An American Editor

April 23, 2014

On Today’s Bookshelf (XV)

Here is a list of some of the books that I am reading (or acquired and added to my to-be-read pile since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post) either in hardcover or in ebook form:

Nonfiction –

  • Harry Truman and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Shogan
  • The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492 by Maristella Posttiani & Zvi Eckstein
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
  • The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election by Zachary Karabell
  • The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision by Henry Kamen
  • Ghettostad: Lodz and the Making of a Nazi City by Gordon J. Horwitz
  • Eichmann’s Jews: The Jewish Administration of Holocaust Vienna, 1938-1945 by Doron Rabinovici
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781-1997 by Piers Brendan
  • The History of the Renaissance World by Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Heavens are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod by Avrom Bendavid-Val
  • Understanding the Book of Mormon by Grant Hardy
  • Would You Kill the Fat Man? The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us About Right and Wrong by David Edmonds
  • A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination From Persecution to Genocide by Alon Confino
  • Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition by David Nirenberg
  • The Internal Enemy: Slavery and the War in Virginia 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor
  • Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America by Owen Matthews
  • An Idea Whose time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Todd S. Purdum
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BC-1492 AD by Simon Schama
  • The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America by Gerald Horne
  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
  • Sisters: The Lives of America’s Suffragists by Jean H. Baker
  • The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales
  • Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin by Neal Bascomb
  • Wilson by Scott A. Berg
  • Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin
  • Lucrezia Borgia by Sarah Bradford
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
  • To Kill Rasputin : The Life and Death of Gregori Rasputin by Andrew Cook
  • The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America’s Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton
  • The Borgias and Their Enemies: 1431-1519 by Christopher Hibbert
  • Voting for Hitler and Stalin: Elections under 20th Century Dictatorships edited by Ralph Jessen & Hedwig Richter
  • Social Democratic America by Lane Kenworthy
  • Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris by David King
  • The Tigress of Forli: Renaissance Italy’s Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici by Elizabeth Lev
  • Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin’s Plot for Global Revolution by Giles Milton
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Fiction –

  • Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie
  • Cauldron of Ghosts by David Weber & Eric Flint
  • Rex Regis by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • Like a Mighty Army by David Weber
  • The One-Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
  • The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (a 10-book omnibus)
  • The Bat by Jo Nesbo
  • The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
  • Death Is Not the End by Ian Rankin
  • The Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Potzsch
  • The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
  • The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch
  • Freeman by Leonard Pitts
  • The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter
  • Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks
  • Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

I acquired most of the nonfiction books in hardcover and most of the fiction books in ebook.

Alas, I wish I could say that the above list represents all of the books I have added to my library since the last listing, but it doesn’t. I calculated that if I retired today and read four books every week, I would need more than 30 years to read all of the books I have acquired. Fortunately, most of the books are in ebook form (I have acquired more fiction than nonfiction) and I am trying to restrain my purchases.

I have found this to be the primary negative to my being an editor — I never seem to have enough books on hand, always want more, and spend much more than I should on books. On the other hand, editing provides me with a sufficient income to support my book addiction.

I admit that feeding my book addiction was less costly before ebooks. The ease of storage of ebooks encourages me to acquire books for future reading that I wouldn’t acquire if I had to acquire them in print form; in the latter case, I would wait until I had reduced my to-be-read pile significantly.

I also note that once I started acquiring ebooks, I also increased my hardcover acquisitions. My son claims (tongue in cheek) he will be able to have a comfortable retirement just from the sale of my library.

What books have you acquired in recent months that you would recommend being added to the TBR pile?



  1. Richard, I hope we get to read in heaven! Thanks for asking for book recommendations.

    Louise Penny is one of the best fiction writers I’ve read; her series starts with “Still Life” (how do I put italics in a comment?). Carol Cassella nears or equals Penny’s ability to grab me with her writing: start with “Oxygen” and keep going.



    Comment by Camille DeSalme — April 23, 2014 @ 10:09 am | Reply

    • I have several Louise Penny ebooks in my TBR pile. I am not familiar with Carol Cassella, but I may check her out. The problem (for me) with fiction is that I read genres in spurts. When I’m in the mood for mystery, I may read nothing (fiction-wise) but mystery for 6 months. Right now I’m in SF/Fantasy mode.


      Comment by americaneditor — April 23, 2014 @ 10:46 am | Reply

  2. I’m laughing, Richard: I eat peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in spurts. I don’t consider it much of a problem.


    Comment by Camille DeSalme — April 23, 2014 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  3. I find it hard to recommend books unless I’m intimately acquainted with someone’s tastes; in AE’s case, his scope is so broad, I suggest scanning down my list of reviews at, and see if anything catches the eye. No SF/F on that list, but lots of good mystery/crime and some quite interesting nonfiction.

    For myself, I’m plowing through the entirety of Zane Grey’s ouvre and loving it; recommend the westerns to anyone who enjoys romance in its broad scene (idealism and passion for important things in life, as compared to the category aimed mainly at women and focusing on love affiars) set in grand country involving big adventure and characters struggling with spiritual/moral issues while doing important things. Not all the books are westerns; some focus on other events like building the Hoover Dam.

    (Personal opinion about Louise Penny: Fabulous writer, but the later books in her Inspector Gamache series have gotten a bit over the top and lost their magic.)


    Comment by Carolyn — April 24, 2014 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  4. I’ve been meaning to read The Book Thief for a few years now. Good luck with your reading.


    Comment by triciatallen — April 24, 2014 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

    • An excellent book. Both my wife and I have read it and we are now looking forward to seeing the movie version.


      Comment by americaneditor — April 25, 2014 @ 3:56 am | Reply

      • Sounds good. I’ll have to read it before watching the movie as well 🙂


        Comment by triciatallen — April 25, 2014 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  5. Most recently I’ve read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (young adult fiction, but an interesting story). I would also recommend Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (he’s also the author of the Tuesday Next mysteries) and Towing Jehovah by James Morrow. That last one I read for a college Lit class on science fiction a couple of years ago. I don’t know that I would have called it science fiction, myself, but it’s definitely got an interesting perspective on religion.


    Comment by willowtreecopyediting — April 29, 2014 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  6. You must be a very fast reader! Where do you find the time?

    Mary-Anne Pops Academic copy editor


    Comment by Mary-Anne Pops — May 12, 2014 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

    • No, not a fast reader but someone who cherishes books and knowledge and can’t resist buying a book that interests him — with the expectation of eventually reading the book (of course, some books I have been patiently waiting for their publication and they get read immediately). Although I have read some of the books on the list, I have not read all of them and considering that I keep buying and adding to my TBR pile, it is unlikely that I will ever get through my TBR pile. If I stopped buying books today, I would have enough in my TBR pile to last at least 5 years of concentrated reading (minimum of 8 hours a day). I’m already at work on the next list to share.


      Comment by americaneditor — May 13, 2014 @ 5:37 am | Reply

  7. […] hasn’t been very long since my last On Today’s Bookshelf (XV) was published, just two months. But it seems that I have had the (mis)fortune (depending on […]


    Pingback by On Today’s Bookshelf (XVI) | An American Editor — June 25, 2014 @ 4:01 am | Reply

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