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November 17, 2019

Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-17-2019

Biblioteca Vasconcelos Mexico City 01 small.jpg
Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico City, Mexico

Good morning to all you 'rons, 'ettes, lurkers, and lurkettes, wine moms, frat bros, crétins sans pantalon (who are technically breaking the rules), conspiracy theorists, unindicted co-conspirators and unimpeachable quid-pro-quoers. Welcome once again to the stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, a weekly compendium of reviews, observations, snark, witty repartee, hilarious bon mots, and a continuing conversation on books, reading, spending way too much money on books, writing books, and publishing books by escaped oafs and oafettes who follow words with their fingers and whose lips move as they read. Unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these pants, for which I thank my lucky stars that they're more of a turquoise color, and not lime green, or burnt orange.

Pic Note:

Yeah, I know this one is not going to be to everyone's taste, and I generally don't like the aesthetics of modern libraries, but I kind of like this one. I had to laugh at its construction history, though:

Then President of Mexico Vicente Fox inaugurated the library on 16 May 2006, and stated that this was one of the most advanced constructions of the 21st century, and that it would be spoken of throughout the world. This inauguration took place a week before the deadline the president had to promote his accomplishments before the 2006 presidential election.

The library had to close in March 2007 due to construction defects...

AHAHAHA!!!!! Stop laughing, you racists!

The Superior Auditor of the Federation detected 36 construction irregularities and issued 13 motions of responsibility for public servants of the federal government. Among the irregularities found was the misplacement of marble blocks at a cost of 15 million pesos (roughly 1.4 million dollars).

During Calderón's administration, efforts to restore it continued with a further investment of 32 million pesos (roughly US$3 million).

It was reopened to the public in November 2008 after 22 months.

So, from this account, the library was built broken and then had to be fixed. And you have to wonder how many pesos went to graft, kickbacks, or simply disappeared into the pockets of the well-connected.

It Pays To Increase Your Word Power®

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On Writing

An 'ette author asked me to share this with you:

A thank-you to the Ace of Spades book thread
by Libby Sternberg

Whenever my books are mentioned on the Ace of Spades weekly book thread, I can count on seeing sales spike. This confirms something I've long believed: conservatives want to support conservative writers. Not just nonfiction authors writing about topics conservatives are interested in, but fiction writers like myself writing mystery, romance, women's fiction, historical fiction and more.

We're not all Ayn Rands, penning allegorical tales with libertarian lessons, but you might sometimes catch a whiff of conservative/libertarian sentiment floating on the breeze or in the background.

Selling books is hard. Even for big, so-called traditional publishers, it's challenging to reach readers willing to shell out bucks and take a chance on a story. The book industry, unlike other parts of the entertainment industry, never seemed to latch on to paid advertising, for example, and seems to rely mostly on earned media and word-of-mouth recommendations to move books.

For small, independent presses and indie writers, selling books is even harder. We don't have the clout of big publishers to get reviews.

So when a site like Ace of Spades devotes even a small bit of their cyber real estate to our offerings, it makes a huge difference.

My only comment is something I believe we would all agree with: the necessity of books by conservative authors must not be allowed to deteriorate into some sort of mirror-image 'woke' thing and purity enforcement where all the right boxes have to be checked in order for a book to be accepted. This is what the left does, and we don't want any sort of rigidly enforced ideological requirements, we just want good, well-written stories that thrill you, chill you, make you think, make you wonder, kick your ass, transport you to new worlds, or some combination thereof. And don't worry about having to be explicitly conservative, because readers want a story, not a lecture. If you're conservative, it will show up in your story somewhere, perhaps even in some ways you can't anticipate. Because that's just who you are, and you can't hide it.

What the progressives are doing to themselves is self-destructive. Because it's hard to write a story if you're forced to lard it up with someone else's ideology in order to get published. The stories will be crap. Progressives ruin everything, including art. My favorite anecdote on this topic is one I heard from a friend of mind who studied for a year in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. While he was there, he liked to visit the Hermitage Museum which has tons of fine art, which is divided into pre-Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary sections. He was amused when he noticed that the pre-Revolutionary wing was usually packed with visitors, but the sections that contained all of the art produced after the Revolution never seemed to have many people in it. In other words, the commies pretty much destroyed Russian art and the only works they could produce was junk that nobody wanted.

I'm all for supporting conservative authors, and I try to do my share of that, but I'm hoping this is a temporary thing based on the current social climate. Ultimately, people should be buying books not because they're conservative, but because they're just great stories.


And speaking of recommendations:

You think YOU had a killer workday. . .

Get ready for the FASTEST thriller of the summer!

Each morning in his 45th floor executive office, David Elliot savors the quiet moments until the workday begins.

Until today, when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him.

For the rest of the day, he will be trapped in his midtown office building, and everyone David Elliot meets will try to kill him.

He has 24 hours to find out why. . .

In Vertical Run, you can escape into a world on fast forward, a drama that plays out with electrifying intensity. No one who reads this book will ever see the office the same way again.

Strong words. You can pony up $7.99 for Vertical Run and find out if they're true.

Who Dis:

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Last Sunday's 'Who Dis' was Dame Judi Dench

Moron Recommendations

In response to last week's progressive book recommendation, Kindltot commented:

78 OM, I would think the progressive book most likely appreciated by the horde would be The Progressive Era, by Murray Rothbard.

