Okay, now that it's all over, I can confess: The last few weeks have been pretty horrendous. I will spare you the details.
I will say, however, that if you are -- or even if you don't think you are -- in the market for some life-changing books, here are my latest picks:
1) Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire by Morris Berman
Depressing? Yes. Disturbing? Indeed. Why read it? We all must face reality in order to change it, that's why. This book lays out how and why America is going wrong (and includes some very interesting titles as source references, which I plan to cite in a future post). I am sure the jingoistic Horatio-Alger types among Americans will snort derisively at such tales of woe -- as then turn off their TV, plug in their cell phones and jump in their SUVs for a two-hour straight-highway commute. This book is not for the feint of heart; everyone, even the most aware souls among us, will find themselves faced with the fact that we've been sucked, in spite of our best efforts, into the consumer culture. If we can take the medicine, we might be ready to begin the cure.
2) What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson
This one has been around a while, I grant you. And it's not a self-help book, true enough. It kind of defies any easy literary category, which I find strangely endearing. What I like about this book is that Bronson doesn't present any easy solutions or sure-fire steps to solve your career or add meaning to work. Call me idiosyncratic, but I find his un-pander-y approach rather refreshing. I find the stories interesting and thought-provoking, and I find comfort in the fact that others are grasping with the same soul-searching as I am. It makes me feel less alone.