Waking Up: a guide to spirituality without religion, by Sam Harris
This House of Grief, by Helen Garner (Enjoyed might not be the right word for this book but it is beautifully written)
Upstairs at the Party, by Linda Grant
Reading, to me, at its most fundamental level, is freedom. Everyone who grows up loving books truly is much better off in life. The more curious you are about books, the more you self-educate. Kids start to get that in their teenage years—books can either be homework, or they can be fuel for rebellion. If it’s the latter, you love reading.
The teachings of Buddhism, and of Eastern spirituality generally, focus on the primacy of the mind. There are dangers in this way of viewing the world, to be sure. Focusing on training the mind to the exclusion of all else can lead to political quietism and hive-like conformity. The fact that your mind is all you have and that it is possible to be at peace even in difficult circumstances can become an argument for ignoring obvious societal problems. But it is not a compelling one. The world is in desperate need of improvement—in global terms, freedom and prosperity remain the exception—and yet this doesn’t mean we need to be miserable while we work for the common good.