An American Editor

July 21, 2010

On Today’s Bookshelf (IV)

After my recent post about too many books in my to-be-read (TBR) pile, one would think that I would wise up and simply stop adding to the TBR pile. Alas, books are an addiction for me. I truly believe that every book I obtain I will read in the not-too-distant future, but the rational part of my me knows better.

So, I’ve decided to base my acquisitions on a new rationale: I will be going into semiretirement when I’m 70, which isn’t that far away, and my income will decrease while my time available for pleasure reading will increase. A decreased income will mean less money available to purchase books, so I best build up my collection of reading materials now. Increased time for reading means I will get through more books more rapidly. Seems like a good rationale to me🙂.

No matter how I cut it, however, I love to read. I read all day for work (after all, it would be tough to edit a manuscript without reading it), and when the workday is done, I like to read for pleasure. I don’t watch TV, the kids have moved out, and there is only so much time I am able to spend puttering around the house. So my escapism is books.

Since my last On Today’s Bookshelf (III), I have added these hardcover books to my TBR pile:

  • Henry Clay: The Essential American by David S. Heidler and Jeanne Heidler
  • Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America by Jack Rakove
  • Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius
  • Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller
  • Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century by Ruth Harris
  • A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich
  • American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People by T. H. Breen
  • Imager’s Intrigue: The Third Book of the Imager Portfolio by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

In addition, I have added the following ebooks to my TBR pile on my Sony Reader:

  • Brechalon by Wesley Allison
  • A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
  • Amsterdam 2012 by Ruth Francisco
  • Last Legend of Earth by A.A. Attanasio
  • The Quest for Nobility by Debra L. Martin
  • Amber Magic by B.V. Larson
  • Fall of Thanes and Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley
  • Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone
  • Merlin’s Daughters by Meredith Rae Morgan
  • Miss Anna’s Frigate by Jens Kuhn
  • The Orffyreus Wheel by David Niall Wilson
  • Truitt’s Fix by Rex Evans Wood

I believe I have said this before, but perhaps not. One advantage to my ebook reading device (i.e., my Sony Reader) is that I tend to read both more books and more quickly on it. I have yet to understand why this phenomenon is true, but other ebookers have told me that they, too, experience the same phenomenon. Many ebookers have also said that where they bought 1 or 2 books a month when they were reading print books, that number has tripled and quadrupled with ebooks — and the ebooks are getting read, not just piling up! Consequently, I expect I’ll be able to get through many more of the ebooks — that is, once my wife returns my Sony Reader to me (assuming she does; she has fallen in love with it) — than I will of the hardcovers.

Of the hardcovers in the above list, the only one I have managed to get through is Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius. It is an interesting history of antisemitism and well worth reading if you have any interest in the subject matter. I will warn you, however, that I found it to be a bit dry of a read. It was quite detailed and focused, although long (approximately 850 pages) but in comparison to A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich, which is sitting on my bookshelf, a short read (A Lethal Obsession comes in at approximately 1200 pages). Julius’ book was reviewed in the New York Times earlier this year by Harold Bloom. Subsequently, Edward Rothstein did a comparative review of the Julius and Wistrich books in the New York Times.

Currently, I’ve turned my attention to American history and am reading Henry Clay: The Essential American by David S. Heidler and Jeanne Heidler. I find this to be a well-written book about a fascinating American. One tidbit that I learned: The reason why the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is so powerful is that Henry Clay, upon ascendancy to the position, found himself frustrated by how powerless he was as speaker and decided to change things. His innovations changed the speaker’s position from essentially a parliamentarian’s role to the powerhouse it is today. If you like biography, I’d recommend this book, even though I am only about a third of the way through it at the time of this writing.

As I have noted before, free time may be more precious in the summer months when the outdoors beckon, but there is nothing like a good book to stimulate the mind — and a good ebook reader on which to read.

8 Comments »

  1. What a great reationale! My problem is space, but I keep buying those darned books anyhow.

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    Comment by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter — July 21, 2010 @ 8:24 am | Reply

  2. […] reposted with permission from An American Editor blog […]

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    Pingback by On Today’s Bookshelf (IV) | The Digital Reader — July 21, 2010 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  3. I was thrilled to see you put my book “Quest for Nobility” into your TBR pile. I hope you enjoy it.

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    Comment by Debra L Martin — July 21, 2010 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  4. Ditto Debra’s comments. I had a blast writing “Merlin’s Daughters.” I hope you enjoy reading it.

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    Comment by Meredith — July 22, 2010 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  5. I’m thrilled to have my book, Truitt’s Fix, make your reading list. Looks like it might be a while before you get to it, but I hope you truly enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it! Best wishes,
    Rex Evans Wood (Skip)

    Like

    Comment by Rex Wood — July 22, 2010 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  6. Adding the website for Truitt’s Fix … http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16689
    (it’s free)
    Thanks!

    Like

    Comment by Rex Wood — July 25, 2010 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  7. In line with some of the books on your list, I would recomment “Augustine and the Jews” I thought when I bought it I would learn of, maybe, the root of anti-semistism. I did not but after the reading of the book, I can see some roots of it.

    A book covering some of the same line is “The Yiddish Generation” and the movement of Jews in the old world before and after the change from BCE to AD

    And for light reading, “The Bagel” Why, I thought, would someone write a history of the bagel, but I’m glad I did as I was surprised that it has such an interesting history.

    Like

    Comment by Alan J. Zell — July 28, 2010 @ 1:04 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the suggestions. I have added them to my TBP (to-be-purchased) list.

      Like

      Comment by americaneditor — July 28, 2010 @ 4:43 am | Reply


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