An American Editor

March 22, 2017

On Today’s Bookshelf XXVIII

Since my last On Today’s Bookshelf post (On Today’s Bookshelf XXVII) my library has grown. I want to point out a couple of the books.

The first is Joseph Nigg’s The Phoenix: An Unnatural Biography of a Mythical Beast. It is listed below under nonfiction as I wasn’t really certain how to classify the book. It is a well-written “biography” of a fiction. The phoenix has played an important role in the rise (and fall) of civilizations and remains a cultural constant. The second book I want to point to, which I have not yet read, is American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution by A. Roger Ekirch. I bought this book because of its relevance to the problem of sanctuary today. I thought a historical perspective might be worthwhile.

The list includes several interesting biographies (particularly Karl Marx and Rasputin) and several books that fit into my lifelong quest to understand genocide, especially the Holocaust.

Here is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I have acquired and either read or added to my to-be-read pile since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post. Hopefully, you will find some books of interest to you:

Nonfiction –

  • The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914 by Richard J. Evans
  • Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union by Daniel W. Crofts
  • Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 by Volker Ullrich
  • Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips
  • Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea by Mitchell Duneier
  • Harry Truman and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Shogan
  • Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion by Gareth Stedman Jones
  • Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes
  • Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949 by David Cesarani
  • The Phoenix: An Unnatural Biography of a Mythical Beast by Joseph Nigg
  • The Gestapo: A History of Horror by Jacques Delarue
  • Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by Douglas Smith
  • Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
  • Archie and Amelie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age by Donna M. Lucey
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • The Hands of War: A Tale of Endurance and Hope, from a Survivor of the Holocaust by Marione Ingram
  • Madison and Jefferson by Andrew Burstein
  • American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution by A. Roger Ekirch
  • Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law by James Q. Whitman
  • The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust by Amos N. Guiora
  • Who Betrayed the Jews? The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust by Agnes Grunwald-Spier

Fiction –

  • The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller
  • Recluce Tales: Stories from the World of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • Of Sand and Malice Made: A Shattered Sands Novel by Bradley Beaulieu
  • With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley Beaulieu
  • The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Series #1); The Providence of Fire (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Series #2); and The Last Mortal Bond (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Series #3) by Brian Staveley
  • Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
  • The Stars Are Legion (Signed Book) by Kameron Hurley
  • The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
  • Whill of Agora (Books 1-4) by Michael James Ploof
  • Earthrise (Her Instruments, #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth
  • Black & Blue by Emma Jameson
  • Rise of the Dragons (Kings and Sorcerers Book 1) and Rise of the Valiant (Kings and Sorcerers Book #2) by Morgan Rice
  • Unforeseen (Thomas Prescott Series #1) by Nick Pirog
  • The Lead Cloak by Erik Hanberg
  • The Smuggler’s Gambit by Sara Whitford
  • The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross
  • Code Name: Camelot – A Noah Wolf Thriller by David Archer
  • A Quest of Heroes (Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring) by Morgan Rice
  • Slave, Warrior, Queen (Of Crowns and Glory Book 1) by Morgan Rice
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  • Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan

For the complete collection of On Today’s Bookshelf essays, click on this link. Share books you recommend with us by listing them in a comment.

I mentioned retirement in an earlier essay (see Thinking About Retirement). Looking at my to-be-read (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 has finally made me take the first steps toward retirement. I have begun to say “no” to project offers more frequently and am spending more time reading. The yet-to-be-answered question is how long I will resist saying yes to new projects.

Richard Adin An American Editor

November 28, 2016

On Today’s Bookshelf XXVII

It’s the holiday season and because I am surrounded by books, both for my work and my pleasure, I think about giving books as holiday gifts to family and friends. I would guess that many of you do the same. Consequently, it is time for the my next On Today’s Bookshelf.

There are a goodly number of past On Today’s Bookshelf essays, which you can access by clicking here.

Since my last On Today’s Bookshelf post (On Today’s Bookshelf XXVI), I have acquired the books listed below, among others, for my library. They have been added to my to-be-read pile. Most are hardcovers, but some are ebooks.

