From a Lifetime of Reading
Pique your interest!
Satisfy your curiosity!
New books, movies, music, and more are being added regularly.   Check back for new titles!
Of the many books in our library, the ones presented here are those we can most highly recommend as being especially interesting and enjoyable reading.   Many are older books which are very interesting and great reading, but which are out-of-print (but still available via used-book sales
, etc.) or are no longer commonly advertised or promoted.
All of the books shown here require only your interest in a particular subject.   They are written in langauge that is readable and enjoyable by anyone, with or without specialized knowledge.
Great Places To Find Books
Great article on the importance of kids having plenty of books!
Growing up surrounded by books bolsters skills later in life
Book Sale Finder
Greenville Literacy Association - The Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale
Friends of the Greenville Library book sale
Friends of the Henderson County Public Library book sales - May and September
Friends of the Henderson County Public Library online book sales
See these great bookstores, if you are ever in the area - thousands of books!
The Village Green Antique Mall, 424 Main Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Once in the store, turn right, and find the narrow little staircase up to the second floor.   You will need at least an hour to peruse their thousands of books - some first editions.   This great selection of books is not listed on Google or other search engines.
If there is a book sale, a book store, a book, etc., that you think might be of interest, send a note about it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Great Books - Nonfiction Section
Solon the Thinker, John David Lewis, 2006
the idea of freedom, about 600 BC, early in the Classical Greek era.   This book is the best historical recounting and analysis of what Solon accomplished.
The Aristotle Adventure, Burgess Laughlin, 1995
Tracks the pathways over the past 2350 years of the tenuous survival of Aristotle's writings, which ended the Dark Ages and are the foundation for the civilized life we all enjoy.
Aristotle's Children, Richard E. Rubenstein, 2003
Describes how Aristotle's ideas became the basis for the world we live in today.
The Middle Ages 395-1500, Strayer & Munro, 1924
Tells of the cultural decline into the Dark Ages, life in those times, and the rebirth.
A More Perfect Union, William Peters, 1987
Reads like a cliffhanger novel; telling the history of the Constitutional Convention, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the months of that unique meeting of America's Founding Fathers.
(not to be confused with other books of the same name)
James Madison and the Struggle For the Bill Of Rights, Richard Labunski, 2006
The perfect follow-on to A More Perfect Union
, this book reads like a suspense thriller; will
the Constitution be ratified???   What changes will be made to it as each state makes its own demands for modifications?   Even knowing the ultimate outcome, this book makes you feel the threats that seem to irreversibly darken the outlook.   Will the United States that we know be born?   Many famous Founding Fathers seem determined
to unravel the efforts of the Constitutional Convention.
Note while reading this book, that Patrick Henry, during Virginia's ratification convention for the new U.S. Consitution in 1789, makes the first reference to an anti-Federalist "Republican" alliance - the precursor to a true political Party.   Indeed, the rise of political parties ultimately led to the Federalist Party (pro strong central government) facing off against the Democratic-Republican Party (pro-rights), of Thomas Jefferson, in the early 1800s.   Much later, after the demise of the Federalist Party and the subsequent Whig Party, and after the Democratic-Republican Party had been transformed by Andrew Jackson into the duplicitous (promising land to settlers given to the Cherokee Indians by treaty), big-government, pro-slavery Democratic Party, opposition to it arose in the form of the upstart anti-slavery Republican Party, in the 1850s.   The Republicans' first winning Presidential candidate was Abraham Lincoln.
Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics, Tara Smith, 2006
The best and most thoroughly reasoned discussion of normative ethics.
Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts
How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers, Carl J. Richard, 2008
The greatest influence on the thinking of the Founding Fathers as they designed a wholely new and totally innovative type of government from the ground up was the history and writings of Classical Greece and the Roman Republic.   This book describes those influences in detail.
The Capitalist Manifesto, Andrew Bernstein, 2005
Makes the point that historically and economically, that Capitalism is by far the greatest - actually the only
- economic system for prosperity and freedom.
Doing What Matters, James E. Kitts, 2007
Describes the great ideas by a terrific innovator on business management
.   Kitts saved Nabisco in the 1990s, after KKR's 1989 LBO.   This book makes an exciting sequel to the book Barbarians At the Gates
, which describes that takeover.
A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich, 1982
Chronicles the history of the longest-lived country in history.   From its start in the 400s until 1800, this remarkable country never suffered a successful invasion nor rebellion.   Venice was a republic
- bound by the Rule of Law - through centuries filled elsewhere with tyranny in all its forms; its residents had a remarkable degree of freedom.   It survived and flourished on trade, at a time when trade was denounced and reviled by the Church as sinful.   Venice traders brought new goods to all parts of Europe, from the Mid-East, India, and even China, as well as new ideas from Constantinople and Baghdad, which would help foster the European renaissance.
A History Of the Ostrogoths, Thomas Burns, 1984
Read the story of the people who took over the remnants of the Western Roman Empire, after its collapse in the 400s.
Almost Human, Shirley Strum, 1987
Describes the behavior of baboons, so similar to our own, provoking a lot of thought about the nature of the line between instinct, as in animals, and conceptual thinking, the distinctive characteristic of humans.   In an excellent example of
, both species independently solved the problem of survival in spite of lacking significant defensive capabilities such as claws, teeth, horns, etc., by living in social groups.   The complexities which arose due to such an arrangement are in many ways similar.
