Tag Archives: reading

Strong Heroines

I was thinking about my last book post and that started me thinking about what makes a character, particularly a woman, strong. Now, I know men and women are just people, and a strong character is a strong character regardless of gender. (Did you stop throwing tomatoes yet?) But sometimes some people think a “strong woman” has to be strong physically, or good with weapons, or compete in a “man’s world.”

Since that’s never what I’ve thought, I wanted to talk about my definitions.

Let’s start with the difference between “strong” and “gentle,” since some people think someone can’t be both. Here’s what I decided. “Strong” is how well you resist pressure exerted on you. “Gentle” is how much pressure you exert on others. So while the terms are related, the direction of the pressure is important, and one person can be both at the same time.

Now, back to our heroines (and heroes). Is a strong warrior a strong person? Maybe, maybe not. The neighborhood bully that threatens people with his sword might be a strong warrior, but he isn’t a strong person. The unarmed traveler who gently refuses to comply with the demands of a robber is a strong person. (Possibly a dead strong person, but we can hope not.)

I’m going to borrow some of the heroes/heroines from last month’s post as examples. 🙂 And yes, I cheated and threw in a couple of men. Strong is strong.

In The Great and Terrible Quest, the two main protagonists (heroes) are a wounded knight and a young boy. The knight is physically strong enough to fight multiple enemies, climb a cliff without a rope, and keep moving after enemies split his head. That’s not what impresses me most about him, though. He continues on his quest for ten years(!) through near-death and total memory loss, not to gain a reward for himself, but to give his own inheritance to the true owner. Wow, that’s strength of character. As for the little boy, he has very little physical strength (he is just a little boy), but he defies his robber-baron grandfather and the entire robber band to save an injured cat and then the wounded knight. He risks his life (Grandfather is a dangerous jerk) to save others, and he leads the knight ever onward despite enemies at every turn and almost no help from the knight. His strong determination and faith carry the story, and I love it.

The Ordinary Princess, Amy, is like Cimorene in some ways, like not wanting to be a princess. (Enchanted Forest series, by Wrede. Add it to your list.) But in others, she is very different. Amy doesn’t have a spitfire personality. She never picks up a weapon and doesn’t know any magic or even how to cook. She never fights anyone and doesn’t have any enemies. Amy is a cheerful, gentle soul. But when her parents decide to hire a dragon to attract a suitor, she runs away to protect her kingdom and ends up working as a kitchen maid until she’s drooping with exhaustion. I call that strength.

In the Crown Duel duology, our heroine does fight with a sword (very badly) and ride a horse (adequately) and try to improve politics (oh-so-disastrously). She doesn’t even know how to read, but I can’t call her weak. She keeps trying against overwhelming odds, even when torture and execution seem the inevitable next steps. And (spoiler) she wins. Not by feat of arms or might of army, but by one voice saying the right thing for morally right reasons. How strong can you get?

The heroine of Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is another non-combatant. I almost said non-fighter, but she does fight. She fights for her family’s financial security with her wits. She turns enemies into friends or finds ways to render them helpless, and all without a weapon. By the end of the story, her father, long thought cursed because he had only seven daughters, is praising her name and counting her better than his brother’s seven sons. Smart and caring is strong, too.

I could name more, but I think I’ve babbled long enough. Which characters in books you’ve read impressed YOU with their strength? What kind of strength did they have? What strength do you wish you had?

Trying to be stronger,
M. C. Lee

Books I Had to Buy

Obviously, I read enough that I can’t possibly buy every book I read. I can’t even buy every book I RE-read. That’s why I love my public library. 🙂

But there are some books that I bought from my teeny book budget because I couldn’t stand not having them around whenever the craving hit. Here are some of them.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. A classic for a reason. Despite being slightly light on characters, heart and meaning are written into every book. I have the original-order set, both for sentimental reasons and because they are more meaningful when read in the order the author intended.

The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. I am permanently in love with the characters. Permanently. Don’t fight me on this, because I. Will. Win.

The Great and Terrible Quest, by Margaret Lovett. I had to search this one out on the internet, but it was so worth it. This one is less well-known, so let me tell you a bit about it. A young boy hides a wounded man from his nasty grandfather and his band of thieves, then decides to help the man succeed in his forgotten quest. And by forgotten, I mean the man has amnesia, but whatever memory he lost is important enough to keep him moving despite a split head. Because nobody in the story knows what’s going on for a while, it can be confusing, but it’s worth the wait for the reveal.