Not a Progressive book, mind you, but a book about Progressivism

Posted by: Kindltot at November 10, 2019 09:36 AM (1glZx)

From the author's forward:

Progressivism brought the triumph of institutionalized racism, the disfranchising of blacks in the South, the cutting off of immigration, the building up of trade unions by the federal government into a tripartite of big government, big business, big union alliance, the glorifying of military virtues and conscription, and a drive for American expansion abroad. In short, the Progressive era ushered the modern American politico-economic system into being.

Amazon has this book on Kindle for 3.95, but the free-market site Mises.org has it in a number of formats, including an audiobook version, available for free here. Published posthumously, this meaty tome weighs in at 600+ pages.

It might be interesting to compare this book with the one by Richard Hofstadter discussed last week. Because it appears that both authors are looking at the same history and arriving at very, very different conclusions.


173 Another excellent book, written by someone who was not only a "progressive" but an out-and-out Marxist when he wrote it is "Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made" by Eugene Genovese. It's based on the recollections of elderly blacks who had been slaves and were interviewed in the 1930's. The book examines the way slaves were able to create meaning and dignity for themselves while living under an unjust system. Although Genovese sympathies are clearly with the slaves, he exhibited compassion for the white slaveonwers as well, giving a much more nuanced viewpoint than is currently the fashion.

That sort of nuance and compassion might be why Genovese eventually moved to the right - ALL the way to the right. He and his wife even converted to Catholicism. Genovese, born in Brooklyn, had a great deal of respect for Southern manners and values, whether they were exhibited by whites or blacks. "Roll Jordan Roll" was published, I believe, in 1970. There would be no room for him in academia today.

Posted by: Donna&&&&V. at November 10, 2019 10:21 AM (d6Ksn)

Thought this one might be OOP -- and I think it is, but e-versions are available. Here is the Amazon blurb:

This landmark history of slavery in the South—a winner of the Bancroft Prize—challenged conventional views of slaves by illuminating the many forms of resistance to dehumanization that developed in slave society.

Rather than emphasizing the cruelty and degradation of slavery, historian Eugene Genovese investigates the ways that slaves forced their owners to acknowledge their humanity through culture, music, and religion. Not merely passive victims, the slaves in this account actively engaged with the paternalism of slaveholding culture in ways that supported their self-respect and aspirations for freedom. Roll, Jordan, Roll covers a vast range of subjects, from slave weddings and funerals, to the language, food, clothing, and labor of slaves, and places particular emphasis on religion as both a major battleground for psychological control and a paradoxical source of spiritual strength. Displaying keen insight into the minds of both slaves and slaveholders, Roll, Jordan, Roll is a testament to the power of the human spirit under conditions of extreme oppression.

The Kindle version of Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made is available for $12.99. Also used hardbacks starting at about $10.


29 I read an excellent book, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. In his author's note Graff writes "... this book intends to capture how Americans lived that day how the attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Somerset County, Pennsylvania, rippled across lives from coast to coast..." Gleaned from over 5000 oral histories taken from 9/11/2001 to the spring of 2019, Graff wrote an engrossing, informative account of that day. I found this book hard to put down.

Posted by: Zoltan at November 03, 2019 09:08 AM (MikIT)

I can't imagine what it must be like to be, say, one of the airline ticket agents who checked in Mohamed Atta or Marwan al-Shehhi and then finding out later who he was. It's not really your fault, but still... There was some discussion on Friday's rant thread about brooding and not being able to let things ago, and this is something I don't think I'd be able to stop thinking about for a long time.

Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

The Kindle edition of The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett Graff goes for $14.99.


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Books By Morons

Moron Daniel Humphreys, author of the post-apocalyptic zombie series Z-Day, has just published a new release in that series, a short story collection entitled Places Beyond the Wild: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Anthology. Dan tells me it's a bit different than your standard short story collection:

Rather than providing a simple writing prompt and presenting unrelated stories on a common theme, I worked closely with each submitter to align their story with existing canon and even expand it in some ways. I then wrote the first and last novellas to bookend the rest. The storyline takes the reader on a journey through the existing timeline, starting shortly after the opening chapters of A Place Outside the Wild and concluding several years after the end of A Place for War to show where the universe is headed in the future.

There are some great entries, including a mind-bending one by fellow member of the horde Hans Schantz. Z-Day as it stands wouldn't be nearly so successful as it has been without the support and readership of the blog, and I think they'll enjoy the latest addition as much as I did putting it together.

The Amazon blurb gives a few more details:

The vast wilds outside a place called Hope hold their own stories. When the end came, what happened to everyone else?

Massachusetts. Texas. Alabama. Tennessee. Pockets of humanity have persisted through the apocalypse. All have tales of survival and loss.

Mad Dog Mattis’ last stand at the Pentagon. The first Christmas after the end of the world. A family isolated on their homestead as the evolving dead press at the fences. A desperate quest for helicopters to destroy the undead.

Come read through this expansion of Daniel Humphreys’ Dragon Award nominated Z-Day universe. Twelve brand new survival stories written by the best up and coming independent sci-fi and fantasy writers will thrill fans of the series.

Available on Kindle for the reasonable price of $4.99.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, insults, threats, ugly pants pics and moron library submissions may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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