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melanie81's avatar

What books should I read? (see details below)

Asked by melanie81 (794points) January 15th, 2010

I’ve never been much of a reader – but I want to change that. I’m looking primarily for a list of about 5 (preferably) non-fiction books to get started on:

-Politics. I always have such a hard time arguing my case in a convo about politics. Basically, I’ve hated even stepping foot into the politics world because I find that it’s always skewed one way or another, depending on which “side” you’re reading. I’d love to find a book that briefly discusses the major issues of today. I’m also a HUGE Obama fan (have been since he was my senator in Illinois) – not to start up any political drama here, but I would love to read up on his current activities from a FAIR source. I just want to read it as black and white – obviously a current events website would probably suit my needs best for this. Any suggestions?

-Relationships. Don’t ask me why, but I love a good/funny/honest book on the intricacies of boy meets girl. I think it’s fascinating, the whole social/psychological side of it. To give you an idea of my “style”, I absolutely loved He’s Just Not That Into You and Why Men Love Bitches. I couldn’t put those books down!

-How to make the most out of life. i.e. The Secret. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve only watched the “movie”, but absolutely loved the message. I’ve heard that Eckhart Tolle is great.

Sorry for the loooong list – but now that you have an idea of what’s in my head, can anyone make some good suggestions? Can’t wait to dive into this!

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22 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

Obama has a book out called Dreams From My Father. You might be interested in reading that. I wouldn’t recommend a book by a politician as a great way to learn about how politics work, however. I’ve heard politicians (like Sarah Palin) rarely write their own books. What types of policies are you interested in? You should look for books / reading on these specific subjects first.

You really don’t give enough info about yourself – your preferences, interests – for me to comfortably make recommendations. What are you trying to get out of life? What do you think you aren’t getting? I can’t help you with relationship books at all as I never read any.

Based on the info you do provide, you could check out which is a place where you can create a virtual shelf of all the books you are reading or plan to read or have read, interact with other readers with similar interests, and discover new books you’re interested in. I joined and found that showing the world what I’m reading is a great motivator for continuing to read.

You could also check out – a fun site that asks you to enter the last book you read and then provides recommendations for similar reading that you might enjoy.

You could also talk to your local public or university librarian. I recently picked up the reading bug again, after many years of reading only textbooks, and have rediscovered the library. I love it! You can borrow books for free, have them delivered from all over the state to the location closest to you. The librarians sometimes have good recommendations.

HungryGuy's avatar

“Voyage From Yesteryear” by James Hogan.

“Free to Choose” by Milton and Rose Friedman.

“Javascript, The Definitive Guide” by David Flanagan.

“Microsoft Train Simulator Official Strategies & Secrets” by David Chong, Rick Selby, and Richard Wayne Smith.

lilikoi's avatar

@HungryGuy Only 1 of the 4 look relevant….

@melanie81 There is no black and white in politics….nearly never. A good place to start might be NPR, though their coverage is not always great they are usually entertaining.

filmfann's avatar

Jon Stewart’s America (the book). A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction.

HungryGuy's avatar

@filmfann – “Democracy Inaction” ROFL! Is that a typo? Or is that really the title of the book?

@lilikoi – Actually, though it’s fiction, I think “Voyage From Yesteryear” is moderately relveant as it explores a hypothetical utopian political/economic system. The other two, yeah, were kind’a tongue-in-cheek :-)

BhacSsylan's avatar

I can’t really talk about the politics or relationship advice, but as far as making the most out of life, I’d suggest some forays into philosophy. It can be a little heavy, but depending on the philosophy you like you can usually find good examples. Do you have any ideas as to what you’d want to read in that regard? I admit I’m not sure about The Secret, I’m opposed to the book for a few reasons that aren’t on topic here, but what about the message did you like? If you give me some details I can try and match a philosophy, it’s a bit of a hobby of mine.

