Recently I took advantage of some quarantine free time to rearrange a couple of my bookshelves (full disclosure, I was somewhat motivated to do this by Hillary Clinton’s recollection of Bill’s habitual book reorganizing in What Happened). While I was doing this, I came across several books that I believe are wholly excellent and worth reading, and wanted to give a few of them a brief shout-out.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This modern fantasy is an epic blend of ancient myth and modern life – almost like a dark Percy Jackson novel written for a more mature audience. Gaiman’s writing is engaging as always, constantly pulling you further into the story, and this book’s messages are a genuinely insightful reflection (maybe in some ways a condemnation) on the ways that modern American culture places value on things and ideas.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This book is beautiful, but it will break your heart. The Road is a suspenseful examination of a relationship of a father and son, and it peels away your preconceptions of what can and cannot be an act of love. This book is equally surprising and predictable at different points, but it’s always rewarding. McCarthy does a great job of making you feel every ounce of dread, sorrow, and hope that the characters feel.
The Politics of Jesus by John H. Yoder
This book is gonna have a pretty niche audience of readers who truly love it, but I highly recommend that any Christian or former-Christian who is even slightly interested in politics and social living give it a look. Yoder – one of America’s premier theologians of the 20th century – lays out an excellent case against modern Christendom, expertly using the chiefly the Gospel of Luke as a scalpel to cut away the cancers of empire, violence, and materialism from his beloved religion.
The Dark Lord Trilogy by Luceno & Stover
This is (as the title suggests) actually three books published together in one addition. These three books should definitely be read together though, as together they are an absolutely epic SciFi character study of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader.
- Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno
- Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
Now, I am a hardcore Star Wars fan, so I’m sure this appeals more to me than most. That being said, this books are truly great SciFi novels (especially Stover’s take on Revenge of the Sith), and any fan of the genre will truly enjoy them.
Golden State by Ben Winters
This dystopian novel is a fearful look forward at what the future could have in store for our society if our collective ability to trust and be trusted continues to erode away. Imagine a world that was nearly destroyed largely because the people could no longer (for legitimate and illegitimate reasons) trust institutions, and so the world responded by literally criminalizing even the whitest of lies.
American Nations by Colin Woodard
This book forever changed the way that I view America. Woodard provides a well-researched and documented history of the colonization and spreads (and declines) of civilizations on the North American continent. If you’ve ever felt that America is simply to large, to diverse, to conflicted, to effectively govern, this book will affirm that suspicion. Woodard goes through North America region by region and lays out exactly how the myth of “one unified American people, one American nation” is – and always been – a total fabrication.