Rules For Radicals, Saul D. Alinsky, 1971
Read the book that propelled the thinking of Barack Obama, authored by the person who most influenced Hillary Clinton in her career and the means she continues to use to this day in pursuit of her goals.
Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond, 1999, 1997
This very interesting page-turner is a fascinating description of how human culture evolved, and why it advanced more quickly in some places than others.
The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond, 1992; revised 2006
An exciting exploration of the origins of language, art, agriculture, mating habits, abuse of drugs, genocide, old age, and more.   Jared Diamond's detailed grasp of an astonishingly wide range of disciplines enables him to make some great integrations and to resolve many of the mysteries of how we became who we are.
The World America Made, Robert Kagan, 2012
Contrasts the relative peace and progress in the world due to America's dominant role since World War II, vs. the resurgence of violent conflict and the decline of freedom should America let its influence wane.   The recent threats by China in the South China Sea, and the attacks in the UN against Israel are only two examples.
The Life Of Francis Marion, William Gilmore Simms, 1844
This biography of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion is a fascinating recounting of Marion's life.   Born in 1732, the same year as George Washington, he was just as remarkable and exceptional an individual in his character, leadership, and military achievements against the British.   Marion single-handedly kept South Carolina patriotic hopes alive, and prevented the British from using South Carolina as a base for invasion of North Carolina and Virginia.   Using the events of the War as a backdrop, the author focuses on the remarkable integrity of a great human being.
The Archimedes Codex, Netz & Noel, 2007
Reads like a mystery historical novel.   It describes the 1998-2009 recovery process of lost works by Archimedes (200s B.C.), one of the greatest minds of the Classical era.   Second perhaps only to Aristotle, he very nearly (or perhaps did) invent calculus - 1850
years before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz finally achieved that feat in the 1600s.   Both they and Gallileo all creditted Archimedes with being the foundation for their own work.
The 4% Universe, Panek, 2011
This is a fascinating description of the search for the make-up of the universe.   Calculations show that 96% is "missing"; i.e., unknown! Written in layman's terms, this book describes the recent discoveries that are revolutionizing the study of cosmology.
Bismarck: a Life, Jonathan Steinberg, 2011
Takes you into the mind of Otto von Bismarck, the masterful Prussian politician who deftly manipulated 1800s Germany, France, Russia, Austria, and Italy.   His actions set the stage for World War I, and also laid the groundwork that would provide a general mindset in the German population which would lead to the acceptance and rise of a madman like Adolf Hitler.
A Culture Of Freedom: Ancient Greece and the Origins Of Europe, Meier & Raaflaub, 2011
This is the fascinating story of the beginnings of Civilization - the recognition and respect for the individual's rights - in Classical Greece, starting around 750 B.C.
Education Of a Wandering Man, Louis Lamour, 1989
This fascinating story of the life of Louis Lamour, begins when he left home at age 15 until he was finally able to establish himself as a writer.   Traveling around the country and the world, the story also recalls the innumerable books he read along the way.   That list alone would be reason enough to read this book.
One book mentioned by Lamour is:
The Ancient Explorers, by M. Cary & E. H. Warmington, 1929
This book recounts the history of the exploration of the world in ancient times, before Christopher Columbus.   It reveals many exciting and little-known travels. Surprisingly enjoyable, this book's authors are good story-tellers who know how to keep you interested in their recounting of this part of history.
Reading that book led to this book:
History Begins At Sumer, Samuel Noah Kramer, 1956, 1981
The Sumerian civilization invented
writing, about 3000 B.C.; it was literally the place where prehistoric
ended, and historic
began.   This book describes that and the many other components of that first historical culture which are still with us down to the present day.
1776, David McCullough, 2005
Recounts the details of the most audacious but also darkest hours in U.S. history - close to its doom and not yet a country.   The future of America depended on barely 2,500 soldiers, untrained and inexperienced generals, and the signers of the Declaration - self-proclaimed traitors to the most powerful King on the planet.   1776 was the year that changed the world - ultimately giving humanity its most unique and advanced government ever: one authorized and run by its own citizens, and limited by a Constitution beyond its reach.
(not to be confused with the musical of the same name)
Nothing Less Than Victory - Decisive Wars and the Lessons Of History, John David Lewis, 2010
Reviews seven historic wars, from the Greco-Persian wars starting in 547 BC, up through World War II, in terms of their decisiveness and the achievement of national safety.   Easy reading, clearly written.   Demonstrates on a simple and evident level what must be achieved in war if the effort and cost is to be justified.
The Aquatic Ape, Elaine Morgan, 1978
Based on the theory put forward by Alister Hardy, explores the intriguing evidence that human ancestors passed through one or more evolutionary periods living in a semi-aquatic environment - shorelines, hunting for shellfish, etc., for survival.   Explains why we have a number of characteristics that (1) are uniquely distinct from homo-sapiens' most closely-related species (chimpanzees, apes, and orangutans), and (2) do not support savannah nor forest survival, but rather, are similar to that of other species which have had to adapt to an aquatic habitat.   This includes body features such as webbing between fingers, down-breathing nose, sub-dermal fat layer, loss of body hair, and more.
evidence from other species corroborates the aquatic theory.