Minnipin series, by Carol Kendall. I like Gammage better than Glocken, I’ll admit. I love the spunky (but very ordinary) heroes, who don’t fit in but save the village BECAUSE of their differences.

Silver Woven in My Hair, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. It’s a Cinderella story (oddly enough, with a heroine who collects Cinderella stories), but I love the realistic romance and the heroine who keeps trying no matter what.

The Ordinary Princess, by M.M. Kaye. This is my favorite romance, even though it’s a children’s book. Really, truly. It’s actually marketed as a fantasy, which totally makes sense, because Princess Amy runs away when her parents decide to get a dragon to enhance her marriageability. But it’s a story of true love, and I adore it.

Crown Duel & Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith. Here is another can’t-say-die heroine. I feel a lot of empathy for her social awkwardness and her burning intent to do the right thing no matter what others say or how much trouble it lands her in. I always wince when those two traits wrap themselves around each other in the most troublesome ways, but oh, it makes a wonderful story.

Shattered Stone, by Robert Newman. I used to just check this one out from the library regularly, but then I moved and my new library didn’t have it. Can’t have that! This is a fantasy mystery about traitors and war and lost identities, but I also love the romantic ending.

Enchantress From the Stars, by Sylvia Engdahl. It’s sci-fi, but with a fantasy feel, with a heroine who is determined to do the right thing even if it kills her. Literally.

A Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeline L’Engle. Granted, I like some books in the series better than others, but I still own the whole thing. This is another classic-for-a-reason, and the movies totally miss the reason.

The Baker Street series, by Robert Newman. You can call it a Sherlock Holmes spin-off, which is accurate enough. Though they are mysteries, it’s the characters that make me return to the series over and over and wish Newman wrote a few more of them.

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, by Barbara Cohen. A historical fiction about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to make her family’s fortune. Yes, I like strong heroines, and no, I don’t think “strong” means “good with a sword.”

One Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. This is not the Disney version. Let me repeat, this is the original, not the Disney version. Disney made a cute movie of the book, but he lost the inherent sweetness of Dodie’s story.

The Belgariad and The Mallorean series, by David Eddings. I once stood in a bookstore reading part of the newest book and laughing so hard that everyone stared. Fortunately, I got to do my crying in private. More characters that I love ever so much.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien. Not for the faint of heart, I admit, but I’ve been hooked since I was eight years old. I’ve reread them so many times that my husband assures me I am a TERRIBLE person with whom to watch the movies.

Most of Georgette Heyer’s romances (with The Masqueraders at the top of the list). Heyer, in general, writes romances that feel real. Real characters, real situations (for the time), real reasons to laugh and cry, and most importantly, real reasons to love.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but that should give you at least a few days of reading. 😉

What book did you HAVE TO BUY?
M. C. Lee

My Favorite Newbery Winners

I haven’t read all the Newbery winners since 1922, but I have read a lot of them. Here are my favorites, all four or five star reads for me.

Science Fiction

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle. Meg’s father disappeared a year ago, and now three crazy ladies claim she and her little brother and a new maybe-friend can travel instantly across space to rescue him. This has been made into movies, but none of them are as good as the book. Controversial at the time for a children’s book, this has become a classic for very good reasons. I love the characters, love the fantastic settings, love and hate the way the plot makes me think about the world and good vs evil, and love the way Meg succeeds. The rest of the series is also good, though the first two books are the best.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Okay, not exactly sci-fi, but sort of. In a future world, Jonas lives in the perfect society, without fear, poverty, or war. Then his new job as the Receiver of Dreams reveals secrets that could destroy his entire world. This has been made into a movie, too, with mixed results. The book is still better. While not a “fun” read, this is very thought-provoking, and Lois does a great job of dribbling out the revelations until we finally understand. I did *not* enjoy the others in the series.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien. This one is also hard to classify. In part contemporary beast tale, in part speculative sci-fi, this is the story of a mouse who discovers her deceased mate was an escaped inmate of scientific experiments that increased his intelligence to human levels. When Mrs. Frisby’s house and sick son are threatened by the plow, she turns to the likewise intelligent rats for help. The movie is cute, but the book is touching. Mrs. Frisby isn’t as smart as the rats, but her courage and motherly love carry her through the story.

Fantasy

The Grey King, by Susan Cooper. The finale in a series between the Dark and the Light. Memories lost to illness, only a broken riddle can guide Will to retrieve a magical harp from the most powerful Lord of the Dark, the Grey King. Though the book is set in “modern” times, at least in part, it definitely has the feel of ancient fantasy seeping down through the years. Will is a great hero, strong despite weakness, and the book wraps up the hanging threads from the rest of the series into a tidy conclusion.

