Best Books: ReaganGirl’s List

My favorite books are those which leave me changed and better than before.

I seem to always have my pointy nose poked into some kind of material that requires eyesight and the ability to track visually left to right.  That includes piano sheet music, text material on the Internet (which also requires the ability to scroll up and down while you track left to right, and point and click, of course) and books, scads of books.  I teach a Sunday School class so I have read all or parts of the books in the Old Testament.  I read the Book of Mormon as a daily practice.  If you include the other standard works of scripture, that in itself accounts for a butt-load of books.  I am a special educator and I teach all academic subjects to my students.  So I have read books about teaching literacy to children with special needs.  The same is true for other subjects like math and science.  I have read books about assessment, the RTI process (educators will know all about that), as well as uncounted articles and Internet stories about scientific findings related to the cognitive and social development of students like mine.  Storytime in my classroom is my personal favorite time of the day, so if you include the stories read during Summer school in the count of delightful and whimical children’s tales, they alone number over 200.  The books used for guided reading in my classroom, science magazines and texts, and other supplemental material probably numbers upwards of 1000.  I have read about 7 or 8  required texts related to my Master’s studies.  In the accounting of my reading for the year 2010, a miracle reveals itself, I have read well over a thousand books, articles, stories and songs, and those have been composed of millions and millions of words.  I can accomplish by reading that for which my mind lacks the patience in counting; the comprehension of millions and millions of anything.

Reading is one of the formative enterprises that shapes one’s worldview and opinions.  Beyond that, reading challenges the creature, if the material is valid and of good literary quality, and brings about personal and intellectual growth.  And the reading of great and true material helps to protect an individual from deception and oppression, as the infusion of knowledge informs one about human history and human nature.  My favorite books are not those which expound educational methdology or rules of thumb.  They are not those which have high interest in current events or popular culture.  My favorite books are those which promote my sense of self and help to shape my nature and purpose, as well as my opinions and actions.  My favorite books are those which, when I close the back cover, leave me changed and better than before.

America Alone by Mark Steyn

This is Mark Steyn’s painfully funny and scathing assessment of the damage done by the Islamification of Eastern nations, Europe and Canada.  And it warns that America alone will stand as a last bastion of theological and cultural liberty if current demographic trends, such as those in France where French culture is dying through plummeting birth numbers and social apathy, while being replaced by large, un-Westernized Muslim families, continue.

The American Patriot’s Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb

This is a daily reader which touches upon American history, founding principles and the philosophy of individual liberty.  It is designed as an almanac but it is hard to put down and easy to finish in a few days.

Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation by Ronald Reagan

This is one of the most important books which looks at the effects of permissive abortion laws, duplicitous statutes related to “reproductive rights”, and the moral downturn that has followed Roe v. Wade in 1973.

In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security by Thomas Tancredo

If you are one of those who thinks that illegal immigrants are people seeking a better life in America you better read this.  Tom Tancredo pulls no punches in describing the effects, past, present and future, of unchecked illegal immigration across America’s southern borders.  This book reveals the ugly truths behind the lack of assimilation by illegal immigrants; why they refuse to assimilate into American culture, and what their intentions are for the future.

Preparing the Elders of Israel to Save the Constitution by Steve M. Thomas

This is an interesting book which draws parallels from current events related to the degradation of checks and balances in our three pronged republic, and the legislative and cultural efforts to weaken the Constitution of the United States.  It is a book which seeks to inform present and future leaders, both civic and religious, how to combat the ursupation of individual liberty by those who would prefer the rule of men over the rule of law.

The Pocket Constitution of the United States of America

Read it, several times.  And will read it again in 2011.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A grim, post-apocalyptic story about how the survival instincts of a father serve to preserve the last thing worth preserving in a ruined world, his child.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini

This book leaves you breathless at the end after taking you through an odyssey of friendship, warfare, tragedy and hope through the experiences of an Afghan family.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Working and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

If you want to increase your people skills, confidence, stress management skills and personal influence, read these classics.

The Broken Heart by Bruce C. Hafen

This book traces the process of healing and essential growth that comes through the immutable, and very difficult, conditions of mortality.  Hafen focuses on the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, not just to compensate for and repair damage done through sin, but also of how heart breaking occurrences provide the opportunity for people to become more like The Savior.

Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson

Believing in Christ is not sufficient.  We must believe His words, especially those which tell that we can be made clean by his blood.  We must believe that we can be saved; that He will offer full salvation when we have done everything within our power to repent and improve ourselves.  Works are important but His grace completes the saving process. And there is no such thing as perfection without Jesus Christ.

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., Melba Colgrove, Ph.D. and Peter McWilliams

This one got me through a very difficult, personal time.

The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

I read this little book, booklet really, from time to time.  Loving is an art, that must be honed through an arduous and, often painful, process of learning and risk-taking.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This Christian classic relates, somehow, to the current efforts by certain political players, to place mankind into  spiritual and economic  bondage.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Reading this little book is one of my many Christmas traditions.  It may be, with the exception of some choice scriptural accounts, the most powerful tale of redemption written.

I made a mistake about two years ago when I created an account with a certain online bookseller.  It is a little dangerous for this reading junkie to make buying a book just a matter of 5 or 6 mouse clicks.  But I have my list for 2011, and I am ready to work out my eye muscles yet again with thousands, maybe millions, of scans, left to right.

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