In Trump We Trust, Ann Coulter, 2016
Documents the history of the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election.   Less about Trump than about those around him - Leftists, Republicans, candidates, the media, etc., in this book Coulter does an excellent job of presenting the actual facts behind the news headlines, political jabs, claims, and counter-claims.
Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story, Lee Berger and John Hawks, 2017
This is the exciting story of the unprecedented discovery of hundreds of fossils of a previously unknown prehistoric member of our family tree, and the events that led up to it.   Written in laymen's terms, this book takes you through the events of one of the most remarkable discoveries ever - an event that is reshaping our knowledge of our prehistoric past.
Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly, 2017
If you liked the movie, you will love the book, which covers a lot more history, in a lot more detail, and ties together the many intertwinings and interconnections of so many historical threads and events.   This is a fascinating story that begins in the 1930s, with NASA's predecessor, NACA, charged with advancing American understanding and development of aerodynamic theory and technology - something which would soon become essential to victory in World War II.   After the war that effort evolved into the Jet Age, set in the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union.   With the launch of Sputnik in October, 1957, that focus was quickly transitioned into the Space Race, and NASA.   Through it all, the issues of gender and race affected and were affected by many major events.   The acceptance of women as intellectual equals, the abandonment of segregation, and the recognition that successes not only made necessary but proved that such progress was right and good, all coalesced in concert with that ultimate goal of human exploration, landing people on the Moon.   This story will thrill and touch your heart strings page after page.
Katherine Johnson's famous quote
on page 245.
The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump, 1987
This is a story worth reading, of a great man of high moral caliber.   See my review of the book on Amazon
Trump has been making America great his whole life.
"The Art of the Deal" is the story of a hard-working, dynamic, and wonderfully innovative man who also has the highest of integrity.   Donald Trump is as American to the core as you can get.   You will finish this book knowing that he is a man you can respect in every way, and trust implicitly in any dealings you have with him.   As President Trump, if this man ever asked me to work in his White House, it would disrupt my life all over the place, but I would instantly reply, "Yes, sir, I would be proud to do it, and thank-you for the opportunity.   How soon do you want me there, and what should I expect to be working on?"   This is a great man, destined to be one of the greatest Presidents, and most of all, the kind of person you wish more Americans would be like.
Weekend Pilot, Frank Kingston Smith, 1957
A great story of one person's discovery of flying, and his experiences in owning his own airplane.
A Sky Of My Own, by Molly Bernheim, 1959
In the years after World War II, a woman in her 40s learns to fly.
For another great story about a woman who learned to fly, click here
Deception in War, Jon Latimer, 2001
Written to be interesting to the layman, this fascinating presentation of the various techniques of deception covers those used in war from 1295 BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, through D-Day in World War II, to that used in the Gulf War of 1990 against the Iraqis.   It covers the techniques most favored by the British, by the Russians, by the Germans, by the Chinese, by the Americans, and by others, and the differences in guerilla warfare vs. full-scale warfare.   The book points out that information has value
, and presents a wide variety of techniques to use information to your advantage and to mislead an antagonist.   Some techniques will sound very familiar in today's political climate in the U.S.
On Writing, Stephen King, 2010
Whether you like Stephen King's books or not, On Writing
is good reading - especially so if you have any desire to be a writer yourself.   King combines stories of his own life with explanations of what has to be in your own writing to make it something that others will want to read.   On Writing
should be on every would-be author's bookshelf, right next to your copy of Elements of Style
, by Strunk and White.
The Doomsday Myth, Charles Maurice, Charles W. Simpson, 1984
Oil shortages, wood shortages, coal shortages, labor shortages - history is replete with what people saw as factors that placed an absolute limit on humanity's future.   In this book, see how the law of supply and demand works very well (and government intervention fails, to everyone's detriment).   The book shows how limits have driven innnovation and new thinking - as far back as 10,950 BC (see this webpage about the Gobekli Tepe carving that documents the impact of comet fragments which made Earth colder at that time
), when disaster forced the introduction and use of agriculture over the traditions of tribal hunter-gatherers.
The Great Extinction, Michael Allenby and James Lovelock, 1983
What happened to the dinosaurs? What could kill so many on land, in the seas, and in the air?   Allenby and Lovelock show why the sizes of animals was the deciding factor in what species survived, and what species became extinct, 65 million years ago.   Superb detective work makes this book a fascinating story.
Global Warming Skepticism for Busy People, Dr. Roy Spencer, 2018
This great book shows the lack of science behind the climate-change alarmists, the lack of consensus (1% vs. the claimed 97%), the claims without evidence, where the evidence actually points, and, as important, why
climate change is being promulgated:   political control by people who want to be able to dictate how you lead your lives, and the 80% of the countries in the UN who are "third-world", who would like to "redistrbute" the wealth of the more-capitalist countries to themselves; i.e., to the dictators who rule those third-world countries.   And the UN and the IPCC are their tools to do it.   Worried about "too much" CO2?   The world's plants would love more!   The current CO2 levels are not much more than starvation-level for plants. If we could double the amount of CO2 in the air, agriculture would see trillions of dollars worth of more plant life grown (and that increase in absolute terms is still very small - not
dangerous to us).   There is lot more in this book you should know about.   Being a Kindle book, the information provided is backed up with links to websites containing the research data, etc. - much better than a traditional bibliography.   Don't delay:   you owe it to yourself and your children to read this book!
