Recommended Reads, Fourth in a Series

Stuff I'd recommend from the past three months. Speaking of which, with the holidays come times for reading (and gift-giving!). So don't hesitate to share your recommended reads; I love getting leads on stuff I never would've found on my own. (Hopefully these quarterly lists confirm that my reading interests are broad enough to include whatever you might throw my way.)

* Progress Paradox (Easterbrook). Fun to read these books about American prosperity that were written right before the meltdown. They're no less true, and if anything in the descriptions of wealth contain hints of impending doom.

* It's Getting Better All the Time (Moore/Simon). Speaking of which, here's a useful reminder that the long narrative is that we're really way better off than ever before, recession or no. Love love love the line charts that show data going back 100+ years.

* Hudson Taylor (Christie). Is there anything more riveting (and convicting) to the ardent believer than reading missionary biographies? This one is decidedly average and yet still it gripped me.

* A Severe Mercy (Vanauken). A young couple in love. Intellectuals wrestling through what it means to follow Jesus. An early death, a poignant mourning. And C.S. Lewis interspersed throughout. Boy, this book had a little of everything.

* Bell Curve (Herrnstein/Murray). Rightfully controversial for speaking bluntly about the distribution of intelligence throughout members of society, I appreciated the statistical approach and the willingness to explore the unpopular possibilities.

* A Vanishing Conscience (MacArthur). This is one of those books that is more relevant now than when it was first written 15+ years ago. Would a 2010 version be called "A Vanished Conscience"?

* Having It All (Brown). I couldn't resist this 1982 book by the founder of Cosmo. She expounds on how even a "mouseburger" can have it all - career, looks, men, health. Some of her suggestions made me cringe but a surprising number were level-headed and even quite wise.

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