1. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
If you’ve followed my journey from Oklahoma to Seattle, you know how important the movie based on this book is to me. If you spent time conversing with me about life, love, and the human spirit, you are aware of this story’s importance on my life. For a long time, I put off reading the book, though. Strangely enough, I buy this book every year and give it to friends who I see struggling to find their place in this world. Needing to be rattled, I decided to finally crack it open and let it work wonders on my life. With each flip of the page, I found things I shared in common with Chris, but I also discovered how important my family is to me. By the time I finished the book, I found countless lessons to apply to my life. Now, I look at the life of Christopher McCandless not through the lens of super hero painted glasses. Instead, I relate to his vision and try to find ways to apply it to my own life without letting everything go.
2. Utopia by Thomas More
You know this book. You may have been forced to read this book in college or high school. With an election year looming, I decided to finally follow suit and I could not be happier that I did. In vivid detail, Thomas More describes every facet of life on the island, Utopia. From domestic life, to work, family, politics, military, spirituality, and multiple other areas, More describes how this small island’s society functions. As I devoured the book, I couldn’t help contrast what I was reading against what I was experiencing here in the United States. When I finished, I was left with a simple conclusion; utopia is something in which we are to strive. It can never be attained, but the effort shouldn’t be discounted. Rather, it should be respected. It should be viewed patriotically and those working toward this goal should be treated as such.
3. The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton
You know this book too. If you had a great American History or American Government professor in college, you may have been required to read some portion of it, if not the entire book. Again, with an election year looming, I decided to give it a read. At times, it can be a quite challenging. Some of the topics are discussed in depth and are not meant for the weary or disinterested. Yet, I would encourage you to power through. This book is a foundational document for our democracy and paints a beautiful picture of original intent. As I begin to make decisions about local, state, and federal elections this year, I am sure to keep "The Federalist Papers’" teachings in mind.
4. The Call of the Wild & White Fang by Jack London
I’ve read and reread both of these books several times; one of the few titles where I can admit such a thing. As a human being I have found myself at several transitional moments; kid to teenager, teenager to college student, college student to working adult, working adult to adult focused on his self-worth… At each one of these turns, I’ve picked up these books. While they don’t provide great lessons on transition, they do provide perspective on the world and our place in it. Both have a way of grounding me and tying me back to a simpler way of thinking and looking at the world.
5. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Dan Brown’s books are enthralling, captivating and suspenseful page turners. Each one comes with a religious element mixing dogma, fact and imagination. Much like “Angels & Demons” and the “Da Vinci Code,” the mixture has the potential to offend. To me, his books have never been anything, but thought provoking. Brown is well researched on every institution he decides to battle. For “The Lost Symbol,” the Masons are in his sights. Again, Brown doesn’t disappoint by sticking to his tried and true formula.
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Be good to each other,