Dr. Spencer is one of those quoted on our webpage
about Climate Change
Donald Trump - A President Like No Other, Conrad Black, 2018
Mr. Black is a Canadian, and no friend of Trump nor the GOP nor the Democrats; yet Trumpís genius and greatness shine through.   This biography first sets the stage by covering Trump's life prior to entering politics.   He then documents how at every stage in his short political career he has outsmarted the pundits, winning each time he was written off as a no-win.   His worst crime is that he disrupted the status quo for both the Democratic and Republican political parties, upsetting their applecarts and outsmarting and outmaneuvering them at every turn, turning their own machinations against them.   If there was any doubt before, this book demonstrates that President Trump is one of America's greatest Presidents, on a level with Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Lincoln, above all the others.   Trump has restored America's greatness - its standard of freedom, arresting its decline due to the inept Presidencies of the Bushes, Clinton, and Obama.   America's growing and dynamic economy, its restored position as a leader on the world stage, and the reduced impact of the government on peoples' lives are standout accomplishments.   To have accomplished all
of those things against such concerted opposition is even more remarkable.
See more political commentary by Conrad Black here
, and particularly his article, America's resurgence is reshaping the world
Railroader, Howard Green, 2018
Hunter Harrison was CEO of the Illinois Central Railroad, the Canadian National Railroad, the Candian Pacific Railroad, and the CSX Railroad - in itself an unparalleled accomplishment.   Harrison was not an Ivy League grad; in fact, he never spent a day in college.   He started out working in the railroad yards, a greasy and dirty job.   By the time he died he was worth $500 million, and if he had lived another year he would have been worth about $800 million - all earned on the job, for the incredible job he did.   Harrison created
$50 billion as CEO, bringing his Precision Scheduled Railroading techniques to bear and adding incredible amounts of value to four different railroads - and forcing the others to respond with similar techniques, just to remain competitive.   It would not be much of an overstatement to say that Harrison single-handedly revitalized an industry that seemed to be permanently stuck in the doldrums.   Harrison lead by example, and Railroader
is an inspiring, exciting book.
The Journey of Man, Spencer Wells, 2017
The ability to study and understand DNA has turned out to be a fabulous tool for discovering the location of the origin of Mankind, of his migrations around the globe, and to establish a timeline for those migrations.   Those studies, combined with the historical discovery of Earth's changing climate, have made it possible to understand why
Mankind migrated when and where he did.   This well-written story is a fascinating page-turner that you will find difficult to put down.
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger, 2015
When America won its independence from Britain, its merchant ships were no longer covered by the bribes extorted from Britain to the marauding north African pirate-nations, of Algiers, Tangiers, Morocco, and Tripoli.   The new nation was deeply in debt, and the extortion demands were more than could be paid.   Hundreds of Americans were subjected to slavery.   President Thomas Jefferson convinced Congress to build America's first naval squadron, to safeguard American shipping, and to retaliate against Moslem aggression.   The fascinating tale of what happened is a dramatic story worth reading.   At a time when all the European countries, with their massive navies, paid tribute, America was the country that put an end to the taking of ships of commerce and the enslavement of Christian men, women, and children by Moslems.   In so doing, the American Navy and Marines became a force emergent on the international stage, winning the respect of every other nation.
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Great Books - Fiction Section
The Epic Of Gilgamesh, introduction by N. K. Sandars, 1972
This epic from 2000 B.C. and its predecessor individual Sumerian stories mark the introduction of the written story, more than 1,200 years before Homer's Illiad
.   Compiled during the time of the Old Babylonian Empire and later the Akkadian Empire, the stories chronicle the adventures of a Sumerian king of the city of Uruk, from 2100 B.C. or earlier.   Elements from the Epic can be found in the Bible, Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, and in other works since.
Lamour's books are historical novels, with settings that are diligently researched and accurate in their descriptions of the background and way of life in the Old West.   They are also great morals stories.   With all that, they are still easy reading, and all are good books for anyone from age ten on up.   A child who absorbs the kind of virtues portrayed in Lamour's stories would make any parent proud.
Bendigo Shafter, Louis Lamour, 1979
As the main part of a wagon train continues their journey westward, one group decides to stop at the edge of the mountains in Wyoming, to settle and form a new community.   Threats to the settlers' new life and town include winter snows, Indians, outlaws, and the arrival of another wagon train full of settlers.   This is a story repeated many times in the Old West, of a group of people whose existence and well-being depended on the growth of their resolve and integrity.
Jubal Sackett, Louis Lamour, 1985
Set in the early days of the Old West, prior to the Civil War, it chronicles an adventurous journey of exploration.
The Empty Land, Louis Lamour, 1969
A study of the birth of a town in the Old West as it threads its way between forces that threaten to destroy it.
Last Of the Breed, Louis Lamour, 1986
An exciting, modern-day novel exmplifying perseverance and determination.