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. Aerin is the daughter of the king and a witch. Powerless though she is, her tainted blood has banned her from the throne. Now dragons are stalking the land, and she is the only one who can fight them. While I would classify Aerin as a strong heroine, it’s not her sword fighting or horse riding that makes her so. Instead, it’s her honesty, her determination, and her desire to protect her land that make her the hero of the story.

The High King, by Lloyd Alexander. Another series finale. When the most powerful weapon in  Prydain falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Mount Dragon, Arawn’s stronghold. I love the characters so, so much, and while this last book is sad, it is the fulfillment of the series in many ways. The characters have matured into even more wonderful people who make hard choices because it’s the right thing to do.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Let’s call this one urban fantasy. It’s set in modern times, but with ghosts and other supernatural creatures. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, would be completely normal if he wasn’t raised by ghosts. If Bod leaves the graveyard, he will come under attack from the man who killed Bod’s family. The book can get a little spooky at times, but isn’t actually horror. The mystery builds and builds, and while I guessed things ahead of time, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of watching the author draw all the strands together into a tapestry. While the basic story is very good all by itself, the little touches Neil adds in puns and allusions made it even more enjoyable for me.

Historical Fiction

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare. Daniel bar Jamin wants to revenge his father’s death by forcing the Romans from Israel. His hatred wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of Jesus of Nazareth. The historical aspects are good, but what really touched my heart was the vision of love winning over hate.

King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. The Sultan sent six of the best horses in the kingdom to the King of France! Agba, the mute horseboy, knew his horse Sham would be chosen. But when a corrupt boat captain steals the food for their journey, the horses nearly die by the time they arrive. And the King of France sends Sham to be a workhorse! Will he ever be able to prove himself the champion that he is? I don’t know if Agba or Sham is the better character, but I felt for both of them throughout the story. I’m not a true horse-enthusiast (call me pleasantly neutral), but I still liked the horse parts and the history.

A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park. Tree-ear, an orphan, wants nothing more than to watch master potter Min at work, and he dreams of making a pot of his own someday. When Min takes Tree-ear on as his helper, Tree-ear is determined to prove himself–even if it means arriving at the royal court with nothing to show but a single celadon shard. Tree-ear is another ordinary hero who wins through determination and character rather than flashy skills and big battles. The historical aspects make an excellent backdrop to Tree-ears character arc.

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan. Sarah comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay? Though a children’s book, this is a great example of a historical romance. Love grows slowly as the characters get to know each other, and in the end, we believe because we’ve seen why. The movie is pretty good.

Contemporary

Holes, by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats is under a curse that has followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending every day digging holes. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize the warden is looking for something. The mixed-up timeline is a little confusing, but the reasons for it become clear by the end. Louis doesn’t waste a word as he lays out the clues, and the revelations at the end tie everything together perfectly. The movie for this one is actually pretty good.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg. When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would live in comfort at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She saved her money, and she invited her brother Jamie to go, mostly because be was a miser and would have money. It takes a mystery and Mrs. Basil to teach her how to go home again. I enjoyed the mystery, but the biggest draw for me was the relationship of the siblings.

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone. He and Leslie Burke become inseparable, creating Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits. Imagination and friendship are the true kings in this book, despite its sad ending. (My husband watched the movie with tears rolling down his face and accused me of cruelty for recommending it.)

There you go! Fourteen books from the Newbery Award Winners. How long will it take you to read them all?

Happy reading,
M. C. Lee

Books That Should be Made into Movies

This list is totally my opinion, but here are some books I think would make good movies. Hollywood, are you listening to me?

In random order:

Devil on My Back, by Monica Hughes. Dystopian sci-fi with a “big brother” hooked right into you.

The Shattered Stone, by Robert Newman. Fantasy with a touch of mystery. Who betrayed the truce and broke the stone?

Winter of Magic’s Return and Tomorrow’s Magic, by Pamela F. Service. Fantasy-in-the-future and the return of Merlin as a teenager with amnesia.

The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley. Dragons and a strong heroine with brains.

Knee-Deep in Thunder, by Sheila Moon. An underground world of fantasy with larger-than-life animal characters.

Silver Woven in My Hair, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. A Cinderella story with a more satisfactory romance.

Crown Duel/Court Duel, by Sherwood Smith. Magic, rebellion, and court intrigue, with a touch of magic.

