The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a novel about a young girl whose family moves to Alaska (the “great alone” of the title) in the 1970s. Her father is a Vietnam vet with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—before PTSD was recognized as it is today. The book is truly about survival—when the external environment is beautiful, harsh, and unforgiving. It explores the thinking and needs of an adolescent in a survival world. Thought-provoking read.

The Seveneves by Neal Stephenson is not a new release, but it is a book I often think about. Bill Gates indicated that he still thinks about this book. It is science fiction, but it starts out so innocuous—a newscast. And then, as the book continues, you realize that the world is actually going to be destroyed as a result of political decisions. The book is an absolutely fascinating look at the relationships between/among politics, technology, human nature, and an unknown environment. As I read it, I thought, “I can see this happening.”