson Ph.D.

Siegel and Bryson take what can be extremely complicated brain science and explain it not only to the average parent, but they give advice for parents to educate their young children about how our brains function and how that affects our behavior.  They provide both the framework and individual solutions to everyday struggles with children. It’s a must read for any parent or person who interacts with children on a regular basis. Who knew neuroscience could be so practical?