The two novels
Pillars Of the Earth, Ken Follett, 1989
The Walking Drums, Louis Lamour, 1984
are both stories set in the 1200s, in the depths of Europe's Dark Ages.   But there is a stark contrast between the main character in each with regard to attitude, outlook, and personal efficacy.   That contrast illustrates the impact upon your life of the choices you make regarding personal beliefs, philosophies, and world-view.   Note for yourself how you feel after reading one book, vs. how you feel after reading the other.
State Of Fear, Michael Crichton, 2004
A current-day historical novel focusing on the falsehoods and corruption which have been endemic to the environmentalist movement since its inception.   Crichton provides lots of well-documented facts as part of his story.
For related information, see our weather webpage about
Grass Roots, Stuart Woods, 1989
Provides a very realistic depiction of political campaigning as I have experienced it, plus a murder mystery very nicely woven into the plot.
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, 1957
In a time of cultural decline, a railroad's chief of operations and the owner of a steel company fight for America's survival against increasingly oppressive government regulation and control.   An epic and visionary novel, packed with a bounty of ideas worthy of consideration.
On Basilisk Station, David Weber, 1993
This is the lead-off book for an enthralling series of more than fifteen books with space-faring stories that begin as rough parallels to the Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester.   The expansion of human colonization of Space as envisioned by Weber bears many similarities to the world of the early 1800s.
The other books in this series to date are: The Honor of the Queen
, The Short Victorious War
, Field of Dishonor
, Flag in Exile
, Honor Among Enemies
, In Enemy Hands
, Echoes of Honor
, Ashes of Victory
, War of Honor
, At All Costs
, Mission of Honor
, Uncompromising Honor
.   Note that there are also a number of additional books by Weber and by other authors that expand the "history" of this universe to peripheral tales beyond the immediate story line.
Off Armageddon Reef, David Weber, 2007
This is the first book of a series of nine that portrays a future humankind's efforts to rebuild itself after virtually total annihilation and near-extinction under a withering and relentless alien attack, followed by a massive betrayal.   These exciting stories are fascinating studies in the breadths of human character and behavior.
The other books in this series to date are: By Schism Rent Asunder
, By Heresies Distressed
, A Mighty Fortress
, How Firm a Foundation
, Midst Toil and Tribulation
, Like a Mighty Army
, Hell's Foundations Quiver
, At the Sign of Triumph
, Through Fiery Trials
by Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games, 2008
Catching Fire, 2009
If you saw the movies, these books add so many important details.   Collins does an excellent job of underscoring the destructive evils of oppression, and the unavoidable tragedies and dangers of rebellion.
Once an Eagle, Anton Myrer, 1968, 1997
This is the story of two soldiers, as they work their way up through the ranks.   Their lives parallel and intertwine, demonstrating good moral character, leadership, and respect, vs. its lack.   This exemplary book is on the required-reading list for West Point cadets.
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry, 1947
Have you ever heard of Chincoteague and Assateague?   Learn the real-life story of horses that swam ashore to these islands from a foundering Spanish ship off the coast of Virginia almost 500 years ago, and of a filly named Misty
and the people who live there now.   This is a story for children - of all ages; it is a good bedtime story to be read to youngsters, but also one you can enjoy for yourself.
The Log Of a Cowboy, Andy Adams, 1903
This is the story of a cattle drive, from the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas, to deep into Montana, in 1883, written by an author who had actually been a cowboy on many such drives.   Written in language that anyone from pre-teens to adult can understand and enjoy, this master story-teller bases his tale on his own experiences, and will keep your interest throughout the book.
The Hidden Truth, 2016
A Rambling Wreck, 2017, Hans G. Schantz
These are the first two books in what we hope will be a continued series.   Both books are a unique combination of sci-fi techno-thriller conspiracy suspense.   Set in Atlanta and eastern Tennessee, the books contain enough references to real-life history to make you wonder whether these books are more truth than fiction.
, Dragonquest, 1971
, and The White Dragon, 1978 by Anne McCaffrey
This trilogy is science-fiction
, not fantasy
- the first in a series of stories of people who colonized a world, only to discover a horrific and deadly recurring danger - and a unique solution against it.   From the colonists' first landing through thousands of years of destruction, survival, recovery, and renaissance, these are classic stories that will be enjoyed by young boys and girls as well as adults.
The other books in this series to date are: Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern
, Nerilka's Story
, Dragon's Dawn
, The Renegades of Pern
, All the Weyrs of Pern
, The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall
, The Dolphins of Pern
, The Masterharper of Pern
, The Skies of Pern
.   Note that there are also a number of additional books by other authors (some co-authored with McCaffrey) that expand the "history" of this universe.
Foundation, 1951,   Foundation and Empire, 1952,   Second Foundation, 1953,   by Isaac Asimov
The classic science-fiction trilogy from the earliest days of sci-fi's emergence as a serious genre - and still to this day an exciting and thought-provoking set of books.   As the series begins, the Galactic Empire is in decline, and a small group of "psychohistorians" makes plans for a shortened dark-age and a renaissance to a more enduring future.
Asimov later wrote four additional books in his Foundation series, and other authors have presented their own books about the Foundation universe.
Rescue Party, Arthur C. Clarke, 1946
This great short story is about determination in the face of catastrophe, what it says about the nature of those who survive and escape, and the implications of having such determination.
