Aldous Huxley: Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited
Another prescient futurist story with accompanying non-fiction analysis by the author. More essential reading for thinking about post-modern life.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Quirky, funny, maddening, life-affirming, brutally honest, insightful, self-indulgent, clear-eyed--like every human, full of contradictions and wonderful lessons.
Carolyn Jessop: Escape
Harrowing. An important book about radical fundamentalism's--not just the Mormon version's--treatment of women.
Charlotte Joko Beck: Everyday Zen: Love & Work
A practical guide to practicing in your everyday life. Like all good instructors, Beck makes it seem easy, but reminds you that it takes work.
Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451: A Novel
The sin of bookburning writ large. Think it can't happen here? It already does.
Eldon Jay Epp: Junia: The First Woman Apostle
A scholarly, textual criticism approach to the modern mistranslation of the female Latin name Junia as a spurious male Latin name Junias, depriving Junia of her apostleship. Very well reasoned, if a little dense. Read Pederson first as an introduction.
Candace B. Pert: Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine
Sometimes a little flaky but definitely on the groundbreaking curve of the biochemical nature of emotions.
George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
And after you read this, read the text of FISA and the Patriot Act. Compare and contrast.
Mark Kurlansky: Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library Chronicles)
An interesting mini-history of the way politics has distorted religion, and and vice-versa, to justify institutionalized violence (war and capital punishment).
bell hooks: Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom
An essential guide for any teacher, in any classroom to make learning mutual, participatory, vibrant, exciting, and above all, liberating.
Kathleen Norris: The Cloister Walk
A beautiful meditation on not just the lessons of devoting oneself to God, but how that kind of devotion serves the larger community.
Carl Sagan: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
"Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which every one in himself calleth religion" -Thomas Hobbes This is Sagan's expert plea for science's explanation of the world around us as an antidote to ignorance and superstition. Brilliant and eminently readable.
Rena Pederson: The Lost Apostle: Searching for the Truth About Junia
A for-the-general-reader look at Biblical criticism, translation, and scholarship, and how cultural influences shape it, using the case study of the first woman apostle, Junia. Great introduction to the subject.
Stewart Burns: To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Mission to Save America: 1955-1968
Deeply inspiring account of MLK's dedication to using non-violence in his leadership of the Civil Rights movement.
Robert M. Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Wow, I was so not ready for this the first time, fresh out of college. It makes so much more sense now. And does it ever. What an amazing rumination on what makes a good life, as well as on the snares of scholarship.