What to read in 2015

bookshelfBecause reading tastes are so individual, I don’t really like to give suggestions in so broad a scale; but these are the books that I am going to / have read in 2015, and maybe something on here will strike your fancy, or resonate with you; you can check back with me if you have read them, and what you thought! (Leave feedback in the “comment” section) They are in no particular order.

1. “Unbroken”, Laura Hillenbrand

2. “A.D. 30”, Ted Dekker

3. “An Unbroken Bond”, Edie Lutnick

4. “Science and Human Behavior”, B.F. Skinner

5. “The Lake”, Banana Yoshimoto

6. “A New Psychology of Women: Gender, Culture and Ethnicity”, Hilary M. Lips

7. “The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living”, Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV

8. “Around the Next Corner”, Elizabeth Wrenn

9. “Beyond Freedom and Dignity”, B.F. Skinner

10. “Amrita”, Banana Yoshimoto

11. “When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace”, Neale Donald Walsch

12. “Soul Detox”, Craig Groeschel

13. “Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution”, Mary Eberstadt

14. “Hear the Wind Sing”, “Pinball, 1973”, and “A Wild Sheep Chase”:  (aka: “The Trilogy of the Rat”), Haruki Murakami

15. “Bolivie”, Alfonso Gumucio Dagron (essay)

16. “Death with Interruptions” (aka: Death in Intervals), Jose Saramago

17. “Equalizing Christmas”, Vassilis Steriadis

18. “Letter from Dublin,” Vicky Theodoropoulou

19. “Case Studies in Abnormal Behavior”, 8th Edition; Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver

20. “Finders Keepers”, Stephen King

21. “The Way of Serenity”, Fr. Jonathan Morris






On how if we lived in a peaceable society, I wouldn’t care whether every single one of you carried a gun.


“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …”
Samuel Adams
quoted in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, August 20, 1789, “Propositions submitted to the Convention of this State”

I believe in small government.  That being said, you might assume that I am a conservative (which I am not); and that I am definitely not a liberal (which, also, I am not).

How can that be??

How can someone be neither a conservative, nor a liberal?

Is this an inability for me to commit to something?  To allow myself to be “pigeon-holed” or labeled? Or something more sinister?

Like, having freedom of thought?

Look, let’s admit it: not a one of us is TRULY a conservative, nor TRULY a liberal, at least not in the sense that Fox News or CNN would feel 100% comfortable giving any of us an open mic, and then walking away.

I am both a bleeding-heart liberal (I believe in providing enough tax money to run excellent programs to provide for, and support, people with disabilities, addictions, or the widows and orphans among us) and a fiscal conservative (let’s shut down those “programs” that have proven themselves unworthy of our tax dollars or where corruption has been shown to siphon off enough money to run a small island country).

I am both pro-life and pro-support of single and adoptive moms: let’s stop pretending that full-scale education and access to contraception has reduced the abortion rate, because it has not. Let’s make sure that all children – whether in the womb still or already born – have access to proper health care and food and shelter and education, because we are the wealthiest nation in the Western world, and if the tax rates were equalized among classes (percentages at the federal and state levels; short-term welfare for those who truly need it – let’s say five years?; and work programs to get able-bodied and -minded people working), we would have enough tax dollars to do all of it.

The gun thing?

If we lived in a peaceable society, where those with mental health issues or sociopathic tendencies were cared for, and truly looked after, I wouldn’t care if every single one of you was packing heat.

But we don’t.

The drug trafficking across state lines is out of hand: the meth problem alone has so overwhelmed state and local agencies that they are left scrambling to follow the breadcrumbs back to the labs in rural areas.  Urban murder rates are high, and climbing higher.  Domestic abuse assaults and murders are truly only being affected by grassroots crisis intervention programs on the local level, where police are well-trained to intervene in domestic assaults, and equipped to immediately arrest them; and then the DA can prosecute the offenders. Neglected, abused, and assaulted children are using their parents’ weapons against them, are committing violence because they have seen it become the norm.

A majority of these deaths are being caused by the prevalence of cheap – and easy to come by – handguns.

Don’t talk to me of spoons or pencils or cars, and how they equate to guns – that’s nonsense, and you and I both know it.

If we were truly a peaceable nation, I wouldn’t care if every single one of you was packing heat.

We don’t live in Revolutionary War times; hell, we don’t even live in Civil War times anymore.

So why people have multiple weapons in a single household – it’s beyond me.  Maybe the level of fear that our violent society has instilled in the average suburban father (or mother) is the cause.

I would love to believe that Socrates would appreciate the level of truth-telling that gets spread around the news agency…that freedom would have inculcated love, and understanding of our fellow man, and that would have turned our hearts towards each other. But you and I both know that isn’t true. Why do we need multiple Law & Order and CSI shows? Because our overall society is so incredibly violent that they never run out of ideas.

It is lack of love for our fellow man – even our own families – that has bred such violence. And only the reverse can change that. Only the realization that we are all connected, that if one of us is abused, neglected, or diseased with hate – that all of us are infected: only THAT truth can turn anything around. Fear creates separation, creates hate, creates violence and contempt, creates murder and death.

So until we are a truly peaceable nation, I would prefer if every single one of you didn’t have one. single. gun.