The Deathbird, Larry Ellison, 1973
This great short story is a study in the transposition of our beliefs that gives us pause, forcing us to define exactly what it is we do believe.
Slow Sculpture, Theodore Sturgeon, 1970
This great short story is about personal discovery, and about the path that can lead to changes in one's life.
Polymath, John Brunner, 1974
An exciting story of escape from a world with a sun about to go nova, and the struggle to survive wholly unprepared on a new world, in the face of the whole range of human personalities.
Dune, Frank Herbert, 1965
The story of a desert world, the rugged people who live in it, their struggles and trials at the hands of would-be oppressers, and of a Duke's fugitive son, sought by those same tyrannical oppressors.   One of the absolute best sci-fi classics of all time, and the source of this famous and character-building quote
Herbert also wrote a number of follow-on books, beginning with Dune Messiah
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Great Books - Poetry Section
Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard, 1958
The Classical Greek era of 600 B.C. was a dynamic world, overflowing with the advances of civilization.   The most reknowned and important include Solon in politics, Thales in science, and Sappho, the Poetess
, creating her magnificanet poetry.   The island she lived on was at that time within the richest region of Greece - the center of development of the sciences and the arts, and according to the book's notes, it "considered itself the very fountainhead of Greek song."   Numerous invasions throughout the subsequent centuries have resulted in malignment, villianization, suppression, and virtually-total destruction of all record of their achievements, except where recorded and preserved elsewhere.   For Sappho, that has allowed only fragments of her work to survive and to reach us in the present day.   But those fragments (and two entire poems) are exemplary poetry - vivid, beautiful, and alive, and are not to be missed.   This book provides an excellent translation and background to help give her poems a more powerful context.
The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes, 1906
This exciting and unforgettable poem is about the struggles of a pair of lovers against all odds.   The poem's flow of its words and events are virtually the definition of a romantic theme.
The Airman's World, by Gill Robb Wilson, 1957
This wonderful book of poetry about flying does a great job of providing a sense of the spirit of being a pilot.
to see three beautiful poems, two of which are not in this book.
The Green Hills of Earth, by Robert Heinlein, 1951
is a collection of great short stories, as well as the title of the particular tale recounting the circumstances surrounding the writing of the poem Green Hills
.   That poem, of course, includes this beautiful and unforgettable final verse:
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.
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Great Movies Section
Recounts the last days of Hypatia, the last Classical-era scientist of note.   An astronomer, mathemetician, and philosopher, she taught at the great Library of Alexandria, in Egypt, until her death in 415 AD. The existence of the library and this exceptional woman's own life are threatened by an increasingly rancourous illiterate Christian mob, in an era when a woman's expected role was only to be a subservient wife, home-bound, bearing and raising children.
The Name Of the Rose, 2004,1986
In the late 1200s, a Franciscan friar uses logic - still considered by most Church authorities to be heretical - to solve the mystery of a murder in an Abbey in northern Italy.   Amidst the vicious torture and tyranny of the Inquisition and the deadly conflict between the Franciscan and Dominican Orders, his refusal to simply ascribe the death to be the work of Satan threatens his own life.
A sheltered, wheelchair-bound teenage girl - and those around her - discover the value of truth, perseverance, and the meaning of integrity ... and the joy of flying.
Hidden Figures, 2017
See the fascinating true story of three great women who came to work for NASA - a mathematician, an engineer, and a computer programmer, who became essential to the success of America's journey into space - and who also overcame the barriers of race and gender in what was definitely a man's world in the early 1960s.
Dinesh D'Souza's great movie
Death of a Nation, 2018
Learn the histories of the Democratic Party and the GOP - the GOP has always been predominatly pro-rights, anti-slavery, and pro-freedom for all.   The Democratic Party, since its inception by Andrew Jackson, has been oppressive, pro-slavery, and anti-freedom.   See the relationship of the Democrats to the Italian Fascists, and to the German Nazis.   Take note of their efforts to keep immigrants in ignorance to further their goals.   Put the pieces of the puzzle together.   Learn the things those behind the Fake News
do not want you to know.
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Great Music Section
Violinist Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, 15 March 1984
- playing Symphonie Espagnole, Opus 21
, by Edouard Lalo
The exuberant dynamicism and passion of this genius violinist is nowhere better expressed than in this great performance.   Nadja's skills are unmatched, and this performance is from her earliest years, just full of youthful vitality.
I will never forget how she walked out onto the stage that evening, followed by Conductor Peter Rickett.   She was dressed in a striking spaghetti-strap black dress, with red sash.   Even the way she walked told you that here was someone who unquestionably would get a singularly enthusiastic standing ovation.   As the performance began and she waited for her solo, she fidgeted with her straps, held her violin impatiently under her chin with her arms hanging limp at her sides, and was clearly more than ready to play; her movements in every way were stark, angular, and violent.   Her playing was magnificent and unforgettable, and the sounds from her violin were a joyful musical dance of sounds beyond any violin sound ever heard anywhere else.   Members of the audience would later compare subsequent violin soloists to their memory of Nadja from that evening - and the others would invariably fall short of those memorable too-few minutes.
