Friday, August 19, 2011

End of Summer Booklist

Labor Day is just around the corner, and so perhaps you are looking for that one, last great book of the summer. I've read a few, and maybe one of them will appeal to you.

My wife, Irene Oudyk-Suk, is a couples and sex therapist ( One book she asks many of her clients to read (or watch on video) is Canadian therapist Sue Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.” The book is a popular and practical exposition of the new neuroscience of love. Her approach to therapy is based on John Bowlby's attachment theory, and is usually called Emotionally Focussed Therapy. Don't let the ten-dollar terms scare you, though. This is a very practical and readable book about committed relationships. If you want to figure out how love actually works, pick it up.

One book that has been making waves in Christian circles this summer is Rob Bell’s Love Wins. In this book Bell tries to explain why the heart of Christianity has to be the story of God’s grace, and how the heart of Christianity has nothing to do with eerie tales of hell and punishment. A noted Evangelical leader, his book has upset the status-quo apple cart. You’ll need to read it to make up your own mind, but I thought it was a great read.

My PHD is in Communication Theory. One question receiving a lot of attention in those circles is, “does use of electronic media effect how we think?” Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle argues that we have traded the world of ideas for one of “comforting, reassuring images, fantasies, slogans and a celebration of violence.” Stanislas Dehaene’s Reading and the Brain, looks at the issue from the perspective of neuroscience. Amazon just delivered Shane Hipps’ Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith. I haven't read it yet, but he asks what this all means for Christians who are, after all, supposed to be “people of the word.”

No summer reading list is complete without fiction to fall asleep by--or not! I’m a fantasy and science fiction buff, and really enjoyed reading bestselling George Martin’s A Game of Thrones. This summer I also found Robert Sawyer’s Hominids, which combines my interest in human evolution and sci-fi. Sawyer is easily Canada’s best known science fiction writer. With the upcoming provincial election in the air, I’ve also purchased Terry Fallis’ Best Laid Plans. This book, about the inner machinations of Canadian politics, was CBC Radio’s 2011 Canada Reads contest winner. I'll read it over Labor Day weekend in preparation for Ontario's upcoming provincial election.

Finally, a bit of a dream. I'm trying to talk Irene into retiring to a sailboat--at least for a few years. I'm not sure when we'd do that (I'm thinking soon, Irene wants to wait fifteen years!). But in the meantime, we should probably learn to sail! So I bought, and devoured The Sailing Bible: The Complete Guide for all Sailors. Living on a boat sounds like it could be a blast. Not much in there about being becalmed and swarmed by flies, which I hear is one of the occupational hazards of being out on the great lakes, at least. We'll have to see--maybe Irene and I will try sailing for a week next summer?

What late-summer good-reads would you add?

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