Growing up, I was always known as a bookworm, and somehow managed to balance school, reading, and hours of television pretty well. My classmates would even say things to me on the order of "Just because we get a book order doesn't mean you have to order something".
Once I outgrew the kid's section in the bookstore, it became increasingly harder for me to find a style of books that I liked. I did go through periods of reading quite a bit of Stephen King, V.C. Andrews, and John Grisham until the point at which many of the plots became somewhat predictable, but still didn't know where else to go. Many of my friends read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and although there were books in those genres that I liked, I didn't delve too deeply into those categories either.
A few years later, I had the pleasure of working in a bookstore, and then a library. Both of those experiences brought me closer to books again, and exposed me to a lot of different books, both new and old, for children and adults. In the following pages here I hope to present a selection of books which may interest others as well.
The categories below are not separated strictly by fiction and non-fiction, and, being as I have not built a database allowing tags and books to be in multiple categories, books that fall in multiple categories will only be listed once.
Mark Steyn is one of my favourite radio personalities, although his radio appearances are few and far between, being as he's more of a writer than a talker. Truth be told, it was his accent that first got me paying attention to him, but the content of what he is saying is far more important than his manner of speech. He is wickedly funny, though in true Brit-humour fashion, deadly serious at the same time. Being someone who has lived in more than one country (as I have) and who also understands the history of many places has also provided him a wider perspective on issues, which I think is something that is so often missing in American discourse in general, but particularly in political discourse.
The thesis of this book is that Europe is in decline, in large part due to its own dysfunction, but that this has made it a place where it is easy for Islamization to take place, including radical Islam, and in particular, Wahabism. The United States has managed, up until recently at least, to follow its own path. However, if the United States chooses to follow in the dysfunction of most of the rest of the world, we have the same sort of future in store for us as Europe (and to some extent, Japan).
This book caused quite a controversy after it was excerpted in Maclean's magazine in Canada. Steyn was brought before the British Columbia Human Rights Commission in response to a complaint made by the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress claiming that the book is discriminatory against Muslims, etc. These charges were eventually dropped.
When this book was originally published in the 1930s, it would have been a book suitable for just about anybody entering university or seminary. It is a book that, on one hand, contains a lot of common-sense advice about pursuing "higher education", but rather than being a simple handbook for university students, this book goes far beyond that and espouses an entire philosophy of what it means to be called to a vocation of the "intellectual life" and, once called, how to more successfully make one's way along that path.
As a Christian, Sertillanges makes it clear that there should be no conflict between being pursuing the intellectual life, whether one's field be natural science, philosophy, theology, or anything in between, because the true intellectual is seeking out the Truth, and as Christians, we do the same thing in seeking God.
Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia before the Russian Revolution of 1917 and, seeing what communism does to countries and people, set out for America with the intention never to return to Russia. Atlas Shrugged is one of her most well-known books, and has received some recent publicity through recent Tea Party protests, where signs referencing this book. I've had this book hanging around for a couple years, and being as I couldn't find the book that I was planning to start, I figured it was probably high time that I actually start it.
I won a copy of this book from a drawing at MommyLife, and in paging in through it so far, it looks very interesting.