Books

I thought that I would add a page that lists books that I am reading or have read.

Currently Reading:

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan – One of my co-workers let me borrow this book. It’s about the demise of Bear Stearns. I’m 35 pages into it and it’s already riveting.

Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945 by Carlos D’este – I’m around page 100 (of 800 or so) and so far this is a good book. I like this guy’s writing style. Churchill is in the cavalry in India and has pretty much been an ass for most of his life up to this point.

Books I’ve Read:

Duma Key by Stephen King – I usually take a break after three or four non-fiction books, especially when they are of the 800 to 1000 page variety, and read some fiction. Stephen King is great for these breaks because he’s a good storyteller and you don’t have to think to much when reading his stuff. This was not one of his best endeavors. It was OK, but kind of slow and there wasn’t  really any tension in the book until the last 75 pages or so. Still it provided a nice break.

The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997 by Piers Brendon – I am only 75 pages (out of 700 something) into this book and already it is riveting. This book reminds of Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton in that it’s a slow read but very interesting.

Getting It Right by William F. Buckley Jr. – This is one of WFB’s many novels. I’ve never read his fiction before because I had a vague sense that it wouldn’t be any good. I rather thought that since his usual writing and speaking style is very learned and professorial that the dialogue in his fiction would be particularly bad. I have been happily surprised. I’m only a few pages into the book but it is already very good.

The Reagan I Knew by William F. Buckley Jr. – This is the book WFB was working on when he died. It’s a short little biography of the friendship of two of the great leaders of the modern Conservative movement. The chapters mix correspondence, Firing Line transcripts, old WFB columns and current observations. So far a nice little book.

One Man’s America : The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation by George F. Will – This is a book that reprints all of Will’s columns from the past few years. The book is arranged categorically rather than chronologically which I liked. Even thought I had read almost every one of the columns before, this was still a great read. Will is the most articulate Conservative voice in America. This book should be read by anyone interested in politics (or history or baseball) regardless of what side of the fence you’re on.

Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan – I don’t usually read “thrillers” but I had seen Andrew on an interview show called Uncommon Knowledge hosted at National Review Online and he seemed like a really cool guy. It was a quick read and had a really suspenseful ending. The main character was a social conservative and the book was a little preachy about that, but overall I thought it was good enough that I might check out some of his other stuff.

Just After Sunset by Stephen King – A collection of short stories and King does short stories well. I am reading this while taking a break from the Churchill book which I like but just can’t seem to pick back up right now.

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell- This is an historical novel about the famous Hundred Years War battle where about 5,000 British (4,000 of which were archers armed with the famous English longbow) whipped the hell out of about 30,000 French. Cornwell is great at writing historical fiction. I’ve read a lot of his stuff of his and this is one of my favorite.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis – After reading What’s So Great About Christianity I decided to reread the apologetics classic by Lewis. It’s a quick easy read (I’ve been reading it for a couple of days and am almost finished) and is very insightful.

Sitting Bull by Bill Yenne – I got this book for Christmas and, so far, it is a struggle to read. My brother-in-law said that he saw this on a best of 2008 list. The author writes like a 6th grader and I’m not really sure how he got a book deal. A sample of his fine writing: “He was a great man. But he was also a human man.” Genius!

City of God by E. L. Doctorow – In the words of Luke Skywalker; What a piece of junk! This book was horrible. It was so bad that I don’t want to waste my time saying anything else about it.

What’s So Great About Christianityby Dinesh D’Souza – This is a book of Christian apologetics that is specifically written to refute all of the recent atheist tomes by Dawkins, Hitchens and the like. This book was really good. I think open-minded skeptics would really benefit from it.

President Kennedy: Profile of Powerby Richard Reeves – This book only covers JFK’s presidential years. I really gained a lot of respect for Kennedy after reading this. His Presidency was just dealing with one crisis after another and it’s amazing he held up to all the pressure as well as he did. It would have been interesting to see what he could have done.

America Alone: The End of the World as We Know Itby Mark Steyn – The argument that this book puts forthis that, based on demographics alone, Western Civilization is doomed. The birthrate in Europe is currently at a rate that will half its population nearly every generation. And guess who’s there to fill the void? Which countries have explosive birth rates? You guessed it; the countries where radical Islam is the norm. Chilling stuff, but a great read.

Angle of Reposeby Wallace Stegner – I recently read this book again for the fourth time. It’s rare that I read a book more than once and this is the only book I’ve read more than twice. Stegner won the Pulitzer for this novel. The main character and narrator is an aging author doing research for a book on the life of his grandmother, a New York socialite that ended up marrying an engineer and helped bring civilization to the West. A great book.

Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes & Asides From National Review by William F. Buckley – This is a collection of notable letters to the editor of National Review that Buckley took the time to answer himself. Its pretty funny and makes me regret the fact that I was too young to really “get” Buckley during his heyday.

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis – The paperback version of this ran to about 260-270 pages of actual text (300-something if you include the notes) and they were the longest 260 pages of my life. I have read almost everything Ellis has published and usually love his style, but this one was tough. It took me longer to read this book than either of the 1,000 page plus books I read immediately before it.

World Without End by Ken Follett – Published in October of 2007, this is the sequel to his 1989 novel,The Pillars of the Earth. I really enjoyed this book as much as I did the first.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – My wife’s aunt gave this to me for Christmas this past year. I had heard of it but never got around to picking it up. It takes place in 10th century Kingsbridge, England and chronicles the building of the town’s cathedral. A great read if you’re into historical fiction.

Titan : The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.by Ron Chernow – A biography about one of the “Robber Barons”, in this case the founder of Standard Oil. This is a very balanced portrayal of Rockefeller that avoid the demonizations found in so much of the material written about him. He was truly a great American.

Russkaby Edward Rutherfurd – Rutherfurd writes sweeping epics that usually cover over 1000 years (and pages) a la Michener. This one, as the title suggests, is about Russia. Rutherfurdusually has five or six fictional families that interact with actual historical figures and events. I love this author and have read all of his books save one, Sarum.

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris – Morris is considered the definitive biographer of Teddy. This book covers only the period from McKinnley’s death to Roosevelt leaving office. Morris has written another book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which covers his birth to the presidency. He is supposed to release a third that covers the remainder of Roosevelt’s life.

Truman by David McCullough – This is the Pulitzer Prize winning biography of president Harry Truman. I’m about 200 pages in and he’s running for the senate. It’s pretty good so far. I’ve read the John Adams book by McCullough also and really like his writing style.

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3 thoughts on “Books

  1. I was reading some of your entries and am glad to find someone who doesn’t agree with Obama and expresses themselves with clarity. I did vote for him and support most of what he is doing, and am very glad to find voices that will speak from other viewpoints coherently, especially since the Republican Party seems to be flailing. Thanks and keep up the good work!!

  2. Thanks for the comment Alaska. I think that the competition of ideas is what makes our country great. The Founders knew that and intentionally set up a system that encouraged it.

  3. I also appreciate the chance to discuss reasonably and rationally….! 😉 And even to enjoy the differences of opinion and perspective!

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