My Recent Favorite Books

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s some help for your Summer reading list from author Neal Lemery. The Tillamook County Library has several summer reading programs for kids, teens and adults with special prizes, programs and more. “A Universe of Stories” is the Summer Reading program theme; you can officially sign up for Summer Reading beginning Monday, June 10th. Find out more about all the great things happening at the TCL at

By Neal Lemery

June is busting out all over, and I’m getting caught up on my yard work somewhat, so it is time for some precious hours for some reading. Here’s my list of great books I’ve read in the last year that I highly recommend, in no particular order:

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates. Well written, thought provoking, and inspiring.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. An anthropological-psychological book of who we are, where we came from, and where we might be going.
The Second Mountain by David Brooks. I like the first two thirds of this book, which fired me up about building community and reminding me that we are here to love one another and help each other live meaningful lives.
The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey. Inspiring, motivating, and stimulating.
Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A look at four American presidents, their challenges and how they achieved greatness and led the nation through challenging times. There is much in these lessons for today.
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. Lots of information, and some very challenging predictions with hope.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer. New historical information and analysis for me, teaching much about where our country goes from here.
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson. A thoughtful look at a compelling issue and challenge.
Artemis by Andy Weir, the author of Mars. Science fiction that offers a thoughtful look at who we are, and where we are going as a species and culture.
Becoming by Michelle Obama. A very thoughtful and insightful book about a courageous and talented woman who has much to offer our country. No matter what your politics may be, there are wise lessons to be found in her story.
Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. One of our best fiction writers takes a hard look at the role of art in our culture, and how it changes lives.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. A native healer, botanist and professor, the author has feet in several worlds as she educates us on the role of plants in our lives, culture, and medicine.
Educated by Tara Westover. A compelling and inspiring memoir of growing up and pulling herself up by her own bootstraps.
The Tide: The Science and Stories Behind the Greatest Force on Earth by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. A British scientist delves into a surprisingly little studied phenomenon.
Exit West by Hamid Mohsin. A fantasy dealing with immigration, refugees, and cultural awareness. Not one of my usual genres, but I found this engaging and thought provoking; a new way to look at a challenging issue.
No god but God: The Ongoing Evolution and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan. Very thoughtful and informative, and a delightful read.
The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks. His last book, offering insights and new ideas, written in his usual compelling way.
Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country edited by Alan L. Contreras. An engaging anthology about one of my favorite places to experience nature and solitude. I’ve just started this, but it is a sensory delight and promises to be a delightful read. Profits benefit the Friends of Malheur Wildlife Refuge. And, poetry and illustrations by Ursula LeGuin.

Neal Lemery – community volunteer, author and blogger
Books: Finding My Muse on Main Street, Homegrown Tomatoes, and Mentoring Boys to Men