I taught Middle School and High School English for twenty years. I have two children in their 20’s and my dream is to section hike the Appalachian trail, the Camino de Santiago and to travel to as many National Parks as I can.
Jon Krakauer is one of my favorite authors. The biographical book is about a young man just out of college who just walks away from his life and goes on a grand adventure that takes him all over the U.S. Once he decides to live off the land in Alaska without much preparation and not a lot of common sense he runs into a multitude of challenges. It is a fascinating tale and read.
I’ve lost count of the number of copies I’ve bought and handed out as gifts to friends. Reading this book for the first time was like discovering I’d been breathing through a straw my entire life, and finally understanding I was meant to breathe so much deeper. An absolute game-changer of a book!
Newsboys bassist Phil Joel writes about how our flawed view/perception of God can negatively impact our reaction to Him and the choices we make, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break out of. Redwoods and Whales is full of funny stories, helpful metaphors, and practical tips. The book is geared toward students, but it’s a great read and encouraging reminder for everyone!
This was a book that took a while for me to enjoy, but it ended up being one of my favorite books of 2019! In an interview Kevin Wilson talked about how we often assume strong people are strong for weak people…but in reality it’s often weak people who are forced to be strong for weaker people. That idea is beautifully woven throughout this books!
I once heard someone say that Orwell’s 1984 describes a nightmare scenario forced upon people by the government, while Huxley’s Brave New World tells the tale of people bringing the nightmare upon themselves. Brave New World is a fascinating exploration of free will, desire, and individualism.
I run a reading project called Books of Titans. Each year, I read 52 books and then write and podcast about each one. So far, I’ve read 150+ books for the project and here are a few of my favorites.
This is an important book for our times. The Coddling of the American Mind covers three “Great Untruths” or cognitive distortions people (especially young people) are being taught and the ramifications for those beliefs. The authors then show how these untruths are leading to what we’re seeing on campuses across the USA, where these ideas came from, and how they can be reversed.
Oh boy was this fun. The Right Stuff covers the story of the “Mercury Seven,” the first 7 U.S. astronauts to go into space. Tom Wolfe masterfully pulled it all together highlighting the lives of these 7 men, the political battle and ramifications for the “space race” between the USA and Russia, the reality on the ground compared to how the press presented it, and how these men came to be viewed as protectors of the American people, single combat warriors in the vein of David vs. Goliath.
This book was a delightful surprise. It’s a true coming of age story about Mokhtar Alkanshali, a Yemeni-American who in the mid-2010s, traces his country and family coffee heritage back to its roots and decides he’s going to revitalize the Yemeni specialty coffee export business. The only problem is that Yemen is in the midst of being overrun by Al Qaeda, Houthi rebels, and a Saudi-led coalition of bombers.