Our topic this week is to tell what books we might give to a person for a special occasion, crossing a milestone. For instance, a wedding.
That one is easy: “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”.
I scoffed at such pop-culture psychology until for whatever reason, I actually read the book.
I wish I had had it when we first got married.
It simply explains why men and women miscommunicate so badly, often even when they really are trying to understand each other; men and women usually just see things differently.
One example is that when most men are trying to work out a problem, they internalize; they ponder on it. When his wife tries to pull it out of him, get him to talk, he gets upset and can’t figure it out. On the other hand, often when a woman has a problem, she wants to talk it out; it helps most women to think out loud. Her husband will simplify her problem, or offer advice which she won’t take, and that upsets him. Why? Because men usually don’t discuss a problem unless they are looking for help.
Or, husbands will often suggest that a woman seek help or take classes or training when their wives voice self-doubt when embarking on a career or project, thinking that they are being supportive and helpful, when really, all their wives want is to be encouraged and have their confidence bolstered. In that case, the women are completely deflated, and the husbands have no clue as to what they did wrong. It helps when at least one of the partners realizes what is going on.
These are just a couple of examples and even though I was married for a quarter of a century before I read the book, it helped me.
A new baby? “The Care and Feeding of Sick Children” is one I’d recommend. It is written by a nurse who gives good rule-of-thumb medical advice, but she is a mom first. One quote is: “As a health-care professional I know that teething cannot cause fevers, diarrhea,[and several other maladies], but as a mother, I know that it can.” A common sense approach.
And I’d add a selection of good, classic story books that the parents will enjoy reading over and over, including, but not limited to, “The Tawny, Scrawny Lion”, “Tootle”, “The Little Red Caboose”, Sesame Street’s “I Want a Hat Like That”, plus standard nursery rhymes, including poetry such as “The Owl and the Pussycat”, “Winken, Blinken and Nod”, and the childhood poems of Robert Louis Stevenson. In other words, simple stories that can be read to the smallest babies; it’s never too early to start reading to them.
For a young person entering society,( a real job in the real world that may have social implications), I’d have them read Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”, where pride ruined a wonderful career and the life of a married couple.
Stephen Vincent Benet’s “The Bishop’s Beggar” should be put in the hands of anyone newly ordained , or who will be in any position of authority ,entrusted with the concern of others. The bishop in the book is forced to confront his true character and do the right thing for his flock, and for his own soul.
For a recent Middle School, High School graduate or even a college graduate, I’d give a good writing handbook, like “Write Source 2000”.They can always use a good reference book that is easy to use and helps them to recall what they learned, or should have learned, in their classes. Good writing comes in handy in nearly any class they may take or any job they might have.
Those are the top-of-my-head choices during a very busy time at myplace.
Do you have any other suggestions for the groups I mentioned?