For you continuing education, here are Five books to read before you die:
5) The Holy Bible, go on, give it a try. I say this not to convert you, although if you are converted via one reading, that's on you. I say this because this one book has caused more passionate feelings in the Western world over the last thousand years than you would think it merits if you really read it. Is it worth killing people over? The Crusades? What about the guy in front of Wal-mart, trying to save you from your self, for Hell. What is he talking about? Not to mention allusions in Western Literature, famous speeches, even our own Constitution. Having basic biblical knowledge makes you well versed. I recommend the original King James Version, for it's poetry. It is the only translation where you singular is differentiated from you plural by use of the older forms: Thee and Thou. If you find the style too hard to grind through, the New International Version, published in the 1970's is a standard English. If even that is too hard, you can try the paraphrase versions such as "The Message" or "The American Standard." Beware a paraphrase loses more and more meaning with each subsequent dumbing down. I suggest once you get the jist of what the verse is, you go back and check it against a well done translation. Richard Lattimore, famous for translating the Iliad of Homer, has done a superb translation of the New Testament. The only bible translation I would particularly urge you to avoid is the "Amplified Bible." For reasons unclear to me, the translator has chosen to "amplify" arbitrary words which torques the original sensibility of the piece.
The whole book can be broken down into 5 pages a day if you want to take a year to read it, and trust me no one will send you to hell for skipping past some of the genealogy. Except may be a fundamentalist. . . just kidding.
4) Miss Manners, i.e. Judith Martin. Everyone should read this book. I am so frustrated by the lack of common politeness in today's society. What a shame employees at grocery stores need to be trained to say your name. They read it off my check, stumbling on the unfamiliar syllables because it is not a Western name. Why not get to know me with warmth and candor? Authentic relating rests on common politeness. "Keeping it real," just an excuse to be hurtful, mean-spirited or self-centered. We've had enough of that thank you. Surprise me with a kind word.
3) The Spell of the Sensuous, By David Abrams. This book is not porn. Sorry. This book is about connection, or re-connection if you will, with our world. The forest, the wild world, nature. This book will change how you view life. I trust you will come away with profound hope. There is so much more to be had than a job you don't like, difficult spouses, television, fighting with your children. The body craves an experience. We don't need to entrance ourselves, hypnotized with adrenaline sports or overweight with heavy fats and carbs. We can just be. Don't just do something, stand there, and you will understand more than you ever knew you could.
2) Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy. This sweet short novel by Thomas Hardy defines romance, no not the Hollywood/Bollywood type where lovers are star crossed inept. This story shows two people who actually grow, mature and chance in wonderfully subtle prose. This book has underlying motif and plot. It's not predictable like pulpy best sellers, it's not silly like bodice ripping romances, its simply lovely. A delight to read.
1) Non violent communication, by Marshall Rosenberg. Read this book as soon as possible. It will free you from conventional wisdom forever. You don't have to believe the book is channeled from the divine in order to enjoy it whole heartedly. However, if you do take heed to the information inside, you will find yourself getting along better with everyone - especially yourself.