I read. I read all the time. I read books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and news sites. I love reading. With my busy life, I tend to read fluffy fiction books, books that are quick and easy and I can fit into the free time in my life. I can go months at a time without reading books of "substance"...I feel like I need the down time for my brain and so I take it.
Then my brain begins to atrophy and I start reading "better" books. Some are terrific and some are not so terrific. I've been fortunate, recently, to read some seriously terrific books. A few months ago, I told you about So Sexy, So Soon, a book that tackles the highly-sexualized world our children live in and can help you steer your children clear. Before that, I shared with you the tremendous impact The Four Agreements had on my life. If you haven't read those books, and they apply to your circumstances, I urge you to read them.
Now, however, I'm tackling something new and different. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford. I first heard about this book by listening to the author be interviewed for some radio program and was intrigued. Mr. Crawford is a PhD in political philosophy who worked in a think tank and discovered he was completely unhappy, uninspired, and exhausted by this lifestyle he'd worked so hard for. He quit and became a motorcycle mechanic. (Yes, really.) The book is the result of his life-changing journey. The first 50 pages were so dry, I wondered if I'd made a mistake tackling this subject in this way, but the rest of it has made up for it. The main premise is that we've lost the art of doing as society has grown to value "intellectual knowledge" but that the combination of thinking and doing is what feeds our souls. Think you won't understand or agree with his message? What do you think we're all doing as we tackle sewing projects or DIY projects or gardens or cooking from scratch? We're feeding our souls by working with our minds and hands together. He makes a compelling argument for education that supports just that, rather than just educating our children to work in cubicles. Mr. Crawford admits that his examples and his supports are drawn from typically masculine endeavors, because that is his area of comfort, but that it doesn't make his arguments any less valid.
The other book that I'd like to bring to your attention is The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twende, PhD and W. Keith Campbell, PhD. This book is a must read. Truly. If you are alive and breathing, this book has relevance to your life. It is just that simple. If you read no other "real" book this year, you need to read this one.
Finally, I'm offering up a fiction novel written by a girl I went to Junior High with all those years ago (many, many years ago!). Of course, we grew up and didn't keep in touch. 33 years later, I was walking through our local library (a few months ago) and saw the author photo on the jacket of a novel and thought, "Hey, that looks just like Karen Kingsbury, all grown up." I nabbed the book off the shelf and saw that the author's name was Karen Kingsbury, so I check it out, read it, and sent the author an email asking if she was the same Karen Kingsbury who'd attended school in So Cal all those years ago and she responded in the affirmative. She was the girl I'd known so many years ago. She's gone on to become a well-known writer of Christian fiction. If you haven't read her, you will be pleasantly surprised and if you have, you already know why I enjoy her books so much. Anyway, the book I read last week was A Time To Dance. If you're looking for an uplifting novel, her books never disappoint.