Organist Virgil Fox, Heavy Organ at Carnegie Hall, vol.1 and vol.2
Virgil Fox had a dynamic vitality and exuberant aliveness
that thrilled his audience.   An older man at the time of the Carnegie Hall performance, he attracted teenagers as if he were a heavy-metal rock band.   The loud cheers and cries of his audience are something hard to imagine, for someone playing J. S. Bach on a pipe organ, solo.   But Bach has never been played so well; Virgil Fox brings him to life - even for teenagers, and never is that more evident than when, in an early pause in the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, one young man cannot restrain himself, but yells out a perfectly-timed and unbearably ecstatic "Yeah!" with a release of emotion that matches that of the music.   It is fun to listen to the young audience chant: "G Minor! G Minor! G Minor! ...", followed by the resounding cheer of approval during the first notes when he answers their call, and begins playing that piece in a way which is yet again unique.   Virgil Fox playing Bach to a live audience is an aural and musical experience not to be missed.
Be sure to purchase the vinyl LPs.   The CD of the same name lacks several of the best selections from the vinyl.
|   Volume 1, Side 1
||   Volume 1, Side 2
|     Fugue in C Minor, BWV 537
||     Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor ("Great"), BWV 542
|     "Little" Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578
||     In Thee Is Joy, BWV 615 (Chorale Prelude)
|     Arioso (from Cantata No. 156)
||     Adeste Fideles (Traditional)
|     Toccata in F, BWV 540
||         (Sung by the sold-out Carnegie Hall audience)
|   Volume 2, Side 1
||   Volume 2, Side 2
|     Introduction by Virgil Fox
||     Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565
|     We All Believe in One God, BWV 680
||     Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582
|     Rejoice, Beloved Christians, BWV 734
|     Prelude and Fugue in E Minor ("The Wedge"), BWV 548
Renegade, by Steppenwolf
, from the Steppenwolf 7
album, is a powerful and moving song taken from the childhood history and experiences of Steppenwolf's lead singer, John Kay.   With its haunting lyrics, its description of the lives of refugees caught up in tyranny and mass murder, wherever they occur, is unforgettable.
You're Just Too Good to be True, by Frankie Valli and The 4 Seasons
Simply the best love song.   Ever.
What a Wonderful World, sung by the unforgettable Satchmo - Louis Armstrong.
A beautiful and happy song about the best in all of us.
To Dream the Impossible Dream , sung by Andy William
This beautiful song is a hymn to the highest and greatest achievements possible to any one person.
Consider the lyrics, by Joe Darion and Mitchell Leigh:
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To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march
Into hell for a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lay peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe
To reach the unreachable star!
Great Humorous Music Section
They don't seem to make as much humorous music as they used to.   Here are some good, clean, funny songs you will not want to miss!
Humor during World War II reflected that fact of life ...
Boogie-woogie Bugle Boy of Company B
- sung by the Andrews Sisters
During World War II, as part of the need to use less of everything so more could be devoted to the war effort, girls were wearing shorter skirts and other reduced-size pieces of clothing.   Once begun, that trend never stopped.
And nobody has complained one bit.
- sung by The Royal Teens
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
- sung by Brian Hyland
Of course, what was considered "Itsy Bitsy" in 1960 would not be noteworthy now ...
Cars - hot rods and powerful engines - were a big part of being cool in the 1950s.
The Little Nash Rambler
- sung by The Playmates
Hot Rod Lincoln
- sung by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen
Even the chicks got in on the hot cars ...
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
- sung by Jan and Dean
Going to camp was a common fate for kids in the early 1960s.
- sung by Allan Sherman
That song's success engendered this sequel.
Return to Camp Grenada
- sung by Allan Sherman
There were a number of songs inspired by all the monster movies back then ...
Purple People Eater
- sung by Sheb Wooley
In case you missed it, the song Short Shorts
, is mentioned in the Purple People Eater
Silly songs with silly words didn't stop there.
- sung by David Seville and the Chipmunks
Even a cartoon show called "The Jetsons" about the future got into the act.
Eep, Opp, Ork, Ah-ah!
- sung by The Jet Screamer and the Jetsons
This one also picked up on all the crazy dances popping up back then.
- sung by Bobby Pickett
This song is a different kind of a monster story, about a horrific real-life incident on August 4th, 1892.
"Some folks say 'She didn't do it,' and others say, 'Of course she did!'"
The Legend of Lizzie Borden
- sung by the Chad Mitchell Trio
"But they all agree that Lizzie B. was a problem kind of kid."
The flip-side of that 45 (remember them?) was this song.   Not a hit, but it still rattles around in my head every once in a while, particularly when I am in danger of doing something of a similar nature.
- sung by the Chad Mitchell Trio
Folk music has to move with the times, as demonstrated by the song above as well as by this song, which tells us about the dangers of riding on the Boston subway ...
Riding on the MTA
- sung by The Kingston Trio
Johnny Cash had a troublesome life, but at least he wasn't named "Sue".
A Boy Named Sue
- sung by Johnny Cash
When discussing country and western songs, how could we miss
The Perfect Country and Western Song
- sung by David Allan Coe
Truck drivers have a sense of humor, too, didn't you know?
- sung by C.W. McCall
Give me forty acres and I'll turn this rig around
- sung by the Willis Brothers
Love songs sometimes are touched by a bit of humor ...
