Books flow through our lives, year after year. What we read defines what we think, and vice versa. Our thinking changes probably more as a result of encountering new ideas and arguments, and less as a result of genuine insight and internal processing. Today, even the idea of a book is in transition: books become electronic files, and many of them have short life-spans. Our attention spans become shorter as well. Books compete with websites and magazines that report news and interpret them for us as well, like the New York Times, the New Yorker Magazine, the Economist, or Scientific American. These opinion-forming websites deliver a continuous stream of interesting articles, papers and commentary that makes real books almost obsolete. In addition, there is an abundance of information on encyclopedic websites like Wikipedia or Britannica.
So why do we still need books? Because we seek more than just information. We want to understand and discuss the deeper issues of our times, and for this we search not only for opinions and arguments, but for books that provide good summaries, or deeper insight and analysis. A good theory defines the way we think about a field; some books lead to paradigm shifts in our thinking. The following unsystematic book suggestions for 2015 represent only my own perspective. Many of them are not new, I just found them now and they are worthwhile to read. This year is heavy on mysticism, because I researched the literature for a class.
- Merton, Thomas. Mystics and Zen Masters. Reissue edition. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
- Stace, W. T., and Huston Smith. Mysticism and Philosophy. First Paperback Edition edition. Los Angeles : New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1987.
- The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy by Robert K. C. Forman (Editor) Oxford University Press, 1997.
- Mysticism and Religious Traditions (Galaxy Books) 1st Edition by Steven T. Katz (Editor) Oxford University Press; 1983.
- McGinn, Bernard: The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century (The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, Vol. 1) Paperback – April 1, 2004.
- Mysticism and Philosophy Paperback – February 1, 1987 by W.T. Stace (Author)Hent de Vries: Minimal theologies
- A Robert Spaemann Reader: Philosophical Essays on Nature, God, and the Human Person. 1 edition. Oxford University Press, 2015. Print.
- Purcell, Michael. Levinas and Theology. Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
- Vries, Hent de. Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Adorno and Levinas.Trans. Geoffrey Hale. 1st edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. Print.
- Bateson, Gregory: Angels Fear: Towards An Epistemology Of The Sacred. Cresskill, N.J.: Hampton Press, 2004.
- Chauvet, Louis-Marie. The Sacraments – The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body. Collegeville, Minn: Pueblo Books, 2001.
- Kaufmann, Walter A. Critique of Religion and Philosophy. 3rd edition. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979. Print.
- Albert, David Z: After Physics.Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2015. Print.
- Butler, Judith: Senses of the Subject.1 edition. New York: Fordham University Press, 2015. Print.
- Temporarily Yours : Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex. By: Bernstein, Elizabeth. Chicago, 2007.
- Leovy, Jill. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.Reprint edition. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Print.
- Aho, Kevin. Existentialism: An Introduction. 1 edition. Polity, 2014. Print.
Bloom, Dan, and Philip Brownell. Continuity and Change: Gestalt Therapy Now.Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. Print.
- Brownell, Philip. Gestalt Therapy: A Guide to Contemporary Practice.1 edition. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2010. Print.
- Lehar, Steven M. The World in Your Head: A Gestalt View of the Mechanism of Conscious Experience.1 edition. Mahwah, N.J: Psychology Press, 2002. Print.
- Woldt, Ansel L., and Sarah M. Toman. Gestalt Therapy: History, Theory, and Practice.1 edition. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, Inc, 2005. Print.
- Gregory Bateson: Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. (University of Chicago Press, 2000).
- Lynn Margulies: Symbiotic Planet: A New Look At Evolution. (Basic Books, 1999).