Here’s my reading list for spring 2020
My spring reading list has a couple of my all-time favorites and some new books that explore love, relationships, and masculinity.
I’m increasingly interested (and a bit reluctant to admit that I’m interested) in the topic of masculinity, patriarchy, and what it means to “be a man” in today’s world.
1. For The Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity – Liz Plank
That’s why this list starts with Liz Plank’s new book even while I’m reading a few others right now:
My dear friend, Mark Groves, totally outed me at an event we did together a couple months back, forcing me – on stage – to share that I’d recently admitted to him that I feel pulled towards doing more work in the realm of masculinity, emotional intelligence, leadership, and relational health, so this brand-new book is right in line with my own growing interest in the topic.
I’ve been underwhelmed by other recent books on “toxic masculinity” (and what to do about it), so I’m excited to hear how Ms. Plank’s work enriches the conversation.
2. Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure – Daniel Quinn
From the author of the outstanding and life-changing Ishmael, Beyond Civilization is a brief, pragmatic book dedicated to helping us – all of us – figure out how to leave the most isolating, destructive aspects of modern civilization behind, and to create something new. Something better. Something more beautiful.
I read this book a few years back, and I’m rereading it now. If you haven’t read Ishmael, start there, then read Beyond Civilization. It’s powerful and inspiring.
3. Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships – Brian Earp & Julian Savulescu
Given my multi-decade fascination with the intersection of human behavior and human physiology, this new book fits right into my library between Helen Fisher and Peter Singer.
It covers ethics, biochemistry, and the latest relationship research, including how “love drugs” like oxytocin and MDMA could be used to improve relationships of all kinds. I’m super excited to dig into this book. Nerds love love, too!
4. Blood Meridian, or The Evening Redness in the West – Cormac McCarthy
From the author of All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men, this book is my all-time favorite novel. (I’ve probably read it 8 or 10 times.) Maybe “favorite” isn’t quite the word, given how viciously violent many of the scenes are, but nonetheless, McCarthy’s writing is the most vivid, lush, and unspeakably beautiful that I’ve ever read.
The storyline is a rich, complex narrative on the American West, human nature, and the glories and follies of exploration (and exploitation) of new lands. I have a leather-bound copy of Blood Meridian, and I plan on (re-)reading it for decades to come.
5. The Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche – Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette
From the authors of the watershed book on male archetypes, King Warrior Magician Lover, Moore & Gillette lay out a beautiful framework for the “lover” aspect of men, which our modern society has massively suppressed, repressed, perverted, and made fun of.
This distortion has led to enormous suffering, loneliness, and misunderstanding, and given how profound King Warrior Magician Lover was for me, I hunted down an old copy of this out-of-print book to dig deeper into this topic.
If you’ve ever enjoyed books by Joseph Campbell, Robert Johnson, or Robert Bly (who wrote the incredible Iron John), you’ll likely appreciate King Warrior Magician Lover, and if you’re really hooked, you can dig deeper into the Lover archetype with this book. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it, but it’s really good stuff, and I already find myself more able to see, understand, and foster my “inner lover”.
Warning! $175+ out-of-print book. I found an old copy somewhere…
I’d love to know which of these books you’re excited to read. Or, what you think of them if you’ve already read them. Comment below.