The Gammage Cup, by Carol Kendall. Five ordinary Minnipins become heroes in spite of themselves.

The Great and Terrible Quest, by Margaret Lovett. A quick-witted orphan eludes his evil grandfather to help a wounded knight on a quest he can’t even remember.

The Masqueraders, by Georgette Heyer. A Georgian romance with intrigue and compelling characters who sometimes cross-dress to disguise themselves.

Have Space Suit–Will Travel, by Robert A. Heinlein. Two kidnapped children must convince a galactic council not to eradicate Earth.

Code Orange, by Caroline B. Cooney. Contemporary suspense. Don’t ever advertise on the internet that you might have a source of biological warfare. Don’t ever say you might BE a source of biological warfare…

The Queen’s Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. Fantasy. Don’t believe what you see, because you probably misunderstood, even without magic. This is one series where I can imagine the camera angles without even trying.

Dragon Slippers series, by Jessica Day George. A brave girl defends dragons. Yes, I got that in the right order.

Knight and Rogue series, by Hilari Bell. Knights errant have been a legend for 200 years, until Michael decides to resurrect the obsolete occupation and drags a reluctant thief with him.

The False Prince series, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Fantasy and intrigue, and another case of not believing what you see. When the royal family is killed, who will step up to impersonate the lost prince?

What’s on your Make Mine a Movie list?

M. C. Lee

Books That Need Sequels

Don’t you hate it when authors stop a series you like before it’s actually finished? I do! So here are some books that I think the authors should hurry up and sequel already. (I’m excluding relatively new releases that might already have unannounced sequels planned.)

If there ARE sequels for these, tell me, would you? I’ve been waiting…

The Nascenza Conspiracy, by V. Briceland.

Ordinary Magic, by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway.

Perception, by Kim Harrington

Timekeeper, by Alexandra Monir

The Darkness Dwellers, by Kirsten Miller

A Cold Black Wave, by Timothy H. Scott

Dragon Run, by Patrick Mathews

Freaks, by Kieran Larwood

The Watcher in the Shadows, by Chris Moriarty

Treecat Wars, by David Weber.

The Last Enchanter, by Laurisa White Reyes

The Seers, by Julianna Scott

Tristi Pinkston’s mysteries

Silent Starsong, and The Earl’s Childe, by T. J. Wooldridge

The Black Stars, by Dad Krokos

The Tree of Water, by Elizabeth Haydon

Silver in the Blood, by Jessica Day George

The Sign of the Cat, by Lynne Jonell

(editor’s note: I stopped in 2016, so updates should pick up there)

If you have any pull with these authors, tell them to get on the ball! 😉

What books do YOU want to have sequels?

Happy reading,

M. C. Lee

 

Emotion Thesaurus, Second Edition

I’ve been using the original Emotion Thesaurus for a year. My critique partners recommended it when they got tired of trying to explain how to add emotion to my story. And they were right; it’s a great resource anytime I think, “Now, how can I show what my characters are feeling? How can I make my reader feel their emotions?”

So when I scored an Advance Reader Copy of the second edition, I was intrigued and excited. What would the difference be? Would the authors add new emotions? Would there be other changes?

Yes, there are new emotions. Yes, there are other changes. And they’re great!

Besides the old sections of effectively mixing verbal, physical, and thoughts, and a reminder about moderation, there is now an intro section on baseline behavior and personalities, to remind you that different characters will respond differently to the same events, depending on their inherent traits. There’s a section on speech patterns, so your characters don’t all sound alike. There’s a section on subtext that I desperately needed…

Within the emotion entries, there used to be a “Could escalate to” reference that is still there but expanded. Now there is also a “Could de-escalate to” reference that would have made my life a lot easier if it had been in the first edition. Another new section in each emotion entry is a list of associated power verbs. Yes! Now I don’t have to strain my brain trying to think of action verbs to fit the emotion, because the authors have already done the hard work for me! I’m so excited. You might have noticed…

A few of the old emotions have been split to differentiate between subtly different feelings. Some definitions have been improved. A lot of new emotions have been added. I won’t list them all, but some of my favorites include:

  • appall
  • apprehension
  • betrayed
  • certainty
  • despair
  • devastation
  • discouraged
  • grief
  • homesick
  • horror
  • hysteria
  • moved
  • obsessed
  • pleased
  • powerlessness
  • self-pity
  • shock
  • stunned
  • unappreciated
  • validated
  • valued
  • vengeful
  • vulnerable
  • wanderlust
  • wistful

For several of those, I sighed. Why didn’t I have those when I was writing my last book? At least I have them for my works-in-progress. *rub hands together with glee*

Thanks, Angela & Becky, for making my stories better and my writing easier. And thanks for the sneak peek.

