Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Books From Several Decades on Being Human

1. Grow Up! by Frank Pittman. This is witty, quick reading on how to be a grown up man or woman. Pittmann reviews movies for therapeutic journals. He is both funny and wise. http://

2. Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner. Lerner has a plethora of books about different psychological dynamics. She is popular, down to earth and helpful on most counts. This is considered her best. http://

3. Unlocking the Mystery of Your Emotions by Archibald Hart. I believe this may be Hart's first book. He is a well respected Christian psychologist out of Fuller. All of his books dealing with such subjects as Adrenalin and Stress, Male Sexuality, and Anxiety, can be helpful. http://

4. The Truth About Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever by Pat Love. Love is a tall, red headed Texan, who after her first marriage failed, went back to get a doctorate in psychology specializing in what makes love last past the chemical high. I have not read her book Hot Monogamy but have her speak regarding it. She is a very entertaining writer and speaker. I think this is one of the best books on the market about what actually comprises love.

5. How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk by John Van Epp. John writes and speaks to alert his audience of the red flags in relationships in order to prevent marrying a jerk or jerkette. He refers to movie clips to prove his points.

6. Cost: A Novel by Roxana Robinson. Robinson writes a gripping novel on heroin addiction and the devastating emotional effect it brings to a three generation family.

7. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Still Alice, a novel, by a Harvard neuroscientist, is the best book that I read this year. If you wish to learn about Alzheimer's Disease and its effect on the person and their family and experience a poignant story, Still Alice is an excellent read. As one reviewer put it: "A masterpiece that will touch lives in ways none of us can even imagine. This book is the best portrayal of the Alzheimer's journey that I have read."

8. Not " Just Friends" by Shirley P. Glass. Glass, now deceased mother of Ira Glass on NPR, utilizes two decades of original research and hundreds of clinical cases "to chronicle the human story of what occurs before, during and after the trauma of betrayal. Today with the Internet and today's workplace well-intentioned people cross the line that separates platonic friendship from romantic love." Recovering/dp/0743225503/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

9. How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud. Cloud, eminent psychologist, gives a quick read on strategies for getting your numbers up in the dating world. Cloud, who married when he was in his 30s, disputes the widely accepted hypothesis of just waiting because God will give you a mate. http://

10. Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix. I believe this may be Hendrix's first book but it is still one of the best on understanding how when you marry you not only marry your spouse but you also marry your spouse's family. He compares the Conscious Marriage with the Unconscious Marriage.

11. You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. Tom and I read this book together when we were trying to figure out why we were having "communication problems." If the truth be known, I read Tannen's book and then persuaded Tom to discuss her ideas with me on a weekend vacation. Our marriage was better because of Tannen. Generally speaking, women's talk is for connection whereas men communicate just the facts. Listen at the chatter at any baseball game. Neither one's communication style is better than the other. We are just different.

12. All You Need Is Love and Other Lies About Marriages by John W. Jacobs, M.D. Jacobs writes excellent, common sense truths that one can apply to their marriage if they are willing. http://

13. The Way to Love Your Wife: Creating Greater Love & Passion in the Bedroom and Men And Sex by Clifford L. Penner and Joyce J. Penner. Preeminent Christian sex therapists (no this is not an oxymoron) Joyce and Cliff Penner are the gurus of all you want to know about sexual intimacy. And:

14. A Model for Marriage: Covenant, Grace, Empowerment And Intimacy by Jack O. Balswick and Judith K. Balswick. I learned from the Balswicks during my years at Fuller. Their book includes theology from the renowned Ray Anderson and a more academic look at marriage --- still helpful and challenging. I found their Trinitarian model of marriage insightful when considering God's gift of marriage.

15. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. Jamison, a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is a foremost authority on manic-depressive disease from her academic studies as well as from her first hand life experience. http://

16. Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff. This slim volume is one of the best books that I have read on grief and loss. Yale theologian Wolsterstorff shares his heart break with the death of his twenty-five year old son. One never wants to experience such a loss; however, his thoughts give us a glimpse into his world of intimate pain and questions about such tragedies.

17. I Don't Want To Talk About It by Terrence Real. For me Real's book was a riveting read. As Pia Mellody notes: "Boys in our culture are taught that real men are stoic. The ability to not complain, endure pain, and strive in the face of adversity is admired and celebrated in story and song. The price paid for this isolation is depression." Real gives men courage by telling his own story of trauma and recovery. http:// About-Overcoming/dp/0684835398/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262247305&sr=8-2

18. The Recovery of Family Life by Elton and Pauline Trueblood. I bought my tattered copy of this book at a library sale for 29 cents. Tom quoted the book in our daughter Amy's wedding. It was written in the 50s but it still is one of my favorite books on the sacredness of marriage.


michelle mcmahon said...

What a great list, Sheila! Are you sure you're not my mother? JK. She is always giving me books like this. My favorite of the ones she has given me this year is The Anxiety Cure, by Dr. Archibald Hart, one of the writers on your list. I found it pretty helpful. I think my friend Katie Byron actually has/had him as a professor at Fuller.

Paul said...

Mom, this is remarkable. Thanks for this.

Thomas McMahon IV said...

How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk is a great title. Fortunately for me, Michelle didn't read that before we got hitched.

skb said...

Hey guys thanks for the input. Michelle, I imagine that I do sound like your mom. I just wish that I knew more about 9 inch nails, etc. My music tastes tend toward standards, disco, classical, old rock and roll, Beach Boys, and country. Paul has helped me introduce me to new genres. Years ago I did stay up one night to watch Beck. He was great. And of course, I went with Paul to his first concert to see the scene --- lots of interesting smells!

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