Bookshelf

Last update: February 11, 2024

Writing a book is hard. Book publishing is hard. Book promotion is hard.

I’m married to a #1 New York Times bestselling author. I manage her business. I understand the grind.

If a book appears here, it means I bought it, read it cover to cover including any endnotes, indices and other possible ephemera, found it interesting and recommend it to others. I may have read other books. They may not be mentioned on this page. I may have tossed certain books across the room out of frustration, despair or general disgust. Those will not appear here. In the interests of the authors of those works, I shall remain silent.

Now Reading

I am apparently incapable of restraining my urge to read multiple books at a time. This is detrimental and schizophrenic… as if you needed confirmation.

Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher

Tom Bethell / Hoover Institution Press / 328 pages

A biography of the mysterious life of the epigrammatic philosopher Eric Hoffer. His childhood through early adult years remain shrouded in fog. We’ll never know the truth of his origins… which makes his body of work all the more interesting. How did a longshoreman with zero formal education become one of the few individuals to grasp the underlying psychology of mass movements? The first 100 pages are challenging precisely because Bethell has uncovered little regarding Hoffer’s first thirty years.

The Kingdom, The Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism

Tim Alberta / Harper / 512 pages

Tim Alberta is a Preacher’s kid from Michigan who grew up in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He explores the intersection of Trumpist politics and evangelical faith and its effect on Christians. Especially pastors.

There is some intersection with The Overlooked Americans, which is mentioned below.

Morning Reads

Over several cups of coffee each morning, I read and journal. One book stays in rotation through the years.

The Daily Stoic: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living (Premium Edition)

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman / Independently Published / 405 pages

The Daily Stoic has become ubiquitous since its original publication. This edition is lesser known. Holiday and Hanselman bought back the rights for this particular edition since the publisher didn’t believed a $109.00 leather edition would sell.

The publisher was wrong. It’s out of stock at present. Keep an eye on the link above and subscribe to Holiday’s The Daily Stoic email. I’m sure you’ll be notified when it’s back in stock.

The Complete Works of Michel de Montaigne: Introduction by Stuart Hampshire

Michel de Montaigne, Stuart Hampshire / Everyman’s Library / 1,336 pages

The prolific 16th century essayist mostly cast aside by the alleged the modern intelligentsia. One of his greatest admirers, Eric Hoffer, has suffered a similar fate. I started reading a few pages every morning at the start of 2024.

Montaigne often lapses into personal anecdotes or now obscure historical allusions. Taking those detours is an education in itself.

I can’t recommend the Everyman’s Library hardcovers enough. Beautiful, durable, elegant type… essential building blocks for any library.

2024

January

The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name

Brian C. Muraresku / St. Martin’s Griffin / 512 pages

Cover of the book The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name

A fascinating exploration of the origins of the Eleusinian Mysteries and the pagan continuity theory. Muraresku travels around the world attempting to prove the Christian Eucharist was based on the Mysteries. The author defends the work of Carl A. P. Ruck, a Classical Studies professor at Boston University who faced denouncement and ostracization for a “controversial” theory.

Spoiler alert: Today, Ruck’s theory isn’t all that controversial. Murauesku exposes that particular strain of academic elitism more concerned with status quo enforcement and not in the least bit concerned with the quest for truth.


The Overlooked Americans: The Resilience of Our Rural Towns and What It Means for Our Country

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett / Basic Books / 432 pages

Cover of The Overlooked Americans: Our Rural Towns and What It Means for Our Country

Currid-Halkett conducted years of research and thousands of interviews in an attempt to understand rural America. Does the urban-rural divide really exist? Are rural Americans really all that different than their urban counterparts? Is rural America filled with roving bands of red baseball cap wearing, foaming at the mouth fascist, opioid-addicted, delusional zombies?

The answer is no to all three questions… despite what the coastal “intelligentsia” tells you on television, radio and other media channels. There are economic and educational challenges in rural America. But Currid-Halkett rightly points out the same problems in urban America. As one man from Missouri told the author, “Most of us just want to be left alone.” That is the predominant attitude I see and hear after almost four years living in rural Michigan. Prior to that, I spent a decade in a city struggling to pave its roads, keep the power grid running in a thunderstorm, and deliver clean water to its citizens. The Overlooked Americans is an eye-opening book. Rural America isn’t utopia. No place is. While we don’t share some of the same values as our urban neighbors, we share the majority.

Spoiler alert: Far left academics living in their sanctimonious bubbles who cannot bring themselves to criticize their preferred leaders even when their preferred leaders are wrong will utterly hate this book.