Now, all you writers out there, I’m not going to tell you to buy the book, but if you struggle with expressing emotion on the page, or if your readers say they don’t FEEL it, maybe this would be a good tool for you. It is for me.

For  more information, you can go here.

M. C. Lee

Favorite Religious Books

Here are some of my favorite religious books, not counting the scriptures, which would come at the top of the otherwise random list:

Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon, by Dennis Gaunt

Your Happily Ever After, by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

12 Keys to Developing Spiritual Maturity, by Richard G Moore

Finding God in the Land of Narnia, by Kurt Bruner

Brent L. Top

Standing for Something, by Gordon B. Hinckley

Repentance, by Ezra Taft Benson

Divine Signatures: The Confirming Hand of God, by Gerald N Lund

My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures, by H. Wallace Goddard

Created for Greater Things, by Jeffery R. Holland

House of Learning, by Richard M Walker

Talking with God: Divine Conversations That Transform Daily Life, by Robert L. Millet

To Lead as Jesus Led, by Eric G. Stephen

A Quiet Heart, Patricia C. Holland

Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage

Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, by Stephen E Robinson

C.S. Lewis (some are religious books, some are not)

The Legal Cases in the Book of Mormon, by John W. Welch (density warning)

Men of Valor: The Powerful Impact of a Righteous Man, by Robert L. Millet

The Cost of Winning: Coming in First Across the Wrong Finish Line, by Dean Hughes

The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister

Robert I. Eaton

Amazed by Grace, by Sheri Dew

Brad Wilcox

Raising an Army of Helaman’s Warriors: A Guide for Parents to Prepare the Greatest Generation of Missionaries, by Mark D. Ogletree

John Bytheway

Mary Ellen Edmunds

Covenant Hearts, by Bruce C. Hafen

What Would a Holy Woman Do?, by Wendy Watson Nelson

Consider the Blessings, by Thomas S. Monson

Michael S. Wilcox

Hard Times and Holy Places, by Kristen Warner Belcher

Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, by John W. Welch

How?: Essential Skills for Living the Gospel, by John Hilton

Favorite NonFiction Books

Here are my favorite non-fiction books and authors (including biographies), in random order. For favorite writing, family/parenting, religious, or personality/behavior/cognition books, please see separate posts. I didn’t include homeschooling books, but if anyone is interested in that list, let me know & I’ll make a post.

Miscellaneous Books

Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction, by Tom Raabe

Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, by Diana Pavlac Glyer

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, by Clair Davies

Foam Rolling Guru, by Jason van den Berg

The Naturally Clean Home: 101 Safe and Easy Herbal Formulas for Nontoxic Cleansers, by Karyn Siegel-Maier

Business, Careers, and Finance Books

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, by Richard Nelson Bolles

Built to Last; Good to Great; and Good to Great & the Social Sectors, by James C. Collins

The Mormon Way of Doing Business: Leadership and Success Through Faith and Family, by Jeff Benedict

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey

The Making of A Well – Designed Business: Turn Inspiration into Action, by LuAnn Nigara

The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Running a Business, by Steve Mariati

Start and Run a Profitable Home-Based Business: Your Step-by-Step, First-Year Guide, by Edna Sheedy

Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You’ll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky

AMA Complete Guide to Marketing Research for Small Business, by Holly Edmunds

Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing: Secrets for Small Business, by Mark S. Bacon

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting an Online Business, by Frank Fiore

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, by Barbara Weltman

Camping Books

Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine’s Guide to Lightweight Hiking

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion, by Leslie Mass

Backpacking: Essential Skills to Advanced Techniques, by Victoria Steele Logue

The Appalachian Trail Backpacker’s Planning Guide, by Victoria Steele Logue

Trail Safe: Averting Threatening Human Behavior in the Outdoors, by Michael Bane

Cookbooks

Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker, by Lorna J. Sass

How to Repair Food, by Marina Bear (the only one of these cookbooks I actually own…)

What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, by Robert L. Wolke

The Thru-Hiker’s Handbook: Georgia to Maine, by Dan Bruce

Backpack Gourmet: Good Hot Grub You Can Make at Home, Dehydrate, and Pack for Quick, Easy, and Healthy Eating on the Trail, by Linda Frederick Yaffe

