Five Books I Recommended to a Non-Reader

This was my video topic for this week, but I decided that I’d better express myself through a written post.

I typically don’t recommend books. It doesn’t matter who is asking or why, but I’ve made exceptions to my rule over the last couple of years. The following is the most recent example.

Earlier this week a friend of mine told me he wanted to start reading in an effort to adopt more healthy habits. With all the things one can do with free time, I think reading would definitely qualify as a healthy habit. What did I do when he told me this? I took him to Half Price Books, of course! Not kidding.

The first thing I did when we reached the store was ask him what he enjoys reading. His response was anything that keeps his attention, he’s open to any topic. So I did the only thing I could do in that situation, I referred back to my own reading history. Kind of like your Google history in books. I came up with five books to tell him about.

Lone Survivor – Marcus Luttrell

No matter your position on war or the military, I’m well aware that nonfiction war books are not for everyone. But to say this book is only about war would be a disservice to Marcus Luttrell and every other man who died during the operation to save him and his fellow Navy SEALs. This book is about faith, family, survival, life and death, and yes, war. Most people living today will never know what it means to trust another person with your life and have them entrust you with theirs. The men described in this book are the best the United States has to offer, and their story is one to remember.

Unstoppable – Bill Nye

I’ve read a few hundred books during my lifetime, and this one (like I said here) is easily the best book I’ve read. It’s science. Another type of book that simply isn’t for everyone. But this book isn’t written for scientists. That would defeat the entire purpose. The book takes on climate change, one of those topics that people seem to want to give up on or kick down the road. But not Bill Nye, nope. The reason this book holds so much weight with me is because of the optimism. Bill Nye is part of the generation currently in power. It’s his generation that has moved technology further than ever before, but it’s this same generation that has gotten us to this point in the climate change debate. This isn’t about blame, it’s about what’s happened. The beauty of this book is that Bill Nye recognizes who will ultimately enact the necessary changes to really combat climate change and begin the the process of preserving our planet for generations to come. Millennials. That group of young adults who gets blamed for things completely out of their control. It’s that same group of young people who are more aware of current issues than just about any generation of people who have come before them. Some would say the issues aren’t as important as the ones previous generations have had to tackle, but to say this is to once again belittle the issues Millennials face today. Humans are imperfect, but we have the ability to preserve this beautiful world we have. I believe history will hold Millennials in particularly high regard when humans look back at who decided enough was enough and that the issue of climate change is not something to leave for others to deal with.

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Atticus Finch. I can go on and on about Atticus Finch. I’ll be short and simple. I recommended this book because even when everyone around you is guilty of buying into society’s backward and wrong beliefs, one person can stand up for what’s right and what’s true to the human spirit. That’s what I believe Atticus did in this book, and it’s an idea still relevant after nearly 60 years in print.

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

With social media today we’re able to get a glimpse into the lives of persecuted individuals. Anne Frank’s diary is more than just a glimpse. It’s her life. Now that I’m sitting here writing this I realize that her diary is her version of a blog or Facebook account. Through her words we know what a young girl and her family endured during humanity’s darkest hour. She gives us an idea of what it means to be unwanted, untouchable, and hated. She shows us that we always have the ability to be kind, even when facing the worst of circumstances. Another book that has never lost its relevance.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Society has expectations for just about everyone. It’s up to the individual person and the people they’re surrounded by to stick to what they’re supposed to be doing or to exceed every expectation imaginable. That’s what this book is about. And that’s why I recommended it. In this world the districts are expected to contribute to the welfare of the Capitol by maintaining the status quo and doing as previous generations have done. There’s really no avenue for any individuality. Katniss turns the whole thing upside down. She proved that no matter what society expects of you, you can use your voice to accomplish and change just about anything.

An honorable mention was Elie Wiesel’s Night.

I won’t tell you which book he ultimately decided to buy, but he did buy one.

So those are the books I recommended to an admitted non-reader. I took several minutes to describe the message I took away from each one. This wasn’t a planned thing and I did the whole thing in real time, but I think the books I mentioned shed light on the topics and issues important to me. Every one of these is a notch above their counterparts in my eyes.

Sorry for the LONG post! Have you ever had to suddenly recommend books and felt it was more important than a typical recommendation? What do you think of the books I came up with?

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If you Could Only Recommend one Book…

What would it be? Think of a world in which you could only recommend a single book to others for the rest of your life. Then tell me what it is.

