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Conn's Library of Must Reads

Updated on February 26, 2012
Well, my name is John Connor
Well, my name is John Connor


Where do I start? Where does one start? I was blessed with wonderful parents who tried to encourage me to read from an early age. Man, did they try... By middle school I had read very little; although I did become excited about one "classic" book titled Roger Crozier: Daredevil Goalie. Have you ever read that? I thought not...

However, I was not one to be encouraged by an activity that I considered void of movement and excitement. By the end of high school I was still not reading much at all. I had (what I considered successfully) skipped reading Shakespeare by depending on Cole's/Cliff's Notes. I lived on Cole's/Cliff's Notes and I actually thought I was clever; I was not. By the end of my undergraduate years' at university I still had not read many other books (other than minute parts of textbooks). However, thankfully, I was exposed to two of Henry David Thoreau's Classics namely Walden and an essay called Civil Disobedience.

At this time in my life I had three, well maybe four significant interests. These included, a beautiful woman named Kate, the sport of ice hockey, the outdoors/wilderness and the study of history. It was significant that I enjoyed the wilderness, during my summers between undergraduate semesters I was employed by Kimberly Clark as a timber cruiser and surveyor. This actually placed me into a situation where I had significant time to read (my environment was void of T.V. and other distractions). I began to increase my reading and thus, like many things in life that we practice, I began to enjoy it. I soon found that reading enabled me to be transported somewhat into the environment that I was reading. Go figure... Sometimes I read through the night to ensure i finished what I was reading so that I could continue with my "other existence."

I fell in love with a beautiful woman; yet I also fell in love with reading. Especially a science fiction trilogy by Isaac Asimov (which influenced me later when I eventually became a psychologist), some of Henry David Thoreau's works, A guy named J. R.R. who quickly became my favorite in the 80s; especially one that he originally named (working title) There and Back.

Well in the early 90s I attended graduate school and became a licensed school psychologist and subsequently a professor. Now I was reading more and more. Was I becoming obsessive compulsive about reading? Towards the end of the 90s I began to author some short non-fiction pieces. Nothing serious. Yet I still enjoyed reading during any moment that I was spared. I had been transformed, transduced and/or morphed.

In the next milinium I found myself coauthoring a worst-seller and reading even at a most rapid-rate. I did not begin to read C.S. Lewis until this Milinium (what a idiot I was last century)... What a wise philosopher and he has shared so much enveloped in significant history (i.e. WW II). Malcolm Gladwell has added to our wisdom by his research and reflection more or less through his social science lense. I did not truly understand the timing and logic of the American Revolution battles until I read and re-read Christopher Ward's work. Our Revolution began when it did only because of a complete blockade of a hockey-town, no not Detroit rather Boston. Dr. John Medina has authored two wonderful books that bring to the surface many issues that are indeed wrong with our society. Wonderful and invaluable guidance for raising children...

If only I had read The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner when I was 17 (not 17 for the 3rd time). Wow, could I have added longevity to my reading years... I contest one of the most effective health classes in high school would be to read and discuss this book...


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    • connorj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Connor 

      4 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Unlike me, your memory is excellent; although, I really love Lewis' Mere Christianity especially in this most dangerous era, that seems so similar to the mid 1930s prior to WW II...

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      4 of your choices, Thoreau, C.S.Lewis, Gladwell and Tolkien are on the top of my favourites. My Lewis favourite is The Screwtape Letters. Is my memory right?

    • connorj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Connor 

      7 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Hi Julie,

      THank you for your guidance I purchased two books that discuss the friendship between Clive and John. I have finished the first and already misplaced the second. I am frantically searching for it (although the elves may have found it...). That group they belonged to at Oxford University, the Inklings was fascinating to read about...

      Thank you once again.


      John Connor

    • connorj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Connor 

      7 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Thank you for the advise; I purchased 2 books on this topic; I have only read one (so far; it was fascinating. I was not aware of their friendship and the fact that C.S. Lewis was instrumental in keeping John focused on finishing Lord of the Rings and that John was instrumental in bringing C. S. Lewis back to his senses about God...

      Thank you!

    • connorj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Connor 

      7 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Dear Julie,

      Thank you for your insight and book recommendation; I will purchase a copy this week (hopefully @ Barnes & Noble)...

      Thank you,

      John Connor

    • Juliek958 profile image


      7 years ago from Norman, Oklahoma

      Excellent list and I'm happy to say, I've read several of these! You might be interested in an obscure book. Christopher Tolkein put together a book of letters of his dad which includes correspondence between him and C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend it!

    • connorj profile imageAUTHOR

      John Connor 

      7 years ago from Altamonte Springs

      Never retire instead read and slip into your "reads" then after you have been "there and back" share your wisdom with your students... Then maybe just maybe you will have a revelation on what to write for your audience...

    • dkm27 profile image


      7 years ago from Chicago

      Beautiful list of reads. Your intellect is far more advanced than mine. As a reading teacher, I read young adult books so that I can recommend them to my teen readers. I must admit that I adore YA books. The Burn Journals, Fat Kid Rules the World, Kissing the Rain, Stuck in Neutral are heart-wrenching reads. When I retire, I will return to "grown-up" text.


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