White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America by Joan C. Williams: A short, straightforward book that clearly lays out the problems that what she calls the “professional-managerial elite” (those in the US with household incomes in the top 20% and at least one member who is a college graduate) has communicating with and understanding what she calls the “working class” (those in the U.S. with household incomes in the middle 53%, and those households in the top 20% with no member who is a college graduate). Seems like it’s written with common sense and an understanding of both sides of the fence, although it seems to be intended as a quick overview, not an in-depth analysis, of many complex issues. A more critical review of this book can be found at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Thrive in Retirement: Simple Secrets for Being Happy for the Rest of Your Life, by Eric Thurman: An easy-going discussion about life in retirement, filled with earnest exhortations and positive quotes for living a good life, mostly designed for those privileged enough to have retirement as a choice. (The finances chapter does acknowledge that many don’t.) I found most of it less utilitarian than I’d personally prefer; its three appendices may be the most useful part of the book, designed to help you clarify your wishes about your end-of-life care, the gifts you want to make to your family and friends, and similar issues. (As someone who had to sort out the affairs of a parent who died unexpectedly and intestate, I encourage everyone to do this kind of planning to save their loved ones the heartache and confusion my sister and I went through.) Note that this book has a Christian perspective, especially in the chapter on the soul.
Clarity by Keith Thomas: A neuroscience thriller — a girl plagued by other people’s memories, secret government experimentation, and lots of narrow escapes and murderous violence. An entertaining summertime sort of read that asks what it might be like to remember hundreds of past lives and how those memories could possibly be passed along.