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Book List
07-07-2009, 05:47 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2009 06:34 PM by PatPar.)
Post: #1
Book List
Please list any books you own or have read which you have found to be enlightening as well as the author's name.

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
The Art of Thinking - Vincent Ryan Ruggerio
Culture, Communication, and Conflict - Gary R Weaver
Objectivity and Its Other - Wolfgang Nater
The Foundation Novels - Issac Asimov
Steps in Self-Knowledge - Leddy and Randolph Schmelig
The Heart of the World - Ian Baker
The Once and Future King - T.H. White


John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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07-07-2009, 06:29 PM
Post: #2
RE: Book List
A slight correction: the last book on your list should be titled "The Once and Future King". I read that so long ago I can barely remember it, but I did love all that King Arthur stuff. My favorites were actually by Mary Stewart in which Merlin was the main character. They are, in order: The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Wicked Day.

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07-07-2009, 08:27 PM
Post: #3
RE: Book List
Enlightening? As follows.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. A bit of honesty, in case you hadn't noticed, I have not mastered the principles of this book. But considering that this book was demonized from the pulpit (at least in my church) as shallow materialistic crap, it's surprisingly insightful. It just talks about what people want, and what motivates people, in the simplest terms.

The last three Ender's Game books (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind) by Orson Scott Card. Yes, Ender's Game and the entire Ender's Shadow series are much better novels. But these three books have a beautiful notion of ethics that I simply adore. The hierarchy of strangers, and the ultimate conclusions made about the hierarchy in the last book, are a fantastic philosophical motivation.

For that matter, the entire Dune series by Frank Herbert (you can ignore the new ones by Kevin Anderson.) Like the Ender's Game series this was a look into the far future and the eventual ethical evolution of the human race, but while Orson Scott Card saw a brighter future (though not without problems,) Frank Herbert envisioned an immensely complex, cynical ethical monster. I always believe in looking at something from as many perspectives as possible, and this is the counterpoint to the Ender quartet.

The Prince by Machiavelli. Ignore what you've heard about this book, it's simply not true. Machiavelli did not idealize a vicious tyrant as the ultimate ruler. This is actually a very practical book. In fact, practicality is what makes it so interesting. Previous writers of political philosophy had been idealists, talking about what SHOULD be. Plato idealized his Republic, Aristotle disagreed with Plato and gave his ideals. Philosopher after philosopher gave their opinion on how man SHOULD live. Then Machiavelli came along and said, basically, "That's all well and good, but this is how man IS living." The book's not quite as relevant in the age of democracy as it was in the age of monarchy, but it's still a practical guide to what people look for from their government, and from themselves.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. You may ask why I'm including a children's book (albiet an incredibly well-written children's book) on this list. Simple. The Phantom Tollbooth is all about perspective, idealism, and fanaticism. Every single character in the book (except for Rhyme and Reason themselves) is a fanatic, and a fanatic who has a perspective wildly different from Milo, the main character. Through his entire fantastic journey Milo meets people who tell him he's wrong. Why is he wrong? Because the fundamental presuppositions he holds dear simply no longer apply. The fun part is that the characters who tell him these things are also wrong, and it's only as Milo gives up his own presuppositions and starts looking at things from other perspectives that he finds the truth, somewhere in the middle. A good lesson for everyone. Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz have sort of the same message, but the Phantom Tollbooth just does it better.

Network. This is actually a movie, not a book. It is the greatest movie ever made. It should be required viewing before you are ever allowed to watch (or read) the news.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. The finest critique of christian culture imaginable, from one of their own. While Lewis (obviously) never admits (or likely even perceives) the falsehood of the whole faith, he sees with a clear, critical eye the flaws in religion, and how these flaws can be exploited.

Beyond that, any book or movie that forces you to alter your perceptions, that forces you to adopt a fantastical point of view, and that pulls you out of your comfort zone. The mind tends to get stuck in regular patterns, and books and movies can help to pull the mind out of those patterns so that it can search for truth in a relatively unbiased fashion.

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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07-07-2009, 11:18 PM
Post: #4
RE: Book List
(07-07-2009 06:29 PM)MerryAtheist Wrote:  A slight correction: the last book on your list should be titled "The Once and Future King". I read that so long ago I can barely remember it, but I did love all that King Arthur stuff. My favorites were actually by Mary Stewart in which Merlin was the main character. They are, in order: The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Wicked Day.

I should add (in response to your PM, PatPar) that the Mary Steward novels are not particularly enlightening, just a very fun read.

As for books that opened new vistas of thought:

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