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg

Not Your Mother’s Food Storage: Store the Food You Use Every Day, by Kathy Bray

Science & History Books

And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling Over Niagara, by Cody Cassidy

Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach

Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle, by Douglas J. Emlen

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson

Seven Miracles That Saved America: Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope, by Chris Stewart

The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, by Chris Stewart

Biographies

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics, by Daniel James Brown

Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness, by Eric Metaxas

Richard Feynman

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield (which actually had a strong influence on my decision to be a “real” author)

The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, by Eric Metaxas

Unlikely Heroes, by Ron Carter

To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson

A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park

Let It Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness, by Chris Williams

Faith: Behind the Fences: A True Story of Survival in a Japanese Prison Camp, by Kelly Dispirito Taylor

 

What non-fiction books have made a difference to your life? Tell me in the comments.

M. C. Lee

Favorite Parenting & Family Books

Here are some of my favorite books about marriage, parenting, and family. Each category is in random order.

Normal Marriage

Romancing Your Better Half: Keeping Intimacy Alive in Your Marriage, by Rick Johnson

Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage, by Gary Chapman

Twelve Traps in Today’s Marriage and How to Avoid Them, by Brent A Barlow

Love that Lasts: Fourteen Secrets to a More Joyful, Passionate, and Fulfilling Marriage, by Gary B. Lundberg

Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes, by Paula Szuchman

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, by John M Gottman

Love is a Choice: Making Your Marriage and Family Stronger, by Lynn G. Robbins

Normal Parenting

Parents and Adolescents Living Together, by Marion S. Forgatch

Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma

Your Child’s Strengths: Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them, by Jennifer Fox

10 Secrets Wise Parents Know: Tried and True Things You Can Do to Raise Faithful, Confident, Responsible Children, by Bruce A Chadwick

Between Parent and Child, by Haim G. Ginott

What a Difference a Daddy Makes: The Lasting Imprint a Dad Leaves on His Daughter’s Life, by Kevin Leman

What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Indelible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life, by Kevin Leman

25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them, by Randal A. Wright

Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go, by Lisa Valentine Clark

Growing Up

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, by Kelly Williams Brown (if I remember correctly, it does have some bad language)

Choose Your Own Adulthood: A Small Book about the Small Choices that Make the Biggest Difference, by Hal Edward Runkel

Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World, by Christine M Field

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood, by Foster W. Kline

Teaching Your Children Responsibility, by Linda Eyre

Dealing With Serious Issues

Parenting Your Powerful Child: Bringing an End to the Everyday Battles, by Kevin Leman

When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages: How to Stay Together When Life Pulls You Apart, by Les Parrott III

The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills, by Alan E Kazdin

Yes, Your Teen is Crazy, by Michael J. Bradley

The Time-Starved Family, by DeAnne Flynn

Your Defiant Teen: 10 Steps to Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Your Relationship, by Russell A Barkley

ADHD

Teenagers with ADD and ADHD, by Chris A Ziegler Dendy

Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child, by Edward M. Hallowell

ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know, by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Favorite Personality, Behavior, and Cognition Books

I think it probably says something about me that I have an entire category of these books and can make a post from just my favorites… Let’s ignore that, though, and you can browse my randomly ordered list of personality, behavior, and cognition books.

Personality (and yes, I know my type for almost every one of them (Reading People has some I don’t know))

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, by Don Richard Riso

The Color Code: A New Way to See Yourself, Your Relationships, and Life, by Taylor Hartman

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, by Anne Bogel

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better, by Gretch Ruben

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman

Behavior/Cognition

Feminist Fantasies, by Phyllis Schlafly

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, by Roy F. Baumeister

You Can Never Get Enough of What You Don’t Need: The Quest for Contentment, by Mary Ellen Edmunds

Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior, by Kerry Patterson

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why, by Amanda Ripley

Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, by Tom Rath

How Will You Measure Your Life?, by Clayton M. Christensen

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence, by Gavin de Becker

Aristotle Would Have Liked Oprah: And Other Philosophic Musings, by Ethel Diamond

The Definitive Book of Body Language, by Allan Pease

The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine

On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis, by Louis Markos

Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome, by Ty Tashiro

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell

Extremes: How to Keep Your Virtues from Becoming Vices, by Robert I. Eaton

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, Elaine N. Aron

How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown

Every Body’s Talking: What We Say Without Words, by Donna M Jackson

Achieving Your Life Mission, by Randal A Wright

 

Enjoy learning more about how your brain works,

M. C. Lee