Reading Lessons

Red books and Blue books, where does it end?  Amazon maintains a book list (updated daily) that purports to identify what folks are reading in the Blue and Red states.

I have read a few of these books, but not many: Decision Points by George Bush was a class assignment (on both lists). Years ago, I read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (#9 on the Red list). To say it was eye-opening is an understatement. I have The Road to Serfdom (Red list), by the Austrian economist Hayek, on my Kindle as a “to read” book.  

I have read a few books on the Blue state list: That Used to Be Us by Thomas Friedman, and The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg.

I notice the right is reading Christopher Hitchens and the left Ricard Dawkins, but I have read neither.

I have read many books on economics and political science, but not so many of those listed as Amazon as political best-sellers.


Yesterday, I began reading Anthony Beevor’s new book on WWII (not on the Amazon list and not likely to be). Very interesting so far.  This is a huge book and will take me a very long time to read, at one chapter a day. I bought the hardcover for David and the Kindle version for me.  With 863 pages, his hardcover is so heavy, it hurts my wrists to lift it. 

Although I was used to reading several books at a time in grad school,the other books I have been reading go on the back burner for a while. The Beevor book is huge because it covers the whole world and the whole world war.  For example, yesterday I was reading about the fighting among and between Manchurian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian fighters in 1939. Next comes Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

Although primarily focused on the Beevor book, I managed to read a little of Bob Woodward’s new book, The Price of Politics, early this morning (not on the Red-Blue Amazon list). 

I keep one foot in current events.  As a historian, I continue to have the other foot permanently planted in the past. The really interesting thing about the past is that it affects the present and probably the future.  Regarding world problems, as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”


The weather has been so nice to us lately, that I have been walking every day…good for my arthritic joints. Speaking of joints, my son and I have been having a discussion about grab bars in the bathtub.  Getting into and out of the tub is a challenge. With arthritic knees, you can’t always lift your leg high enough to clear the side of the tub without a support to hold.  More and more, I think that grab bars should be in every home.  Children can use them too, or a young adult who is bathing a child or a dog in the bathtub. Oh well, he doesn’t think he will ever need them in his home, but if he inherits the family diseases he may be surprised. 

My sister writes that neuropathy (side effect of chemo) is much worse, it is now affecting the tips of her fingers.  She is seeing a hand therapist 3 times a week.  She said her assignment at present is to take wooden clothes pins from a bag, pin them up and then take them down again.  Who knew that good old-fashioned clothes pins were so important? 

Above a shot from our bedroom in a B&B in the Cotswalds in England. (Photo credit: Schmidleysscribblins, 1995) 




9 thoughts on “Reading Lessons

  1. An interesting list that makes me feel extremely inadequate. I’ve read “Dreams from My Father” and that’s pretty much it. I’m intimidated by the sheer volume of the Caro books, but last year I did read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream.” Still, I guess I need to do more homework.

    I definitely agree with you on the grab bars. They should be standard equipment in all bathrooms. Besides, you don’t have to be elderly to take a fall in a slippery shower.


    • I began Janny Scott’s book about Obama, but never finished it. Maybe I will pick it up again some day. I think Doris Kerns Goodwin has been disgraced within the history profession by charges of plagerism. Ditto Stephen Ambrose. Too bad as both write interesting books.


  2. That WWI book sounds fascinating. I’ll see if I can find it for the nook. Don’t let the leg splits pull you apart now. 🙂

    RYN: Clothes…I think the young man died. His family bundled up his things and gave them to us. There was no other explanation for the great masses of stuff they gave us. If it all was dirty, all that mattered was that they remembered us.


  3. You have so many nice photos of England, and I enjoy looking at them. At my house, we have a shower stall and a bathtub. We find it easier to step out of the shower stall, so we use it exclusively. You appear to be a voracious reader. Kudos to you!


    • I live in an old house and my shower is in a tub. David has the shower which he uses. I have grab bars installed in every bathroom for our safety.

      Re: books yes I am a reader, but some books are better than others.

      Re: England, hard to not take a good photo in that beautiful place.


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