A few weeks ago I told you about my three favorite novels. With the cold weather coming for those of us in the northern hemisphere, I would highly recommend that you grab a good book, your choice of hot beverage, and snuggle in for the approaching cold weather! Or, if you are in the southern hemisphere, you may need some good beach reading!
If you are the type that likes to branch out beyond novels, I have several favorite non-fiction, journalistic-type books that I would like to recommend to you.
The first is a book written by Kentucky author, Eric Reece, entitled Lost Mountain: A year in the vanishing wilderness. Reece spent a year traveling to Lost Mountain, one of the many mountains in Eastern Kentucky which has been devastated by the effects of strip mining. He documents the life and death of the mountain as well as the people who live on and near the mountain. He also gives a historical context for strip mining to help folks like me–who do not even know that this is still going on–understand some of the complex issues surrounding strip mining and coal production and use in the United States. Reece doesn’t only present the problem, but he also asserts some solutions. The highly engaging and educational book is one that will keep you thinking for a long time afterwards.
The spirit catches you and you fall down by Anne Fadiman, is best summed up by its sub-title: “A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures”. Fadiman was a social worker in Merced, California, who worked with little Lia Lee and her family after she was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Fadiman’s book oscillates between the true story of culture clash that tragically affects Lia and her family and the history of the Hmong people both in Asia and America. This is a bit of a slower read, but it is well worth the time it takes. You can read an excert from the beginning of the book here.
The last book I will recommend today is one that helps bring a great deal of understanding to a very often misunderstood contemporary issue. A history of Christian-Muslim relations by Hugh Goddard takes a look at various encounters between Christians and Muslims over the centuries. Unlike other books I have read on the topic, this one goes beyond the doctrinal differences to show some of the roots–the history–of those docrtines. Goddard explores how various encounters between Christians and Muslims have shaped each of the two religious histories, and it is through understanding this history, that we can better understand some contemporary issues we face today.
I hope you will take some time to read one of these books, or one of the ones I recommended in “chapter one“. If you do read one, or have read any of these, I would love to hear from you. Happy reading!