Hillbilly Elegy, www.amazon.com/Hillbilly-Elegy-Memoir-Family-Culture/dp/0062300547, is a memoir that truly resonates with me and my personal story. J.D. Vance describes, through his personal journey, a culture that I feel America is unfamiliar with--the white working poor. I have to admit, while reading the book, I felt out of touch with his journey even though I grew up in goverment housing as a little girl. His poignant descriptions of his foul-mouthed, gun carrying Mamaw, his unpredictable and often narcissistic mother, and the overall culture of folks from "the Holler" left me feeling like I was reading about someone growing up in a foreign country, and not America. I truly believe that this book is the reason the Democratic Party lost the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump. He appealed to people who live this story everyday. This book taught me that African-Americans aren't the only ones living a broken dream in America--plenty of whites do too. This book is sobering and entertaining. My hope is that you find it as enlightening as well.
Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly in the World, www.amazon.com/Slow-Kingdom-Coming-Practices-Justice/dp/0830844554, was written by Kent Annan, co-founder of Haiti Partners. It is a thoughtful approach to seeing the world, God's people, and His love for them through the eyes of someone who has learned to grow in compassion for the hurting. Annan takes readers through a series of personal practices that are guaranteed to help believers live in a world where God's Kingdom seems too slow in coming. I, too, have felt a deep ache for the lonely and hurting. While a heavy read, Slow Kingdom Coming ministers to those who have felt a certain brokenness while living out their faith. This book comes highly recommended!
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - my 10 year-old son is reading it for English class and loves it! He begged me to read it so I started it on our road trip to Providence. It's quirky and great fun for any kid who LOVES creative adventure!
Past Favorites include:
1) The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, is an autobiographical sketch of a highly successful young man who grew up in Baltimore. He learns of another young man, with the same name, who also grew up in close proximity to his childhood neighborhood, the difference is, the "other" Wes Moore is serving life in prison. I love this book because I believe that the fate of these two gentlemen could have been the same, either a life full of success or a life full of imprisonment, if it had not been for the choices that the two made which led them down very different paths.
2) As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last by Walter Wangerin is my go-to book on marriage. I have used it in my marriage counseling to newlyweds and have referred to it often for my own spiritual renewal. This book has an uncanny way of getting at the root of all failed marriages--unforgiveness. As difficult as it sounds, the beginning of unforgiveness starts with our own forgiveness in Christ. I highly recommend this book for newlyweds, young couples and marriages that are in crisis.
3) The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis is a book that explores the depth of love, relationships and the mystery of the highest love of all--charity. It examines our failings, desires and risks that are often painful yet rewarding and ultimately what we were made for. C. S. Lewis is an amazing masterful writer. His website lists all other works of his that are also my favorites from The Chronicles of Narnia series to the grief-ridden A Grief Observed, of which I found particularly comforting during the death of my firstborn. Lewis does not disappoint!
I am currently reading two powerful books that speak to character. The first one is True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, by Bill George. In it the author explores how values, and living by a moral code (i.e., principles) allows for one to withstand some of the most common leadership pitfalls. True North shows readers the importance of having a guide during life's storms much like a compass guides explorers through the unknown waters or terrains of undiscovered lands. Leadership can often be a test in the discovery of self as one travels the unfamiliar territory that the leadership journey brings.
The second book that I am reading, (simultaneously!) is the New York Times Bestseller, The Road to Character, by David Brooks. Brooks challenges readers to reassess their view of what true character looks like through a series of sketches of some of the most unlikely people throughout history. Humility, resolve and depth of soul play a large role in many of those whom can be defined as having a strong character. http://theroadtocharacter.com/