The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Find in catalogThis book was dreamy, stylized, and heartfelt. When I read it I felt that I experienced a magical and humanistic realm that expressed itself gently, despite some truly dramatic moments. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction and the veil of magic that intersects with our lives.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Find in catalogThe classic book, Lord of the Flies, tells a story about a group of English school boys stranded on a deserted island. While the boys initially enjoy their freedom, tensions soon break them apart. What seemed like an adventurous tale of boys becoming men quickly turns into a horrifying revelation of how quickly humans can become monsters.

While the book isn’t very long, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Once I started I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it!

The Last Summer by John Hough, Jr.

Find in catalogThe Last Summer, by John Hough, Jr. is the perfect book to read on a lazy summer day at the beach.

The love story is brilliantly told; it will remind you of the longing and the desperate chances we’ve all experienced. Told from many perspectives, this story effortlessly transports the reader to those times in life the define us.

Set in the 1960’s, the writer effortlessly transports his readers to that era, and lets them live daily life there, along with the characters in the book. The only way to truly travel in time is to remember. This book is proof.

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

Find in catalogA historical novel set in 1740s New York about a mysterious, adventurous, and naive young Englishman who shows up with a bill for a thousand pounds, causing consternation about how (and whether) to pay it to him, and what he would use such a sum for. The description of the time and place are fascinating, and though the writing is sometimes needlessly challenging in the early chapters, the story was fascinating enough to keep me hooked. The protagonist finds himself amid political factions and unattainable love interests that complicate his pursuit of his overall goal, a goal that he keeps carefully to himself.

Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman

Find in catalogAdventures Beyond the Body, by William Buhlman, is part journal of unusual experiences, part theoretical speculation and part how-to manual for those who want to explore.

Out of body experiences have been around as long as humans, and accounts of them appear in all cultures. In our times, mental health and medical personnel report that they are very commonly reported by many patients. Buhlman shares some of his own journeys, and his methods for reaching the state. He also speculates on what this state of being might imply about the nature of our world.

This book makes a good complement to the writings of Robert Monroe. Buhlman offers a slightly different take on the nature of the experience, and some other methods for going there. In Fact Buhlman and Monroe worked closely together.

If you are in the mood for an expanding, thought-provoking exploration of the nature of us and our universe, this book is a great start.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Find in catalogMarie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy” is a companion book to her best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I chose to read this book because I am still in the process of tidying up a couple of rooms in my house that were never really organized when I moved into my house two years ago. I’ve wanted to put them in order for a long time, but I’ve procrastinated, and I thought this book would inspire me to tackle this project. It has inspired me not only to organize those rooms, but also other parts of my house. I can’t wait to get started! I recommend this book to people who want to learn simple ways to go through their belongings so that they keep the items that really matter to them.

Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem

“Amnesia Moon” by Jonathan Lethem is a story about a man who isn’t sure who he is what has happened to bring him to his current situation in life. In other words, he is all of us.

When the story begins, a young man named Chaos finds himself living in small town in Wyoming where modern life has disintegrated. He can’t remember what happened to cause modern life to collapse. When he asks others what happened, no seems to be sure and they don’t want to talk about it.

On a road trip to California, Chaos discovers that the more closely he examines his world, or even himself, the more it disintegrates before him. As his exploration unfolds, Chaos adapts.

The story bears an allegorical relationship to our lives. We all find ourselves in the world, with no certainty about where we came from or where we will go after this experience is over. And we live our daily lives with a sense of identity that is fragile and constantly changing.

This is Chaos’ walk in the world, and his story is our story, a story of adapting and accepting.

Everyman by Philip Roth

Find in catalogPublished in 2006, Everyman is Philip Roth’s lamentation on death. While fiction, its observations on aging ring true. My favorite line: “Old age isn’t a battle; old age is a massacre.” Roth’s prolific writing career recently reached its end. I appreciate him creating this story about one man’s life as warning of what lies ahead for us all.

Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible by Tim Gunn

Find in catalogTim Gunn’s Fashion Bible is a very engaging read. You might expect by the title that the book talks mostly about Tim’s fashion rules, but although it does sprinkle in his fashion rules and personal anecdotes, it’s mostly a very breezy gallop through the history of clothes. What did the wrap dress evolve from? (Togas.) Why did simple, empire-waist dressed emerge during the Regency? (A backlash to the ostentatious gowns of the French monarchy.) Did men ever wear corsets, or skirts? (Yes!) There’s a ton of information about the whys and wherefores of hemlines, bustles, designs, and designers, and a ton of great photos that perfectly complement the text, like a discussion of a Windsor knot, and then a photo (along with the tidbit that it was named for the Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne.) Fun fashion history overview!

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Find in catalogA funny, poignant, and creative novel about a twelve-year-old boy who looks much older, the Willy-Wonka-esque selection of children for the inaugural spaceflight of a Chinese rocket, being stranded and alone in space, and the importance of being a dad.

My nine-year-old and I both liked it so much that I took it with me when out of town at a conference, and at one point read him a few chapters over the phone while walking along the streets at dusk. (The book is probably aimed at kids a few years older, but not much older.) Cosmic manages to be zany and thoughtful, and has a story that’s refreshingly unique – neither magically fantastical nor grittily realistic. It’s one of the best kids’ novels I’ve read in a while, and given its themes of “dadliness,” it’s a great book to read to one’s child! [Copied from my Goodreads review]