Books

Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for May 13–19

This week’s selection of books features a thriller that nearly predicted 9/11 and an account that traces important technologies through history.

Fiction

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A Predictive Thriller

‘Debt of Honor’
By Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy became a literary icon nearly overnight with “The Hunt for Red October.” Those interested in military activities around the world became massive fans. His book “Debt of Honor” practically predicted 9/11. The classic character Jack Ryan takes the lead.

Berkley, 1995, 1008 pages

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A Romp Through Boyhood Summer

‘Dandelion Wine’
By Ray Bradbury

In this autobiographical novel, Ray Bradbury whisks us back to 1928 in Green Town, Illinois. Douglas Spaulding, at 12 years old, engages in adventure and intrigue while also brooding on his impending adulthood and the larger questions of life. It’s a summer of new sneakers, fireworks, and family stories. With Grandpa’s dandelion wine serving as a symbol of the season’s essence, Bradbury recreates the simple joys and pleasures of his childhood’s small-town life. A great read for older kids and adults alike.

Bantam Books, Reissue Edition, 1985, 256 pages

Technology

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Journey Through Time by Tech

‘How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World’
By Steven Johnson

This book examines six technologies that formed the modern world: glass and glassmaking, cooling and freezing, sound projection and recording, sanitation, time measurement, and artificial light. The chapters follow each item from ancient times to the present, showing their impacts on society. For example, the chapter on glass begins as jewelry in ancient Egypt and ends with its use as fiber in telecommunications today. It’s a fascinating look at the history of technology and its effects.

Riverhead Books, 2014, 304 pages

History

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A Ship That Was No Joke

‘The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade’
By A.E. Rooks

This book tells of a ship that was instrumental in closing the illegal West African slave trade. Never a formally commissioned warship in the Royal Navy, the Black Joke was the vessel of Britain’s West Africa Squadron most feared by slave traders. Black Joke captured or participated in the capture of 14 slavers, freeing more than 5,700 slaves. It’s a classic study on the subject and one that will be considered valuable a century from now.

Scribner, 2022, 400 pages

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Last of the Saddle Tramps

‘The Ride of Her Life’
By Elizabeth Letts

It’s 1954. Maine farmer Annie Wilkins, at 63 years old, is told that she has just a few years left to live. With no family and little money, she decides to fulfill her dream of seeing the Pacific Ocean. She leaves with her dog, Depeche Toi; her horse, Tarzan; and a hopeful heart. This is a true story of an incredible journey of faith.

Ballantine Books, 2022, 336 pages

Classics

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Guiding Lights From the Ancients

‘Plutarch’s Lives: Volume I’
Translated by George Long and Aubury Stewart

Historian, biographer, and essayist Plutarch wrote parallel biographies of Greek and Roman statesmen, rulers, and warriors. In these comparisons, he was less interested in the history of these notable men and more so in their personal character: their sense of honor and duty, their humanity, their leadership skills, and their largesse of spirit and wealth. These biographies influenced such writers as Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Emerson. America’s Founders also took lessons from Plutarch on vice, tyranny, and civic virtue.

East India Publishing Company, 2021, 331 pages

For Kids

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A Boy With a Big Imagination

‘Calvin and Hobbes’
By Bill Watterson

These hilarious cartoons about a boy, his imaginary friend—a tiger—and their adventures and mishaps will bring laughter to readers young and old alike. An added bonus is a vocabulary-rich text for the younger set. This book is for elementary school students to adults.

Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1987, 128 pages

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Farmland Charm

‘The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck’
By Beatrix Potter

Jemima Puddle-Duck wants to find a place to lay and keep her eggs. When a foxy gentleman offers to help, Jemima’s fate becomes uncertain. No child’s bookshelf should be without the adorable farmland characters of Beatrix Potter.

Warne, 2002, 64 pages

Dustin Bass
Dustin Bass is the host of Epoch TV'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 has four children and a growing platoon of grandchildren. For 20 years, he taught history, literature, and Latin to seminars of homeschooling students in Asheville, N.C. 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.” Today, he lives and writes in Front Royal, Va. See JeffMinick.com to follow his blog.
Mark Lardas
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, Texas. His website is MarkLardas.com
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 anitajustwrite@gmail.com
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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