Nonfiction –

  • Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation by Nicholas Guyatt
  • Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz by Lucette Matalon Lagnado and Sheila Cohn Dekel
  • The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Testing the Constitution by Terri Diane Halperin
  • Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner by Franny Moyle
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook (previously purchased volumes 1 and 2)
  • American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White
  • Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick
  • The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War by H.W. Brands
  • A Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence by George C. Daughan
  • No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity by Sarah Haley
  • Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom
  • The History of the Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War and The History of The Hudson River Valley: From the Civil War to Modern Times (2 vols) by Vernon Benjamin
  • The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-1945 by Robert Gellately
  • Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips

Fiction –

  •  Shadow of Victory by David Weber
  • At the Sign of Triumph by David Weber
  • Night School by Lee Childs
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  • A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George
  • The Counterfeit Agent by Alex Berenson
  • Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
  • Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon
  • Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
  • The Hermit by Thomas Rydahl
  • The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens
  • Fall from Grace by Tim Weaver

Finally, if you are looking for a great book on the business of editing (to give or receive), check out The Business of Editing: Effective and Efficient Ways to Think, Work, and Prosper (ISBN: 9781434103727), which is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Waking Lion Press.

Please share with An American Editor your suggestions for good books to give as gifts this holiday season. Also share the books you are hoping to receive as gifts or that you have purchased for your own pleasure reading.

Richard Adin, 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

May 25, 2016

On Today’s Bookshelf XXV

In the time since my last On Today’s Bookshelf post (On Today’s Bookshelf XXIV) has resulted in some interesting acquisitions for my library. Here is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I have acquired and added to my to-be-read pile since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post:

Nonfiction –

  • The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan
  • Classical Philosophy: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 1  by Peter Adamson
  • Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 2  by Peter Adamson
  • The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King
  • Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King
  • Top Nazi: SS General Karl Wolff by Jochen von Lang
  • The Last Jews in Berlin by Leonard Gross
  • Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Dreger
  • The Spanish Armada by Robert Hutchinson
  • Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors by R.D. Rosen
  • American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante
  • The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher
  • Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt
  • The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum
  • Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series by David Pietrusza
  • Childhood at Court, 1819-1914 by John van der Kiste
  • Lady Katherine Knollys: The Unacknowledged Daughter of King Henry VIII by Sarah-Beth Watkins
  • Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin
  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis by Julie Kavanagh
  • The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  • The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels
  • Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation by Elaine Pagels
  • The Imjin War: Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China by Samuel Hawley

Fiction –

  • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (signed edition)
  • The First Order by Jeff Abbott
  • Magic Breaks, Magic Binds, and Magic Shifts (3 books) by Ilona Andrews
  • Mutineer, Deserter, and Defiant (3 books) by Mike Shepherd
  • The Forest at the Edge of the World, Soldier at the Door, The Mansions of Idumea, and The Falcon in the Barn (Books 1-4 in the Forest at the Edge series) by Trish Mercer
  • City of Light: An Outcast Novel by Keri Arthur
  • The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • The Case Against William by Mark Gimenez
  • Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo
  • Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (signed limited edition)
  • The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye
  • Imperial Woman: The Story of the Last Empress of China by Pearl S. Buck

As you are reading this, I am on vacation with my son and one of the places we are stopping is Daedalus Books in Columbia , Maryland. I have bought a lot of books from Daedalus online, and thought I’d like to see their retail store and perhaps add to my collection — especially children’s books, which I am hesitant to buy without having first read the book myself or being familiar with the author.

