I read over 50 books last year. These are the 5 every father should read.
1. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This is a repeat read for me and it will continue to be in a constant rotation. Lewis understands human behavior and the little justifications we have for our monstrous sin. I’m fond of calling this one “non-fiction” because it is so true to life and you can recognize yourself in many of the letters.
Also a good one to introduce to your children after they are 10 years old. It’s accessible and will provide many opportunities for conversation and vocabulary to help them start working through their own temptations and emotions. Help prepare them for spiritual warfare.
This time, I listened on audio book and the reader gives a wonderful performance.
2. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
A cultural critique framed around the way we educate our children. You will be convicted yet urged on to better things. A must-read for every father. You can see my summary here.
You will want to keep your kids far, far away from public schools.
3. A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind by Michael D. O’Brien
Children are affected by everything we put inside their heads. They are sponges. This book will help you navigate the world of books for children and help you choose nutritious food for their imagination.
A good companion piece to Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. Help prepare their mind to recognize both good and evil. Chesterton once said something like
“Children know that dragons exist. Good stories let them know that dragons can be defeated.”
The book includes a huge list of recommended books organized by age ranges, which alone is worth the price of the book.
4. Something They Will Not Forget by Joshua Gibbs
What is the purpose of education? Why do we keep making kids memorize things that they forget 30 seconds after they take the test?
This book doesn’t knock memorizing things, but it wants us to be more intentional about what we are telling kids to memorize. What is important?
A quick read and easy to digest.
This inspired me to create my own family catechism where, every night, we all state our values and work on memorizing beautiful passages of literature and Scripture.
5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A book about the love a father has for his son and his desperation to protect him in a post-apocalyptic world. One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. Believe the hype. Get lost in the story. And then do better.
6. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
If you want a dystopian novel that most predicts what we are going through right now, try this one. I’d recommend the entire Space Trilogy by Lewis, but you can still enjoy this one without reading the first two.
Beyond its nightmarish technocratic predictions, the book also dives into the relationships of husbands and wives and deals extensively with what it is to be “masculine.”
Unlike other dystopian novels, this one has a happy ending, because Lewis knows that in the end, the good guys always win. Or at least, the Good Guy.
7. The Paideia of God by Douglas Wilson
Essays in education by one of the founders of the modern classical education movement. This book probably has an essay that answers your questions and objections. You may not agree with the answers, but they will make you think.
Take your children’s education seriously.