The weather warms up in summer, and we usually spend more time outdoors, which also makes it an ideal time to get to know your neighbors. Hopefully, this relaxed time of year also offers you some extra time to pull out a good book. We’ve been making our own reading list for the summer, and thought you might be interested. If you’re looking for some ways to start better understanding your neighbors, grab some cold-brew coffee or a glass of sweet tea and sit down with one of these five books:
Evicted is a nonfiction book that reads like a novel in part due to the vivid storytelling and harrowing detail that sheds light on the complexity of poverty and how it affects the American family. Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond follows the stories of eight landlords and tenants in the poorest neighborhood of Milwaukee to better understand the faces of poverty. Evicted was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review and we’ve heard it will leave you with little question as to why.
While the average american will move 11.7 times, Melody Warnick asks what does it take to actually put down roots and love where you live. She introduces the idea of place attachment and embarks on a journey to understand what does it take to make us feel at home. Through thorough research and practical application, we’re expecting Warnick’s book will lead us to love, or at least see, our city in a new way.
With insightful skill and depth, Marc J. Dunkelman explores how the traditional web of relationships that was once at the core of American life has shifted. Although some groups of people have grown closer unilaterally thanks to technology, across the board we have grown further apart from our own neighbors, usually the very people who come from varying economic backgrounds, education levels, and age groups. Dunkelman argues that while interaction with our neighbors in the traditional sense may be changing, there is still hope for connection in new ways as we look toward the future.
Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t interact as much with our neighbors is because we live in an ever growing multicultural world that can easily lend itself to misunderstandings. In Clash, leading cultural psychologists Hazel Markus and Alana Conner discuss how the difference between independent and interdependent cultures can fuel growing tensions between regions, races, genders, and socio-economic classes. However, when we better understand these differences, we can avoid clashes and instead, actually use it to grow closer in our communities, schools, and workplaces.
Amy Peterson grew up in the church hearing slogans like “Do big things for God” and “Change the World” but found when actually trying to live those out she encountered more questions than answer. Part spiritual memoir, part travelogue, and part love story, Dangerous Territory is Peterson’s journey of moving to Southeast Asia and embarking on a process of self-discovery and maybe more importantly, of faith-discovery.
We can’t wait to dive into these reads this summer, and we’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Have you read any of these? What’s on your reading list? What should we be picking up this summer?