An American Editor

July 25, 2016

On Today’s Bookshelf XXVI

The time since my last On Today’s Bookshelf post (On Today’s Bookshelf XXV) has resulted in some interesting acquisitions for my library as a perusal of the lists below will show.

Interestingly, I have bought (and received) in the current month alone 15 hardcovers and 29 ebooks. Although I bought some of the ebooks at Barnes & Noble, most I bought at Smashwords, which is having its annual July Summer/Winter Sale. If you are an ebook reader, now is the time to head to Smashwords; the sale ends July 31.

The hardcovers I bought in July and list here are the ones I have received. In looking at my records, it appears that I have more on order that are supposed to be delivered by July’s end. Here is the list of July hardcovers received:

Nonfiction –

  • Frederick the Great: King of Prussia by Tim Blanning
  • The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andres Resendez
  • Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler by Stefan Ihrig
  • The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren
  • In Reckless Hands: Skinner V. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics by Victoria F. Nourse
  • The Eugenics Movement: An Encyclopedia by Ruth C. Engs
  • The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History by Andrew G. Bostom
  • The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings

Fiction –

  • Summer Dragon: First Book of the Evertide by Todd Lockwood (Signed Book)
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  • Age of Myth: Book One of The Legends of the First Empire by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Flag in Exile 20th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by David Weber
  • Fellside by M.L. Carey (Signed Book)
  • Wolf’s Empire: Gladiator by Claudia Christian and Morgan Grant Buchanan (Signed Book)

I also bought some fiction ebooks. The following is a partial list of the fiction ebooks I bought this month:

  • The Collars of Phaleran by Ashely Abbiss
  • Ice Station X by V. Bertolaccini
  • Ravens in the Sky by Will Bly
  • Children of the Trident by B. Albert Brier
  • The Ascension Trilogy by David S. Croxford
  • The Key by Brian Fisher
  • Philippa Barnes Mysteries Books 1-3 by Trish McCormack
  • The Blue Folio by Matt McMahon
  • The One Hundred by K. Weikel
  • The Safanarion Order Books 1-3 by Ken Lozito
  • Ties That Bind by Carolyn Arnold
  • Forgotten Ages (The Complete Saga) by Lindsay Buroker

Unfortunately for me, those books are not all of the books I have acquired since the last edition of On Today’s Bookshelf. Below is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I have added to my to-be-read pile since that post:

Nonfiction –

  • The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha
  • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others by Sarah Bakewell
  • Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck by Adam Cohen
  • The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History by Tonio Andrade
  • Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion by Susan Jacoby
  • Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era by Thomas C. Leonard
  • The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home by Joyce Goldstein (I also bought copies for gifts)
  • A Scapegoat in the New Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America by Frederic Cople Jaher
  • The Jews and the Nation: Revolution, Emancipation, State Formation, and the Liberal Paradigm in America and France by Frederic Cople Jaher
  • Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire by Peter H. Wilson
  • Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation by Nicholas Guyatt
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
  • The Paper Trail: An Unexpected History of a Revolution Invention by Alexander Monro
  • Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination by Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf

Fiction –

  • Light in a Dark House by Jan Costin Wagner
  • Burned, Pierced, and Scarred (3 novels) by Thomas Enger
  • Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke
  • The Photograph by Beverly Lewis
  • Upon a Dark Night by Peter Lovesey
  • Cold Shoulder (Lorraine Page Series #1) by Lynda LaPlante
  • Crossbones Yard by Kate Rhodes
  • Power in the Blood by Michael Lister
  • The Serial Killer’s Wife by Robert Smartwood
  • Two Strangers by Beryl Matthews
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

I mentioned retirement in my last essay (see Thinking About Retirement). Part of my thinking of retirement is looking at the TBR pile and wondering how many years it will take me to read all of the books I currently have in the TBR pile, the ones that I have preordered and will be coming, and the ones I do not currently know about but that I will buy in the coming months. I keep promising myself that I will stop buying books, but buying books is the bane of my editorial existence.