I recently read something that I plan to discuss in a later essay, but thought I would share now. In discussing John Gillingham’s new book, The EU: An Obituary, the reviewer wrote: “His thesis might be more persuasive if his book were not littered with errors.…” (“The Economist,” May 14, 2016, p. 76). It is just a reminder of the value of a good, professional editor.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

July 15, 2015

On Today’s Bookshelf (XXII)

They say summer is the time for reading. I suppose that is based on the assumption that a person has more time to read while on vacation. Personally, I do not see any difference in my reading habits or the time I spend reading for pleasure (or work, for that matter). So, my acquisition of new titles to read never ends. Here is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I am reading or acquired and added to my to-be-read pile since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post:

Nonfiction –

  • The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71 by Alistair Horne
  • Napoleon’s Poisoned Chalice: The Emperor and His Doctors on St Helena by Martin Howard
  • A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris
  • The Fears of Henry IV: The Life of England’s Self-Made King by Ian Mortimer
  • The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England: 1327-1330 by Ian Mortimer
  • The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville by Clare Mulley
  • Treacherous Women: Sex, Temptation and Betrayal by Gordon Kerr
  • Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
  • The Queen’s Agent: Sir Francis Walsingham and the Rise of Espionage in Elizabethan England by John Cooper
  • The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism by Deborah Baker
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Empire 1781-1997 by Piers Brendon
  • Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad That Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford
  • The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg
  • Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott
  • Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen
  • Monster by Allan Hall
  • The Friar and the Cipher: Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone
  • The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War and His Decision That Changed American History by Jonathan Horner
  • The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge
  • KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann
  • Lincoln and the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna & Benjamin Shapell
  • The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal by Hubert Wolf

Fiction –

  • The Darkest Hour by Tony Schumacher
  • Blood Song and Tower Lord by Ryan Anthony (2 books)
  • Critical Error by Murray McDonald
  • A Maiden’s Grave by Jeffrey Deaver
  • The Defenders of Shannara: The Darkling Child by Terry Brooks
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Nonfiction Books I’m Thinking About –

These books I am but a keyboard away from ordering. Some are from authors I have previously read, but others are just ones that keep drawing me back.

  • The Story of Science by Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Murder of William of Norwich: The Origins of the Blood Libel in Medieval Europe by E.M. Rose
  • The Paradox of Liberation by Michael Walzer
  • Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography by Sara Lipton
  • The Last Slave Market: Dr, John Kirk and the Struggle to End the African Slave Trade by Alastair Hazell
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

What are you reading this summer?

Rich Adin, An American Editor

February 11, 2015

On Today’s Bookshelf (XX)

My acquisition of new titles to read never ends. Here is a list of some of the hardcovers and ebooks that I am reading or acquired and added to my to-be-read pile since the last On Today’s Bookshelf post:

Nonfiction –

  • Lenin: A Revolutionary Life by Christopher Read
  • Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson
  • The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea by Robert Wald Sussman
  • Kafka’s Law: “The Trial” and American Criminal Justice by Robert P. Burns
  • The Roman Guide to Slave Management: A Treatise by Nobleman Marcus Sidonius Falx by Jerry Toner
  • Nixon’s Secrets: The Rise, Fall and Untold Truth about the President, Watergate, and the Pardon by Roger Stone
  • Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America by Peter Andreas
  • Reinterpreting the French Revolution: A Global-Historical Perspective by Bailey Stone
  • War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black
  • The Great Turning Points of British History: The 20 Events That Made the Nation by Michael Wood
  • The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
  • Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama
  • Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright
  • Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments by Gina Perry
  • World Order by Henry Kissinger
  • The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg
  • Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II-Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire by John Freely
  • The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World by Greg Grandin
  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin

Fiction –

  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, & The Bitter Kingdom (The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy) by Rae Carson
  • Serious Men by Manu Joseph
  • The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt
  • The Sentinel Mage by Emily Gee
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
  • One Second After by William R. Forstchen
  • The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
  • Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

I’ve been looking at my TBR piles — both print and ebook  — and wondering if I should just stop acquiring books. These piles are so large, that I’d have to read several books a day to get through them all before it’s time to greet my maker.

I know I’ve lamented that before, but I guess that is why I am an editor — a love of books and the knowledge they contain. I keep hoping that my grandchildren will want my library, but I suspect not. (They are currently too young to understand what a library is and why it is important.)

I have told my children that if they aren’t interested in my library, I want them to find a rural library that would be interested in receiving the books. The print books are nearly all pristine  — even though I have read them, they have the look and feel of new, unread books.

