What Are You Reading This Summer?

I am making my way through my first Erik Larson book (In the Gardent of Beasts), very much enjoying it, and it has me anticipating adding additional Larson selections to pass the time this summer during getaways to the beautiful southern California coast. This got me thinking about summer reading lists and the inevitable (but welcomed) topic of good beach reads.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer? In addition to Larson, I'm going to check out a book that might be particularly compelling for America readers: The Road to Character, by David Brooks, which appears to be the result of much inner sifting, perhaps signaling further shifts for Brooks' own faith convictions. As he recently told NPR's Audie Cornish:


So I'm a believer. I don't talk about my religious life in public, in part because it's so shifting and green and vulnerable. And so I've spent a lot of time in this book - and if you care about morality and inner life and character, you spend your time reading a lot of theology because over the last hundreds of years, it was theologians who were writing about this. Whether you're a believer or not, I think these books are very helpful. It's amazing to read Augustine, the Confessions, and a guy who got successful as a rhetorician but felt hollow inside, a guy who had a mom, Monica, who was the helicopter mom to beat all helicopter moms and how he dealt with the conflict with such a demanding mother. And so I read a lot of theology, whether it's C.S. Lewis or Joseph Soloveitchik, a Rabbi. And it's produced a lot of religious upsurge in my heart, but it's also fragile and green that I don't really talk about it because I don't want to trample the fresh grass.


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J Cosgrove
3 years 8 months ago
I have a suggestion for all high school juniors during their summer before senior year. There are classic books which I believe all should read. But, one which few would consider is 80 years old this year and was the number 2 selling non fiction book of the 20th century. It is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, The best seller was the bible. I just read it and wish I had read it as a teenager. I do not know what my reaction would have been as I tended to rebel at everything back then. In fact I purposely never read this book because of the title and what I thought it was about. It sounded phony to me. There is a little of this in the book but the moral message is what is overwhelming. Essentially treat others as if they are special. Never criticize, always find out what interests the other person, learn about them and focus on that and success with people will come. Everyone is always better than you at something and why not find out what that is. I mentioned this to my son recently and he said he found the book very useful but what he recommended was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I am now reading but can not comment on since I only have read the introduction and first chapter. The other recommendation is a short book and a movie that go together. The movie is Groundhog Day and the book is the screen play for the movie which actually discusses much more than the original screen play. It is called How To Write Groundhog Day. The movie is about how someone becomes a moral person and it is then that he finds happiness. This wasn't the original intention of the screen play but it is what came out of the finished product. One of the most interesting things in the book on the script is the reaction people had to the movie. Like Dale Carnegie's book I only saw the movie recently having based my opinion on the story which seemed silly at best. It is now one of my favorite movies and one that all should see. Ask the question of your student, how many days did it take the main character to find the way to happiness. It is estimated it took about 10,000 days when if we examine the story and what it is telling us, could take just a summer or two. I am sure these are not on most people's list but I bet if they were introduced to students as they were entering their senior year in high school could form the basis for interesting discussion of how to lead a moral life.


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