- sung by Leapy Lee
Then there is this funny young man's quandary that is also a bit of a morals story ...
Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?
- sung by the Lovin' Spoonful
Women often face a quandary with a slightly different perspective ...
Don't You Feel My Leg
- sung by Maria Muldaur
, with her sultry blues-folk Southern Gospel Revival-singer voice
Which leads to this slightly different version of the story of Little Red Riding Hood ...
Little Red Riding Hood
- sung by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Not at all related to the above subject matter, here's a song about
- sung by Chuck Berry
Christmas didn't escape being a target.
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
- sung by Elmo & Patsy
Christmas Don't Be Late
- sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks
Even TV commercials could be fun - especially around Christmas time ...
Hershey Kisses - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Peanuts character Snoopy imagined he was a World War I flying ace.   Naturally, the story was put to music:
Snoopy and the Red Baron
- sung by the Royal Guardsman
That song was a hit.   So naturally there was a sequel ...
The Return of the Red Baron
- sung by the Royal Guardsman
Of course, you can guess what happened that year on Chrismas day ...
Snoopy's Christmas vs. The Red Baron
- sung by the Royal Guardsman
Snakes are funny creatures, too, right?
Sneaky Snake Likes Root Beer
- sung by Tom T. Hall
But any girl will tell you, "I don't like ...
Spiders and Snakes
- sung by Jim Stafford
Tennesseans can be funny, too, and environmentally concerned at the same time ...
Tennessee Bird Walk
- sung by Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan
Australians wouldn't miss a chance for a bit of humor, and they love their animals, too ...
Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport
- sung by Rolf Harris
A popular fad in the early 1970s was something called "Streaking".
Let Ray Stevens explain to you exactly what that was.
- sung by Ray Stevens
There are many age-old and profound questions, and this is certainly one of them:
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?
- sung by Lonnie Donegan
Speaking of food, did you ever have a meatball on top of your spaghetti that just would not stay put?
On Top of Spaghetti
- sung by Allen Sherman
Patriotism can have a humorous angle to it, too.   It's possible the British might not think so.   Too bad.
The Battle of New Orleans
- sung by Johnny Horton
Speaking of politics, in 1967 Senator Bobby Kennedy (the President's brother) supposedly sang this hit by the Troggs
- sung by Bill Minkin
Religion is not immune from humor, either.   Respectfully, of course.
The Mississippi Squirrel Revival
- sung by Ray Stevens
To be fair, we should better "Give the Devil his due" ... but he
gets a little less
The Devil went down to Georgia
- sung by the Charlie Daniels Band
Speaking of Georgia ...
The Dukes Of Hazzard Theme Song
- sung by Waylon Jennings
You may not have heard, but they did some research on the last things said just before fatal car accidents.
In 49 of these fifty United States, the thing said most often was something very like, "O-oh-h-h sugar!"
In Georgia, it was, "Hey y'all, watch this!"   Doncha know.
So how about it, all you young musicians?   Show us what you can do!
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Our Library Is a Fun Place To Be.
to see the Bryan Larsen gallery.
to see where to buy this rug.
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"Job Lot Cheap", by William Harnett
- on display at the
The Lello Bookstore, Porto, Portugal - J. K. Rowling's inspiration for Hogwarts?
Great Libraries Section
National Library Week
National Library Week in 2019:   April 7-13
National Library Week in 2020:   April 19-25
National Library Week in 2021:   April 5-9
Thinking about a library of your own?   Check out these ideas
Library in Ninevah
built by the Assyrian King
about 640 BC - the oldest known library
The Great Library of Alexandria
, Egypt, built by
, 283 BC
Burned by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, the remainder destroyed by the Christians in 391-400 AD, and whatever still survived (Christian writings since 400?) was claimed to have been destroyed by the Moslem Arabs during their conquest and occupation in 642 AD.
, from the movie, Agora
The Roman Library of Celsus
in Ephesus, Anatolia, now part of SelÁuk, Turkey, 117-262 AD.
The Imperial Library of Constantinople, of the Byzantine Empire, circa 350 to 1453
The Library of St. Catherine's Monastery, at Mount Sinai
The oldest library still in operation, built between 548 and 565 A.D.
Home of the world's largest collection of palimpsests
The Library is in the third story, in the left end of the building
St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai
The House of Wisdom, built in Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age, by the Abbasid dynasty, circa 800 to 1258
The Trinity College Library
, Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1592
The Peabody Library
, Baltimore, Maryland, constructed 1866
The New York Public Library
, New York City
1854 (Astor), 1870 (Lenox), 1880 (New York Free Circulating Library), consolidated 1901.
The first Gutenberg Bible in America
Kansas City Public Library Central Branch
- built in 2004
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC - the largest library in the world
Scott in his library; model railroading and railroading sections begun 1959, politics section begun 1962, fiction section begun 1965, sciences section begun 1969; other sections followed, including philosophy, history, mathematics, aviation, automobiles and motorcycles, humor, photography, the arts, languages, writing and speaking, business and economics, quality management and improvement, project management, information technology, and more.   Resides at its current location since November of 2000.
When it comes to thinking, I wrote the book.
A revolutionary new book by author Scott Crosby
Buy the book here
Buy the Kindle version here
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