One thing I find interesting about a physical library, in contrast to an ebook “library,” is that the physical library acts as a visual reminder of how much information there is in the world that I have not yet explored. It also makes me admire even more some of the Renaissance people who are noted for having had the world’s knowledge at their fingertips — the Michaelangelos and Voltaires and Rousseaus and Jeffersons of past ages — something that would be very difficult, if not impossible, today. Today, we admire those who are masters of their sub-subspecialty areas.

The holiday season brought more books to my pile, including a book by my daughter, Mariah Adin, The Brooklyn Thrill-Kill Gang and the Great Comic Book Scare of the 1950s. She and her husband badgered me to put aside everything else I was reading to read her book. I eventually caved and found the book to be an interesting read. Although I was a youngster at the time, I admit I was unaware of the debate that apparently raged around me about the negative influence of comic books on young minds. The arguments made then about comic books can certainly be made today about video games.

Did your holidays bring new books to your library?

Richard Adin, An American Editor

October 7, 2013

On Today’s Bookshelf (XIV)

Filed under: On Today's Bookshelf,To Be Read — americaneditor @ 4:00 am
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I spend my working hours editing books and then spend my pleasure hours reading more books rather than watching TV. I can’t recall the last time I turned on the TV (except to watch a rented video). What follows is a list of some of the books that I am reading (or acquired 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
  • A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
  • The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople by Susan Wise Bauer (I already own and have read the first 2 volumes in this outstanding history: The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome and The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, as noted in prior On Today’s Bookshelf posts)
  • The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid edited by John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd
  • Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America by Owen Matthews
  • The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition by Mark Twain, edited by Harriet Elinor Smith and Benjamin Griffin (I already own and have read volume 1)
  • Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
  • Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum
  • 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
  • Stalingrad by Antony Beevor
  • The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership by Yehuda Avner
  • Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell
  • The Last Tsar by Donald Crawford
  • Thomas Becket by John Guy
  • Hiding Edith by Kathy Kacer
  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis by Julie Kavanagh
  • A Monarchy Transformed by Mark Kishlansky
  • The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell
  • Shooting Victoria by Paul Thomas Murphy
  • Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson
  • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  • Nixonland by Rick Perlstein
  • The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain by Paul Preston
  • Six Women of Salem by Marilynne Roach
  • The Last Greatest Magician in the World by Jim Steinmeyer
  • Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel by Andrew Graham-Dixon

Fiction –

  • Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie
  • Shadowborn by Moira Katson
  • Ascendancy by Jennifer Vale
  • Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks
  • Two Fronts: The War that Came Early by Harry Turtledove
  • Treecat Wars by David Weber
  • Shadowborn, Shadowforged, & Shadow’s End by Moira Katson (trilogy)
  • The Song of Eloh Saga by Megg Jensen (7 books combined in a single omnibus)
  • The Dream Thief by Shana Abe
  • Something Blue by Emma Jameson
  • Venice by Peter Ackroyd
  • The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin
  • Devil’s Garden by Ace Atkins
  • The Algebraist by Ian Banks
  • Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • Bridge of Dreams and Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
  • Killing Rain by Barry Eisler
  • First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
  • American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  • Seventy-Seven Clocks by Christopher Fowler
  • The Apostates Tale by Margaret Frazer
  • Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
  • Chosen, Exalted, Stained, and Stolen by Ella James (4 books)
  • The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa
  • The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo
  • A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
  • Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin
  • The Chair by James Rubart
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

As you can see, I have no shortage of reading material. As I have noted before, my to-be-read pile keeps growing at a pace faster than I can read books. Perhaps if I ever retire I will have enough reading time to read faster than I acquire.

What is most interesting to me is not how many books I read but how many I start and never finish. Being an editor has its downsides. For example, I get frustrated by books that wander, or where the same character has 14 names (and counting), or the bad editing sticks out like a beacon, or the author has a lot to say but lacks even minimal storytelling techniques. (Note I have not mentioned those books that frustrate because of poor grammar and English, which is a category unto itself.)

The holiday season is soon upon us and I need to begin to put together a wish list of hardcover books I am interested in. Have you given thought to what books you will ask for this holiday season? How is your to-be-read pile growing/declining?

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