I guess I will never stop buying books, regardless of whether it is likely that I will be able to read them in my remaining years, until the time arrives when I can no longer read. Are you a book buyer? Have you cut back? Do you have plans to stop buying books?

Richard Adin, An American Editor



  1. I used to be a book buyer, back in the days of used bookshops on every corner where you could pick up paperbacks for cheap, and I lived in towns that had corners with shops. No longer. Used books are now only available to me via tag sales and library book sales, or else online. I stopped acquiring fiction after moving several times, and ultimately pared down to favorites. I wish I’d filled in more favorite series back then, because now it’s hard and expensive to acquire backlists, and I like to reread series ten, twenty years later, or for the first time if I discover a new author. Nowadays I only buy nonfiction I plan to keep as reference, be it for editing or any other topic of interest or application. I also buy coffee table books with grand photography. My bookshelves have been overfull for years, and I don’t want to cull any deeper. It’s become particularly problematic since I took up reviewing, because now I get many free books that I don’t want to keep, and half of those are non-sellable advance reader’s copies. The obvious solution is switching over to e-books, but after spending all day on a computer, I dislike reading for pleasure on an electronic device. I belong to the group that prefers holding a printed book in one’s hand.


    Comment by Carolyn — July 25, 2016 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  2. I don’t expect to ever stop buying books, unless I (terrifying thought) lose my sight. I get new books both online and from the local Barnes & Noble, and used books from a local shop. If something I buy doesn’t turn out to be a book I think I’ll reread, I donate it or trade it in at the used-book store.

    I was going to recommend Dana Stabenow’s Silk and Song trilogy, but the volume of typos was overwhelming in Book II and annoying in I and III. She’s a marvelous writer with at least three series underway; the other two are set in Alaska and are great. This one might have been self-published; I can’t tell. When she thanks her copy editor, who (apparently – maybe it was the author, maybe it was the proofreader) left in “lay” that should be “lie” every single time and missed a lot of other errors, it makes me grind my teeth.


    Comment by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter — July 25, 2016 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  3. Love your list, already jotted a few down for purchase. It does drive me nuts that the more academic ones are so dang expensive, especially when one of them relates directly to areas of research for my novel and other writings. Not familiar with Smashwords, will have to check out what is on there!


    Comment by Megan Cossey — July 25, 2016 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  4. I wish I could stop buying books, but I doubt that will happen. There are always just too many wonderful new books coming out. I do try to limit my purchases to books that will enrich my collections on certain topics: historic costume and haute couture; baking, especially chocolate; and knitting, fine dressmaking, and embroidery. A couple of years ago I got rid of my old collection (dating back to the 1970s) of books about Hollywood and my favorite movie stars, including Marilyn Monroe. The books were worth less than I expected. I sold some on Amazon but it was a bother, so I ended up giving the rest away. I think my collection of fashion books is a lot more valuable–some of the museum exhibition catalogs are worth over $100 because printing was so limited. More importantly, I love those books! The photos inspire me to do finer work when I sew. I admire the craftsmanship, which is almost gone in today’s world. I also buy history books and biographies, among other topics, but because I’m unlikely to reread or consult them, I hand them off when I finish. I recently passed along “Cleopatra” (a best-seller but put me to sleep); “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” by Elizabeth Cline; and “Deep South” by Paul Theroux. (I recommend the last two books.)


    Comment by Christina — July 25, 2016 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  5. Like Carolyn, I prefer holding a printed book in my hands. I, too, spend a lot of time on the computer, and when I read for pleasure, I want to savor the experience, not strain to read the screen. Although it pains me, I’ve had to curtail my book-buying addiction. To modify the apt expression: So many books, so little time — or space! I just have to be realistic, so I have begun the painful process of weeding. I console myself by saying, “I’m not going to read or use this book again. I’ll make it available to someone else who will hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.”


    Comment by Dee H-W — July 26, 2016 @ 11:29 am | Reply

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