An American Editor

November 5, 2012

The Holidays Gift List of Books

Filed under: Books & eBooks — Rich Adin @ 4:00 am
Tags: ,

The holiday season will soon be upon us. I don’t look forward to the holiday season like I did when I was a child because now I have to bear the expense and not just be a recipient. It was so much easier when I was a child!

But aside from the expense, the thing I hate/fear most is the question my children and wife ask me every holiday season: “What would you like for the holidays?” At my age, I already have everything I need and really want, and if something comes along that I want, I don’t think “that would make a great holiday gift for the kids to get me” and set the idea aside; instead, I buy it myself. Telling my wife and children what holiday gifts I would like is difficult and frustrating. I have tried suggesting that they donate to a charity in my name, but that has had only limited success. They do make the donation, but still insist I come up with something that can be wrapped and opened and is just for me.

This year I have decided to ask you for help in making my list. I would like book recommendations. When you make your recommendation, please give a short synopsis of the book, including its genre and whether it is fiction or nonfiction, and indicate whether it is available as an ebook, a hardcover, and/or a paperback. Please do not recommend any Amazon-exclusive books.

Getting recommendations from colleagues is a great way to be introduced to books I (and you) might not otherwise know about or read. Hopefully, your responses will serve as a basis for gift lists for others in addition to me. To get things rolling, here are two suggestions:

  • When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan Sarna (nonfiction; history; ebook, hardcover). In 1862, in the midst of the American Civil War, General Grant ordered the expulsion of 150,000 Jews from the territory under his command. Grant’s order was rescinded by President Lincoln a few weeks later, but the incident remains both little known and little discussed in American history.
  • The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker (fiction; steampunk fantasy; ebook) is the story of Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, and how they join together to prevent a plot to kill the emperor. Their reward is to become wanted themselves, although the emperor seems to have become smitten with Amaranthe.

I’m already putting together a list of nonfiction hardcover books that I’m interested in reading. On my list are these titles:

  • The Story of Ain’t by David Skinner
  • Heaven on Earth by Sadakat Kadri
  • The Second World War by Anthony Beevor
  • Henry Ford’s War on Jews by Victoria Saker Woeste
  • The Message and the Book by John Bowker
  • The Atheist’s Bible by George Minois
  • The Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran by Habib Levi
  • On Politics: A History of Political Thought by Alan Ryan

I am also interested in a subscription to Lapham’s Quarterly, which looks like a very interesting “magazine” edited by Lewis Lapham, longtime editor of Harper’s.

What books do you suggest?


  1. How about the final William Manchester book about Churchill, even though it was completed by someone else? That’s what I’m getting for Wayne-the-Wonderful. I don’t know if you like historical fiction, but if you do, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’s Morland Dynasty is fascinating – and it would last you quite awhile, since she has something like 40 books in the series! For the mystery reader in you, I love Harrod-Eagles’s Bill Slider series, and I recently discovered the novels of Julia Spencer-Fleming, which I’ve found to be well-written and absorbing (although two different spellings of one character’s name made me twitch!).


    Comment by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter — November 5, 2012 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  2. You might like “Tears in the Darkness” by the Normans; it’s the story of the Bataan Death March and afterward. Much better, I thought, than Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”.


    Comment by Elaine Mayes — November 9, 2012 @ 8:11 am | Reply

  3. This is not new, but if you’ve not read it I highly recommend “How the Irish Saved Civilization” (subtitled “The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe”), by Thomas Cahill. A delightful and scholarly compendium of Irish myth, Irish history, and the debt we all owe to Celtic Christianity, amongst other bits of history for the time period described. And if you have read this, other entries in his series of “Hinges of History” are well worth a look.


    Comment by Kay Shapero — November 12, 2012 @ 10:38 pm | Reply

  4. […] list of hardcover books I would like. Last year I published my list on An American Editor in “The Holidays Gift List of Books“; I thought I would do the same this year and see if you have any suggestions for hardcover […]


    Pingback by The Holidays Gift List of Books II | An American Editor — November 20, 2013 @ 4:01 am | Reply

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