Top Ten Tuesday & Teaser

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl, is “Top Ten Books You Recommend the Most”. But first, a Tuesday Tease!

In his informal report to the President, Tom Ochiltree, aide to General Sibley, called accurately the losses on his own side but exaggerated by many score the Yankee losses. His ‘met, attacked, whipped and routed’ is Texan for ‘Veni, vidi, vici‘.”

The Confederate Reader: How the South Saw the War, Richard Harwell. A collection of military reports, letters from soldiers and civilians, etc. conveying the war as experienced.

(1)   Anything by P.G.  Wodehouse.  I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: you don’t know how funny English can be until you’ve read Wodehouse. 

“It seems to me, Jeeves, that the ceremony may be one fraught with considerable interest.”
“Yes, sir.”
“What, in your opinion, will the harvest be?”
“One finds it difficult to hazard a conjecture, sir.”
“You mean the imagination boggles?”
“Yes, sir.”
I inspected my imagination. He was right. It boggled.

(2) Jayber Crow,  Wendell Berry.   My favorite novel, the story of a man in search of meaning finding himself in a little Kentucky town, where he becomes part of its own story. 

(3)  Selma: A Bicentennial History, Alston Fitts. This is more work-related, but whenever someone comes into the library requesting a general history of Selma, this is my go-to.

(4 & 5) Selma 1965, Chuck Fager;  Dividing Lines,  J. Mills Thornton III.   The first is a general history of the Selma movement, and the latter is a history of municipal politics and the Civil Rights movement in Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham. Again, work-related.  I both draw on these when I’m working research requests and refer interested readers to them. 

(6) The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis. I’ve read this several times over the years and reviewed it properly in 2020. Most readers are familiar with the premise, but just in case: this is a collection of letters from a senior demon to his apprentice, advising him on the best ways to subtly ensnare and undermine the spiritual health & development of their ‘patient’. I was riveted by it when I first read it as a non-Christian, and it’s since become an Advent or Lenten devotional. I posted some quotes here, but here’s a taste.

“It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure they are always very ‘spiritual’, that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, which a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. […] In the second place, since his idea about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother.[…] In time, you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one.”

(7) Amusing Ourselves to Death,  Neil Postman.  On the degeneration of public discourse into entertainment, something Postman was writing about in the eighties but which is far, far worse in the social media age. 

(8) The Meditations, Marcus Aurelius. These days I tend to recommend the Hays translation. 

(9) A Man on the Moon, Neil Chaikan. THE Apollo history, bar none. 

(10) The Only Plane in the Sky. An oral history of 9/11.   Recommended to anyone, but especially to younger people who grew up in a post 9/11 world and can’t otherwise appreciate the brutal awakening that morning was to Americans basking in the ‘end of history’.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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11 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday & Teaser

  1. lydiaschoch says:

    Anything sounds really good.

    • That quote is from “Very Good Jeeves”. I mean literally anything from Wodehouse. I love his Bertie & Wooster books the best, but he has other fiction as well.

  2. Definitely agree on The Only Plane in the Sky. Very powerful read and it brought me right back to that day.

  3. These sound like great books and recommendations.

  4. Nice teaser! Totally new to me one! I hope you enjoy the rest!

    Thanks for visiting my Tuesday post!

  5. curlygeek04 says:

    The Only Plane in the Sky was fantastic, it really added to my understanding of what happened that day. I’ve never read Wodehouse, I really should.

  6. I just finished Jeeves Returns this week. Wodehouse really is quite funny.

  7. Susan says:

    THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is fabulous! I read it when I was a teenager and loved it. I really need to re-read it one of these days…Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  8. I’ve read one of the P. G. Wodehouse books, and I will read more. I wonder which ones you especially liked.

    I thought The Only Plane in the Sky was a devastatingly gripping read.

    And—Jayber Crow is your favorite novel? On my list!

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