@HungryGuy Yes, that’s definitely the title. If you’ve seen the daily show, you’ll know, but assuming you haven’t, Jon Stewart is a comedian. One of the best, really. Don’t take that to mean the book is any less accurate, however.

CMaz's avatar

Life with Picasso

Covers it all.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@HungryGuy Unfortunately, a huge amount of Sci-Fi explores social systems, that’s many times the point for some writers. I think @melanie81 is looking for something more to the point, so to speak, such as a discourse on politics. Otherwise I could give a list as long as my arm for fiction books on these topics.

Anon_Jihad's avatar

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
1984 – George Orwell
Both use fiction to explain their points

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

dawn2k1's avatar

Well< The only thing I could ask is Have you tried Reading True Crime Novels? Especially By Anne Rule, Those are some very interesting books and they also. Tell How the legal system works. Really Great Reads there. Hope I’ve Helped some.

filmfann's avatar

@HungryGuy That is the actual title.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Ron Boston’s The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition

evandad's avatar

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

frdelrosario's avatar

Your life will be forever improved — and you’ll also learn when to be “creatively unimproved” — by reading The Peter Principle by Dr. Laurence J. Peter.

Zillions of people love Dilbert for the way that comic strip portrays the workplace, but Dr. Peter wrote all that down decades before cartoonist Scott Adams experienced it.

LostInParadise's avatar

The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Self-Insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself by David Dunning has received great reviews.

lilikoi's avatar

@HungryGuy Is it anything like 1984 by Orwell / Brave New World ? The cover kinda reminded me of Ender’s Game and I just assumed it was sci fi. Sounds interesting!

HungryGuy's avatar

@lilikoi – It’s sci-fi. But it’s nothing like 1984 / Brave New World. Orwell’s worlds are totalitatian dystopias. Voyage is about a human colony on another world, but the colonists rejected the pre-packaged economic-political system intended for them, and instead created a utopian money-less society (automation and robots provide all your needs, so work if you want to, or don’t if you don’t want to). You want a new pair of boots or a new stereo? Just just order them from your computer and the robots will make and deliver them to you. You want a job or to do something fulfilling? Just volunteer somewhere, or just do it on your own.

Earth sends a second colony ship a generation later, with a full military force with the intent to impose “democracy and a market economy” (i.e. destroy the freedom and utopia they gave themselves). That’s just the beginnig of the story, so I haven’t given anything away. The rest of the story deals with the ensuing conflict…

It’s pertinent to the question because, by the end of the story, you’ll have a pretty good idea how such a leisure society might work and it’s good and bad points.

melanie81's avatar

Thanks everyone!! This is definitely enough to get me started. Actually just went to the library today and checked out a couple Jon Stewart books (thx @filmfann ) and one of Mitch Albom’s books (Five People You Meet in Heaven). Tuesdays with Morrie was one of my faves in college, so I thought I’d give him a try again.

Some others on my “list” are Fast Food Nation (Skinny Bitch was another favorite of mine, so this is right down my alley), Dreams From My Father (thx @lilikoi ), The Kind Diet, and The Power of Now. Unfortunately they were all checked out…but I’ll get to them eventually.

Looking forward to checking out Shelfari and Bookseer…

plethora's avatar

From a guy who has been an avid reader since he was 6….you are going about it entirely wrong. If you read what we tell you to read, you will hate it. Go to Barnes and Noble and browse. Browse as long as you want and if you dont find a book you like, thats ok. Go back another day and do the same thing….and keep doing it until you find something that YOU enjoy reading. If your attn is not captured by the end of the first page, that is not one you want to start with. It must capture you on the first page. It is not a matter of what you OUGHT to read, but of what you LIKE to read. AFTER you find you like to read, then you can try some things you ought to read…..but not before. And read about 20 or more books that you really really enjoy….at the very least.

If you find you get bored with a book, put it down. There is no requirement to finish it. Find another one that you like.

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