Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Dec. 16–22

Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Dec. 16–22
Jeff Minick
This week, we feature a quick-fix grammar guide, children’s stories to warm the heart, and a timely analysis of America’s current predicament.


A Silly Satire on the British Navy

‘Mr. Midshipman Easy’  By Captain Frederick Marryat

In this 19th-century novel, the realities of the life of a British sailor hits a young aristocratic officer hard in this rollicking good read. Silly, yet serious at the same time, the amazing events in Marryat’s tome teaches hard lessons in a most delightful fashion.

CreateSpace, 2016, 220 pages

Whimsical Essays on the Home

‘The Province of the Heart’ By Phyllis McGinley

Perhaps best remembered as a master of light verse, Phyllis McGinley’s essays are just as noteworthy. All her writings—polished to a shine—valued the home, the traditional family, and the institution of marriage. McGinley’s technical proficiency with the written word demonstrates a knack for irony and satire and, above all, that she was having a blast. If you start with this collection of essays, you may then want to delve into her poetry and children’s books. You’ll see how they became bestsellers.

Dell reprint, 1966, 160 pages


‘Grammar for People Who Hate Rules: Killer Tips from the Ruthless Editor’

By Kathleen A. Watson, M.S.

Your class paper has been turned in, graded, and returned. By the grade, it’s obvious your grammar needs work. To survive the class, you need a quick fix. This book may be your lifeline. It offers a handy reference and refresher when clarity counts in your writing. Watson makes things easy to find and explains things clearly, briefly covering topics with a focused, two-page discussion. Small enough to fit in your pocket, it's arranged to allow you to quickly find points of interest.

Ruthless Editor Press, 2016, 166 pages

Cultural Analysis

Bringing America Back to Excellence

‘Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence’ By Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy says Americans have two options in resolving our current challenges: be a victim or use past answers to resolve present issues. We must use America’s past strengths: freedom and individuality. We're each sovereign individuals who can't allow the state to enslave us through money or rules. The author wants to see America the Underdog succeed again by relying on our individual efforts to strive for excellence.

Center Street, 2022, 288 pages


Epics Battles That Saved Democracy

‘The Harvest of War: Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis: The Epic Battles That Saved Democracy’ By Stephen P. Kershaw

The battles in fifth-century B.C. Greece tell us what's required of people who desire freedom over tyranny. Submitting to oppression might have its rewards, but the Greeks would have none of it. Contending with traitors, propaganda, and fighting against an immense world power, the ancient Greeks inspire us even today. A good read.

Pegasus Books, 2022, 480 pages


Humanity Amid the Holocaust

‘Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl’ By Anne Frank, translated by B.M. Mooyaart

Perhaps more than ever, readers will identify with Anne Frank, a young girl who hid with her family in a confined space to escape the Nazis during World War II. She wrote about her life and all its ups and downs. Anne’s attitude and how she understood the dire situation she found herself in made all the difference in what she wrote in her diary. Her stark fate is in contrast to her positive approach to her situation: “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” Her lockdown can teach us much about ours.

Pocket Books, 1956, 237 pages

For Kids

A Musical Monk

‘The First Notes: The Story of DO, RE, MI’ By Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

Guido the monk invents staff notation, but no one wants it—until Guido learns to serve others: training singers in the cathedral choir. An important lesson for all of us. You’ll be singing for joy along with your young readers.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2022, 48 pages

The Wonders of Nature

‘Bright Winter Night’ By Faith D’Aluisio and Peter Menzel

It may be cold outside in this lovely children’s story, but forest animals warm our hearts as they work together to build a sled to see the Northern Lights. Children learn that each animal has something wonderful to give. Ages 3–7.

Two Lions, 2022, 33 pages
Linda Wiegenfeld is a retired teacher. She can be reached for comments or suggestions at [email protected]
Related Topics