BOOK ENDS: What I Read and Why

An Introduction to a New Section Beginning in 2020

This is an introduction to a new section on my website about the books I read and why. It will include what I have learned from each book or topic, how the book surprised me, what I want to retain from the reading of the book and why I feel I am a better-educated person because I read each book.

Also, why I feel like my education is well-rounded because I do not limit myself to any particular topic or type of book but prowl around the book shelves and book lists looking for things I didn’t know.

Book Reports will not follow any particular format because it has only one critic. Me. I do not expect very many people to ever read these Pages if any at all, and so I will tailor the reports to jar my own memory by noting those things that had meaning for me.

The Reports will be found under Pages on this website so if you decide to read one you must scroll down to the section labeled

“Turn the Page”.

I have always been a reader. I went to the library as a child and came home with the 10-books-for-two-weeks which was what was allowed and read them all several times. I have continued the practice my entire life though not necessarily with books from the library. Since I couldn’t write in the books from the library, it hampered my enjoyment of the book.

I don’t like to read using technology. I like the book in my lap and a pen in my hand. By that I mean no Kindle or other online presentation of the book.

I love to hold the book and scribble in it.

I attribute much of my understanding of history, cultures, people, medicine and other things to my life-long love of reading. 

I didn’t come from a home where people read or discussed things in contemporary or past culture or discussed theology or history. I must have come to this life with this love already in my spirit.

By reading, I have been able to shape an education for myself that is broad and interesting rather than being held within a small area of expertise. As an example, in reading about Abraham Lincoln (my favorite biography by Ron Chernow), I also learn a lot about U.S. Grant. After reading the book about Lincoln and the book about Grant, by the same author, I want to know more about their wives. Mary Lincoln is always presented as a nightmare and while Julia Dent Grant is nice, she is ambitious. Tomorrow I will receive a well-recommended book about Mary Todd Lincoln and I can’t wait.  Lincoln and Grant were abolitionists and poor men, their wives were southerners from wealthy families and held personal slaves. Understanding Grant made me want to read more about William T. Sherman. This is an example of how “one thing leads to another” and how I have broadened my personal education by following the clues in one book to expand my understanding by finding the next book in the same area of interest. 

Today, I prefer to thrift the books I read because books are expensive and book stores are closing one-by-one as people go online to read. That doesn’t mean that I don’t buy books online because I often do. I love the selection on Amazon but it has limitations. Some books are hard to find in thrift stores. Most books I have heard of or want to read have to be stumbled upon unless I can buy them online.

I rarely know what I am looking for until I find it and my interests are varied. I love to move from person to person and topic to topic. 

I read more than one book at a time. Usually two but sometimes three and generally on different topics and by different authors. That way if a big book like GRANT leaves me overwhelmed and careless with the details I want to remember, I can switch to THE VILLAGES OF GREAT BRITAIN.  Some books, like the one I have just mentioned, are like reading the dictionary but I have found ancestral names and places on its pages and so its perusal has already paid off. THE VILLAGES OF GREAT BRITAIN led me to an old thrifted book called THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND and also another old, thrifted book called THE TREASURES OF GREAT BRITAIN. 

So many of my ancestors are from the towns and villages in the first book. Some of Tom’s ancestors are from Wales. That fact led me to purchase two books. One is a history of the language which I found fascinating and I feel more able to pronounce a few Welsh words when I see them, especially groups of consonants without vowels. The second book I am waiting for is a history of the Kings of Wales. 

I am writing these book reports for ME.

Tom encouraged me to write something about the many books I have read so that as time passes I will be able to retain more of what I have read. I have already forgotten many of the wonderful books I have read.

His admonition is on the mark and I will begin with these Pages.

If you like them great.

If not, don’t read the books

and don’t read any more reports.

but if you don’t read you won’t be as smart as I am

and we won’t have much to talk about.