Guess I have been tagged too. Thanks, Burr in the Burgh. I was afraid this would happen.
Here's the game:
Imagine that a local philanthropist is hosting an event for local high school students and has asked you to pick out five to ten books to hand out as door prizes. At least one book should be funny and at least one book should provide some history of Western Civilization and at least one book should have some regional connection. The philanthropist doesn't like foul language (but will allow some four-letter words in context, such as expressed during battle by soldiers). Otherwise things are pretty wide open. What do you pick?
1. Funny: Junk English by Ken Smith Smith criticizes pernicious misuse and abuse of English words, especially in mass-media advertising. Quite funny.
2. Western Civilization: Modern Fascism by G.E. Veith. I am fascinated by the history of Hitler and Nazism, and Veith gives some good insight in to what made Fascism tick then, and why it may rear its head again in a modern context.
3. Western Civilization: The Freemasons : A History of the World's Most Powerful Secret Society by Jasper Ridley More scholarly. Less half-baked-crackpot-conspiracy theory.
4. Western Civilization: Pope Joan : A Novel by Donna Cross Historical fiction about a female pope. Apparently there is some evidence for this! Regardless the novel is interesting for its portrayal of everyday life in the Middle Ages.
5. Other: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. The prequel to the acclaimed "DaVinci Code", this novel reads much the same (fast-paced, plot twists). The setting, though, is the death of one pope and the conclave to elect the next. Some interesting insight into the process which has been in the news lately. Some neat art history in there too, albeit with Brown's conspiracy twist.
6. Other: The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense by Suzette H. Elgin If you use the English language, this book can come in real handy.
7. Racking my brain over something regional. Here's the closest I can find.
Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist by Dan Barker. Ok, I can't really recommend this book except that it paints a truly sad picture of one man's descent into hard-core atheism. It also, for me, shows some of the dangers of modern Evangelical theology (which Barker came from). Made me glad I am a Lutheran. And I put it under regional because he lives in Madison, Wisconsin (not too far from here) and is associated with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based there.
Ok. I now tag: Sceleratissimus-lutheranus, Terrible Swede, and Cyberstones.