–by Neal Lemery
June is busting out all over, and I’m getting caught up on my yard work somewhat, so it is time for some precious hours for some reading. Here’s my list of great books I’ve read in the last year that I highly recommend, in no particular order:
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, by Melinda Gates. Well written, thought provoking, and inspiring.
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari. An anthropological-psychological book of who we are, where we came from, and where we might be going.
- The Second Mountain, by David Brooks. I like the first two thirds of this book, which fired me up about building community and reminding me that we are here to love one another and help each other live meaningful lives.
- The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose, by Oprah Winfrey. Inspiring, motivating, and stimulating.
- Leadership in Turbulent Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A look at four American presidents, their challenges and how they achieved greatness and led the nation through challenging times. There is much in these lessons for today.
- The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells. Lots of information, and some very challenging predictions with hope.
- The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer. New historical information and analysis for me, teaching much about where our country goes from here.
- Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, by Mary Robinson. A thoughtful look at a compelling issue and challenge.
- Artemis, by Andy Weir, the author of Mars. Science fiction that offers a thoughtful look at who we are, and where we are going as a species and culture.
- Becoming, by Michelle Obama. A very thoughtful and insightful book about a courageous and talented woman who has much to offer our country. No matter what your politics may be, there are wise lessons to be found in her story.
- Art Matters, by Neil Gaiman. One of our best fiction writers takes a hard look at the role of art in our culture, and how it changes lives.
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants,by Robin Wall Kimmerer. A native healer, botanist and professor, the author has feet in several worlds as she educates us on the role of plants in our lives, culture, and medicine.
- Educated, by Tara Westover. A compelling and inspiring memoir of growing up and pulling herself up by her own bootstraps.
- The Tide: The Science and Stories Behind the Greatest Force on Earth, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. A British scientist delves into a surprisingly little studied phenomenon.
- Exit West, by Hamid Mohsin. A fantasy dealing with immigration, refugees, and cultural awareness. Not one of my usual genres, but I found this engaging and thought provoking; a new way to look at a challenging issue.
- No god but God: The Ongoing Evolution and Future of Islam, by Reza Aslan. Very thoughtful and informative, and a delightful read.
- The River of Consciousness, by Oliver Sacks. His last book, offering insights and new ideas, written in his usual compelling way.
- Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country, edited by Alan L. Contreras. An engaging anthology about one of my favorite places to experience nature and solitude. I’ve just started this, but it is a sensory delight and promises to be a delightful read. Profits benefit the Friends of Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And, poetry and illustrations by Ursula LeGuin.