As you scramble about for gift ideas, here are a few books that I highly recommend:
- "The Madness of Crowds" by Douglas Murray. I wish everyone - especially those in Britain and the United States - would read this book.
- "Communism" by Richard Pipes. A short and intelligent overview by one of the top scholars on the Soviet Union.
- "The Comedians" by Graham Greene. Great drama in Duvalier's Haiti.
- "Churchill & Orwell" by Thomas E. Ricks. Two powerful personalities who shaped our world.
- "Berlin Stories" by Christopher Isherwood. The author lived in Berlin as the Nazis came to power. These rather strange stories are reflected in "Cabaret."
- "The Last Man in Europe" by Dennis Glover. A novel about Orwell that reveals more than a biography.
- "Simple Rules: How to Survive in a Complex World" by Donald Sull and KathleenM. Eisenhardt. A helpful tool for decision-making.
- "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. Practical ideas on shaping a positive identity.
- "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry. I recently heard of someone who'd never read this great novel. How can that be?
- "Reveille in Washington 1860-1865" by Margaret Leech. For any Civil War buffs on your list. Washington was quite the place in those days.
- "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. A bizarre and riveting tale of a couple of young people in occupied Europe.
- "The Wonderful Country" by Tom Lea. A western about the old days along the border with Mexico. I gave a copy to an old friend who, as a child, used to cross the border "at least sixteen times a day."
- "Listening to Your Life." Daily meditations by Frederick Buechner. I will finish my second reading on December 31 and will start it over again.
- "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel. Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell? Fascinating stuff. The long-awaited third volume will be out in March.
[Photo by Caley Dimmock at Unsplash]