I’m not doing this because I’m looking for new books. I’m really wanting to see which ones are repeated. I can probably think of 50 that I’d expect to see here. But I know mine without having to think about it.

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

There are so many things to be learned from this book, and it’s one of two I’ve read that I believe appeal to any person with a conscience. Recommended it today to a coworker, actually.

So tell me the one book you’d recommend to anyone regardless of their reading tastes or preferences.

Discussing the Best Book I’ve Read

*sigh*

The book I’m about to talk about is not on the Amazon list, but I had every intention of making a video for it. Except that I’m sick and I don’t think I could speak loud enough or long enough for y’all to hear me. So, I’ll just write about it here instead.

The book I’m talking about is Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

Before I tell you about the book, I’d first like to say that I don’t label books as the best I’ve read often. I’ve only had three different books hold the top spot, ever. And I was fully convinced that Anne Frank’s diary would remain in that spot for years to come. Until I read this book.

Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Redwing, which took place in 2005 in the mountains of Afghanistan. The goal of the four Navy SEALs who were sent in was to kill a high ranking terrorist. But it went horribly wrong when the SEALs were stumbled upon by local farmers and made the decision to release them without further harm.

This is where I say to not keep reading if you haven’t read the book or perhaps plan on doing so in the  future because I’ll be revealing details. Proceed at your own risk.

The decision to release the farmers came back to bite the members of SEAL Team 10. The terrorists in the area (100-200 men) made their way up the mountain and eventually came upon the SEALs and a firefight ensued. But the SEALs’ communications with HQ could not be established, and the terrain was not conducive for a quick retreat. They repeatedly retreated down the sheer sides of mountains when no other option was available. But ultimately the terrorist fighting force proved too much for the four-man SEAL team, and three men were killed up in those mountains after fighting longer and harder than I can possibly describe here.

Marcus Luttrell became the lone survivor after a local tribe took him in and protected him at all costs.

But let me tell you why this book hit me so hard.


First, I’ve never cried reading any book as much as I cried reading this one. And I’m someone who knew a little about what happened because I’ve seen the movie adaptation that pretty much stuck to the original.

Marcus Luttrell put you in the shoes of a Navy SEAL. We don’t start the book in the mountains of Afghanistan, we start long before that here in the US as he’s training to become a SEAL. He gives insight into the training and mindsets of future SEALs that cannot be understated. He gives readers an idea as to what it takes to become a SEAL and only then does he take you into the fight in Afghanistan.

This story is not a story of death or sadness. It’s the story of the unsung heroes of war who never make it home. Because those three members of SEAL Team 10 were and forever will be heroes, along with every member of our military who died on that mountain trying to save the life of Marcus Luttrell. Those men knew they were going into incredibly hostile territory, but a SEAL Team was in bad shape and help was coming whether it was ideal or not.

This book is not written as a novel. And it’s not meant to be read as one. It’s written as if you’re sitting on the back porch of Luttrell’s Texas home and he’s describing every aspect of being a SEAL and Operation Redwing to you. If you read it accordingly, there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll appreciate it like I have.

I told y’all that I’d never forget the dedication page found at the beginning of this book, and I won’t. But I’ll also never forget this book. The story of those men on that mountain will stay with me, forever.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book because of how great I believe it to be. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should read this book if you’re interested in a story about modern war. I’m not going to tell you that you should read this story at all. But I’m glad that I did.

Have you read Lone Survivor yet? What did you think?

You can visit the Amazon product page for the book here.


 

On this day in 2014 I published Keeping a Journal.

The Dedication Page (an update)

Last week I posted about the dedication pages in books. It ended up being even better received than I expected. In that post (which you can view here) I talked about the dedication pages in books I’ve read. And I mentioned that I had yet to come across any really memorable ones. Well that changed just a few nights ago. I even took a picture of the actual dedication because it hit me so hard. Let me show you.20150626_003337The above dedication is from Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor. Yes, Mark Wahlberg starred in the movie adaptation. Guys, when I read this for the first time I had tears in my eyes. I’ve seen the movie, which is what prompted me to buy the book, so I know a little about what happened. I imagine that I’ll know a little more once I finish reading. But read that. Just read it. I’m not going to sit here and say that you SHOULD feel something when you read that, but I know I did. This is the only dedication I’ve ever read from a book that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Sorry guys, I know this isn’t really new content. I really just had to share it.

You can read more about the events that are chronicled in the book here.

Tell me what you think of that dedication up there. I know you have to be thinking something.


On this day in 2014 I published “Write What you Know” or “Write What you Read”.