My friend is probably crazy.
She’s compiling an epic list of books to read, which at this point has grown larger than she could reasonably finish in a lifetime. By her estimates, if she read for two hours every single day, for the rest of her life, she would get about half way through. So I was surprised the other day when she asked for any books I would recommend her to read. I asked her why she thought it would be a capital idea to add more to the already unrealistic pile.
To her credit, she winked and said, “You never know, I just might read them all.” This kind of unrealistic optimism warms my heart every time and so I gladly contributed 31 books by 8 authors. This list is not exhaustive but rather a healthy mix, and a good introduction to an Unboxed Life. More on that another time.
For now, get to reading —
Bill Bryson – Read everything this man writes. Period. He’s a travel/science author and one of the funniest, wittiest writers I have ever had the privilege of reading. Start with his book about Australia, “In a Sunburned Country” but anything you find by him is very good. Sometimes you can find an orphaned title of his in the bargain section at Half-priced Books, usually for a couple bucks. Best bargain in the world. (If you read nothing else on this list, at least check him out. You will be very pleased that you took the time)
Donald Miller – One of the best writers of the New-Christian movement, but his books transcend that typically narrow minded genre. His latest book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” is deeply provocative, not at all preachy, and makes you reconsider the most important questions. He writes in an off hand, bohemian way that I particularly enjoy, almost like he give you direct access to his personal thoughts.
Jane McGonagal – Her book, “Reality is Broken” addresses the world of video games and explains why they are so addicting, using the latest scientific evidence to back up her argument. She also details why they can be a force for good, and how to harness the inherent power of games in general to change the world for the better. I found it intellectually delightful and provoking.
Steven Pressfield – His book, “The War of Art” inspires thousands of artists and creatives every day. He breaks down the fundamental reasons why people only want to do things but can easily talk themselves out of doing what they love. Great fast read, that you will have to read at least 5 times.
George Friedman – One of the brightest and best written books about international politics I have ever read, “The Next Hundred Years,” is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis on Geo-political affairs, but a fantastic primer on understanding the psychology and motivations of whole countries and how they interact with each other on a global stage.
Gail Carriger – The Parasol Protectorate series (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless) is about a young woman in Victorian England, who struggles under a great many social tribulations. First of all, she has no soul. If that weren’t enough, she’s unmarried and her father was Italian. Then she’s attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Read the excerpts on Amazon, and enjoy. Just fun, well written reads.
Michael J. Sullivan – His 3 book series, The Riyria Revelations, starting with book one Theft of Swords, is a fun and fast adventure in the style of epic fantasy a la Tolkien. I devoured the first book and couldn’t stop after. Addicting might be the correct word.
C.S. Lewis – While he was known primarily for his non-fiction Christian apologetics and Narnia series, he also penned a Science Fiction Space Trilogy. Brilliant in structure and with a dash of humor, these three novels make a very enjoyable escape into the true roots of science fiction. My favorite is the second book, Perelandra.
I cannot guarantee a life changing experience when you read any one of these books, but each will do something more for you than simply pass the time. And taken together, they might make more of a change than you first realize. Happy reading.