Skip to comments.Five Books Definitely Worth Reading
Posted on 12/24/2011 11:43:27 PM PST by iowamark
The great novelist John Updike once said hed gotten to know so many writers over his years in the literary world that it limited the books he agreed to review. He didnt feel comfortable criticizing the books of friends or acquaintances. Updike said this, by the way, in a conversation with Nieman fellows at Harvard in 1978.
One can understand his reluctance. Even mild criticism might provide the wrath of the author and end a friendship. Praise for the book of a friend might be written off as intellectually dishonest.
However, Im not going to let friendships stop me. Five of my friends published books in recent months, and Ive benefited from reading all or parts of them. Biased though I may be, I highly recommend all five.
A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny by Amy Julia Becker. I knew before I read the book that it would be brilliant, and it is. A Princeton grad, she lived at our house for a year when she worked in Christian outreach to private schools. Her book is the story of discovering the rewards and joys of raising Penny, a child with Down syndrome.
December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley. This enthralling account of the early weeks of World War II on the home front is a departure for Shirley, the chronicler of Ronald Reagans campaigns and the first Reagan scholar at the Gippers alma mater, Eureka College in Illinois. Never before or since has America been so unified, Shirley writes.
The High Tide of American Conservatism: Davis, Coolidge, and the 1924 Election by Garland S. Tucker III. John Yates, the rector of the Falls Church (Anglican), asked me to look at a manuscript by Tucker, his cousin and an investment banker in Raleigh, North Carolina. I expected an amateurish effort, but the book turned out to be a politically astute, smoothly written, and quite readable. I was proud to write the foreword.
The Case of Polarized Politics: Why America Needs Social Conservatism by Jeffrey Bell. Bells 1992 book, Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality, earned him the reputation as a thinker far ahead of the crowd on the political curve. This is a kind of sequel, a defense of both social issues and polarization. No one else could have written this book.
The Man in the Middle: An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era by Tim Goeglein. At the heart of this book is the personal story of a White House aide who got in trouble for plagiarism. How President Bush handled the situation tells a lot about his character and his loyalty to those who worked for him.
Updike set a high standard for ethical book reviewing. As a result, he was often reduced to reviewing books I thought were fairly obscure. Im obviously playing favorites here. But, trust me, their books are definitely worth reading.
My dad told me this one is good, too.
“Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples”
Bookmarking for later evaluation.
I read that one twice.
1. Caliphate by Tom Kratman - chilling view of a future Europe under the bootheel of Islamists.
2. One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexsander Solzhenitsyn - view of an ‘everyman’ under the worst that a liberal government can do.
3. The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter - fascinating... and authorized sequel to the H. G. Well’s The Time Machine.
4. Earth Abides by George Stewart - details the fall of civilization/near total destruction of humanity due to a virulent new disease... and how the survivors rebuild
5. In the Courts of the Crimson Kings by S. M. Stirling - alternate earth where the US/Russian space race discovers human life on Mars, resulting in the nuclear arms race being transmuted into a race to colonize/convert Mars before the other does. Mars is essentially Barsoom from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ work.
Wealth of Nations- Adam Smith
All four volumes? That is quite a feat. Now read his six volume history of World War II.
Compare/contrast to Scooter Libby and get back to me about loyalty. As to "DC inider Barnes", I think about him as little as possible.
Just got his latest release (Dec 22) "Covert Warriors" and though I'm itching to read it, am saving it for when I get to Florida after the 1st.
Can picture it now: Me, sitting in my lounge chair in shorts (while everyone up here in the People's Republic of Socialist Moonbats are freezing) sipping on iced cold Becks and listening to to Jimmy Buffett, while I devour this (sure to be) great book.
Also picked up Clancy's latest "Locked On," as well as "Stealth Jihad," "Muslim Mafia," and "Subversion, Inc." to round out my reading material....at least for the 1st week I'll be there.
For any of you military or vets, Griffin is soooo good, he makes you reflect on your service and you can relate to much of what he writes, the places he describes as well as the characters.
Higly recommend his "Corps" as well as his "Brotherhood of War" series.
Yes, I thought about this book immediately when I saw Updike’s name. The New Yorker got him to write a negative review of the book - he had zero qualifications to review it, other than being a child in the 1930s.
In the mid-1970's, Craig Shirley was active in the Young Americans for Freedom. For a time, he ran the Southern California YAF office on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.
I believe one of the wonders of our time is the Kindle. Here’s a list of several books. I can go to my Kindle, in my own home, download a free sample, then purchase the book (often at a lower price than a book store, and read it anywhere. I am now just finishing up on Craig Shirley’s book.
Tea Partyers should pay attention to “The Devils Advocate”.
Written by Taylor Caldwell. Good luck getting it. A survival book by someone who knew long before any of us what was in the cards.
By the way, I will share mine. You won’t get it on Kindle and will have a hard time getting it anywhere.
There is a reason for that.
I discovered George Stewart in high school when I read his novel Storm (New York: Random, 1941), about how a Pacific storm dubbed Maria by a weatherman affects the lives of many individuals. The Walt Disney TV program "Storm Called Maria" (1959) was based on the book. I saw it on TV in 1959 and later watched a 16 mm version.
I also read Fire (New York: Random, 1948) about a forest fire in the Sierra Nevada, and Sheep Rock, about a poet who tries to piece together the history of a rock formation in the Nevada desert from the relics he finds.
I found lots of copies at abebooks.com.
I cast my vote for Half Price Books- Started in Dallas, now in 15 states.
I hadn’t heard of that. Thanks.
Yeah, there are copies from about 15 bucks. All paperbacks.
Well, so is mine.
Bought “Witness” for family member this Christmas. Best gift I could ever give.
I pimp this book to anyone who will listen!
It’s a series of 4 books. Sir Winston was a superb writer.
I'm halfway through the last volume.
Enjoying it greatly, but I still laugh at the title Clement Attlee suggested after it was published..... "Things in history that interested me."
I should have gotten them from my dad when I was there last Thursday. But now they are headed for Arizona so I’ll have to wait until next summer.
I’m sure he told me there were four volumes, but it in all the excitement I forgot.
“The Gulag Archipelago” by Solzhenitsyn. “Road To Serfdom” by Hayek. “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Goldberg. Three well worth reading. In the case of the TGA, it’s a trilogy, so that makes six books.
I ordered one for fourteen bucks.
Yikes. I am glad I bought mine 5 years ago.
Another good one is “Ceremony Of The Innocent”. Caldwell had the personaloty and motives of the left down pat over 50 years ago. They are still the same with the same motives. When she starts to describe her characters, you recognize a leftist right away.
Later on in her career she veered toward religion. Who can blame her seeing things as she did?
Even today, those on the left hate her. I bough a book of hers on Amazon a few years back and she was described as a hated conservative author. LOL
The Virginian by Owen Wister. Arguably one of the best American novels written.
This book will put a chill in your spin and make the hairs on your neck stand up as it describes an outcome of the US that is more likely than fiction. While he wrote it to be fiction, life started imitating art and this story become scarier by the page.
His book “Castigo Cay” was my first, then I read Enemies Foreign and Domestic last week, I am about 3/4ths through the second of his first three books, the one you are describing.
It is an absolute chilling possible prediction in every detail just what may happen. I bet Matt had some certain high ranking officials at some time or another suggesting he get writers “cramp”.
You are aware that he posts here at FR occasionally? I am a sudden and devout fan of his novels and I sincerely hopes he continues, especially his Dan Kilmer character.
Merry Christmas ya’ll!!
Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work
I’m surprised McCay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness of Crowds” isn’t on the list, Circa 1840’s, still a great read.