Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Aug. 19–25

This week, we look at exotic journals from the female “Lawrence of Arabia” and a history of early U.S. Navy heroes and their inspiring dedication.


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A Fun, Mystical Thriller

‘Percy St.-John and the Chronicle of Secrets’
By E.A. Allen

Fate brings Percy to an old monastery in Switzerland. His gifts as a thief, however, result in an unforeseen adventure against a great source of power found in an ancient book. Joined by a young monk and a French girl, Percy leads the way to uncover a mystery.

Histria Books, 2021, 212 pages

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A Mystery in a Literary B&B

‘A Fatal Booking’
By Victoria Gilbert

In this third novel in the “Booklover’s B&B Mystery” series, Charlotte Reed, the owner of Chapters Bed and Breakfast on the Carolina coast, discovers a guest, disliked by all who knew her, murdered in the garden. Soon she joins forces with her friend Ellen Montgomery to track down the killer. As they rummage through the lives of the suspects present that day, however, they discover that each has the motive and means for committing the crime. A delightful escape into intrigue and a vicarious trip to the beach.

Crooked Lane Books, 2022, 304 pages


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It Adds Up to a Fun Read

By Paul Lockhart

Math is hard, right? Most people master arithmetic by grade school. It’s so familiar to us that we view it as mundane. Lockhart, though, shows that there’s more to arithmetic than meets the eye. The author goes beyond arithmetic as rote calculation of numbers and sees it as a way to organize and manipulate information. He explains the inner machinery of arithmetic, through the ages and by different cultures, in entertaining and simple language that actually makes understanding arithmetic fun.

Belknap Press, 2017, 240 pages


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Preble’s Boys in Action

‘Intrepid Sailors: The Legacy of Preble’s Boys and the Tripoli Campaign
By Chipp Reid

This book explores the U.S. Navy during the First Barbary War in the Mediterranean from 1801 to 1805. Commodore Edward Preble commanded Navy forces during the most dramatic period of the war, from 1803 to 1804. Relying on primary sources, Reid shows the war through the eyes and words of the squadron’s junior officers, men whose dedication and professionalism made them heroes in their day and have continued to inspire the Navy ever since.

Naval Institute Press, 2012, 320 pages

Travel Writing

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Wandering the Arabian Desert

‘Tales from the Queen of the Desert’
By Gertrude Bell

Gertrude Bell has been called “the female Lawrence of Arabia.” In 1892, a visit to her uncle in Persia created a lifelong fascination with the Middle East. Well ahead of her time, Bell traveled, explored, and wrote extensively about this region. Her diaries and journals give us a glimpse into her extraordinary world and time.

Hesperus Classics, 2015, 304 pages


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What the Best of Men Tell Us About Manhood

‘The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood’
By William J. Bennett

This hefty collection of articles about the meaning of manhood presents moderns such as Winston Churchill, James Baldwin, and Audie Murphy, but the majority of the entries give us men from the time of Theodore Roosevelt back to the ancient Greeks. Plato, Plutarch, Lord Acton, Noah Webster, and Davy Crockett are only a few of the historical figures who share with us, either by word or deed, the ideals of manliness. Here’s a great book to enjoy on its own behalf or as a springboard to writers and heroes we may have missed.

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2013, 608 pages

For Kids

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The Last of the Romans

‘Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last’
By Paolo Belzoni

This sixth-century Byzantine commander won renown as one of the greatest generals of all time. Along with its war tales, this novel recreates the religious strife and political intrigues of the Eastern Roman Empire. Grades 8 and higher.

Arx Publications, 2006, 248 pages

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A Lesson Learned by a Bad-Tempered Ladybug

‘The Grouchy Ladybug’
By Eric Carle

Eric Carle’s recognizable illustrations bring to life the tale of a ladybug with a bad attitude. The concepts of time, shape, size, and character are scattered throughout as the ladybug exhausts itself before learning its lesson.

HarperFestival, 1999, 44 pages

Dustin Bass
Dustin Bass is the host of EpochTV's "About the Book," a show about new books with the authors who wrote them. He is an author and co-host of The Sons of History podcast.
Jeff Minick
Jeff Minick lives and writes in Front Royal, Virginia. He is the author of two novels, “Amanda Bell” and “Dust on Their Wings,” and two works of non-fiction, “Learning as I Go” and “Movies Make the Man.”
Anita L. Sherman is an award-winning journalist who has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for local papers and regional publications in Virginia. She now works as a freelance writer and is working on her first novel. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to four, and she resides in Warrenton, Va. Anita can be reached at
Mark Lardas
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, Texas. His website is
Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
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