- Dollars and Sense by Dan Ariely
- Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
- How the Right Lost Its Mind by Charlie Sykes
- Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton
- World without Mind by Franklin Foer (in progress)
- End Game by David Baldacci (in progress)
I've read several end of the year book wrap-up lists this week, so I thought I'd contribute a little list of my own. I couldn't decide on my top ten or five or three, so I'm compromising by grouping a few notables by type. (I came up with the categories on my own based on how I related to the book, so, as the kids would say, "Don't @ me.")
The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
This book is not, of course, primarily a parenting book, but I read it as a parent. Society has extended adolescence and thereby made maturation in many ways more difficult. As a parent, I want my children to be ready to face the adult world. Sasse has many thoughts on how parents, teachers, and society as a whole can foster adulthood in the next generation. It is my wish that my children grow up to be strong and independent thinkers. Based on how vigorously and regularly they argue with me, I think I'm on the right track. Excellent book for anyone who comes into contact with young people.
Use of Force by Brad Thor
House of Spies by Daniel Silva
What can I say? I like spy novels. Thor's are consistently fun and fast-paced; Silva's are beautifully written and deeply thoughtful. I anxiously await their new installments each summer. I also read
The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker.
It was my first by this author, and he has a distinct writing style (so many fragments!) that took a little getting used to. The style plays into his portrayal of the main character in a way that made me feel like I knew him at the end. All three are worth a read if you like books with heavy artillery.
Let's call this a broad category. I am outnumbered by kids at home, and I teach middle school. I need brain books.
Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks
This is a fascinating comparative biography and you should read it. You really should. The way Ricks ties these two thinkers together while painting a full picture of each independently really is brilliant. And once you've read it, read The Atlantic article about how the book was edited. The English teacher in me loved that look behind the scenes.
The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency by Chris Whipple
I listened to this on Audible while I repainted our house this summer. It made the entire chore seem more...epic, somehow. White House intrigue, a few brave men trying to wrestle political and foreign forces, determined attempts to bring order and discipline to the frenzied pace of the presidency. It was all very enlightening. Godspeed, General Kelly.
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Path to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
Sometimes, when we're living through a historical event, it's difficult to make sense of the larger issues. I've intended to read this book for awhile, but I finally cued it on Audible, and I'm glad I did. I can't claim to have absorbed all of the information- that would take careful study and notation- but I did come away with a deeper understanding of the events that led up to that fateful day.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
This book was written by a young widow, and I approached it skeptically. I am acutely aware of how unique each person's grief process and experience is, and I expected the book to have little impact on my thinking at this point in my journey. I was wrong. Sandberg did an admirable job acknowledging that very fact: Everyone has a different experience. She focused on the big picture issues like building resiliency. I've spent so much time contemplating the importance of "suffering well," and her perspective was refreshing. If you're facing obstacles or grieving a loss, consider reading this book. You'll find hope and solace and a determination to face the future boldly.
Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
I don't know what I'm going to do when I no longer have children young enough to be read to before bed. I will be sad. I will have to get a reading companion dog. Anyway...
Most people are familiar with Charlotte's Web, but Trumpet of the Swan is my personal EB White favorite. The characters, both human and avian, are compelling and touching and real.
Here's to another year of reading! Happy 2018.