Monday, November 18, 2013

Books You 'Must' Read in Your Life

Last week I linked to a list of suggested books that you really should read because they're life changing.  The idea has actually been flitting around in my head for some time now.  There are plenty of books that I want my children to read as they grow up.  Some of them are books that were important to me, some are books that I wish I'd read earlier in life.  Some are just books that I'll want them to read so I can discuss them with someone.  The following is an incomplete list:
  • 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World - All three of these books tackle similar themes and I think there's some benefit in reading them together.  Each one gave predictions about a bad future, but they diverged in how they thought we'd get there.  Probably the best book to follow these up with is 'Anthem'.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - To teach them that you must try to have compassion and put yourself in the other person's shoes.  Also to show them how awfully unfair it is to judge people by color.  (Yes, they'll get this in school too.)
  • Various Heinlein - Oh, I'm sure they'll get heavy doses of the great man, but especially 'Starship Troopers' and 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'.  I'll leave 'Stranger in a Strange Land' up to them, but I'll be ready to discuss it with them if they'd like.
  • Sailing Alone Around the World - I very much wish I'd read this when I was younger.  The story is entrancing and so is the idea of finding grand adventure.  If they're interested, I'll follow up with 'A Voyage for Madmen'.  
  • Historical Fiction - Especially historical fiction set in United States.  I'm thinking about some of the great stories like 'Gone With the Wind' but I'd be flexible.  There is no better way to immerse a reader into a different world than with good fiction.  In theory, you could teach all of American history this way but I'm not sure what that list would look like.
  • Meditations, Analects, Proverbs - There is great benefit in dealing with bite sized philosophy.  Sometimes it comes out trite, but some well grounded bits of wisdom will always come in handy.  
  • Poetics - The book from Aristotle.  There may be no better way to understand how stories are told than through the words of the Scholar.  
Oh, and many more, I'm sure.

If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.

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