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Daily Tech News 1 October 2023 | Main | In Memoriam: Diane Feinstein...With Thanks
October 01, 2023

Sunday Morning Book Thread - 10-01-2023 ["Perfessor" Squirrel]


Welcome to the prestigious, internationally acclaimed, stately, and illustrious Sunday Morning Book Thread! The place where all readers are welcome, regardless of whatever guilty pleasure we feel like reading. Here is where we can discuss, argue, bicker, quibble, consider, debate, confabulate, converse, and jaw about our latest fancy in reading material. As always, pants are required, unless you are wearing these pants...

So relax, find yourself a warm kitty (or warm puppy--I won't judge) to curl up in your lap, and dive into a new book. What are YOU reading this fine morning?


Stand up! Yes, you there, wearing the pants woven from cotton candy and silly string! You stand up, too! And put down that weedwhacker!

Take a bow! Together we've achieved a historic milestone since I've taken over as the custodian of the Sunday Morning Book Thread.

Thanks to all of you, we've compiled over 1000 recommendations of reading material. If I had access to the flaming skull, I'd gladly post that at the top of the page as a signal for this amazing achievement.

As usual, you can find the recommendations at:

Now, in actuality, far more than 1000 recommendations have been made since I'm only counting those that I've been able to collect since February of 2022. Still, that's just incredible. To put that in perspective, if you were to read just one of those books a week, it would take nearly 20 years to read them all.

In order for me to really grab onto recommendations, I usually look for the following criteria:

  • Is it a stand-alone comment? Sometimes people recommend more than one book in a comment, or try to recommend all of the works of an author. This is fine, but it's hard to parse out the books so I can put them in the Libib site sometimes.
  • Does the comment include both the title of the book and its author(s). This makes it easy for me to look up the book's ISBN, which is what I use to add them to the AoSHQ Recommendation library.
  • Does the commenter have a unique insight into WHY the book is recommended? Saying a book is great is not enough. I'm sure we'd all like to know why a book resonates with you personally. It is just the quality of the writing? If so, what makes is great? Is it the complexity of the narrative? Please give us a *reason* why you are recommending the book.

The best comments are the ones that are featured in the Moron Recommendations below. I look for recommendations that lend themselves to commentary on my part, either because I can connect it to another story or because it speaks to me in some way.

I would also like to share the top recommenders of books so far:

  1. 56 recommendations - All Hail Eris
  2. 54 recommendations - Zoltan
  3. 36 recommendations - Wolfus Aurelius
  4. 30 recommendations - JTB
  5. 26 recommendations - Thomas Paine; Trimegistus
  6. 25 recommendations - Kindltot; dash my lace wigs
  7. 21 recommendations - Ace-Approved Author A.H. Lloyd; Mary Poppins' Practically Perfect Piercing; Sharkman
  8. 20 recommendations - Nacly Dog
  9. 18 recommendations - Weak Geek
  10. 15 recommendations - sharon (willow's apprentice)

Just for comparison, trailing along near the bottom of the pack:

  • 2 recommendations - "Perfessor" Squirrel

The bottom line is that there are recommendations aplenty for anyone who is looking for something new to read. If you can't find at least ONE Moron-recommended book to read, you ain't tryin'!

Speaking of recommendations, last week I mentioned that I've been reading Tad Williams' epic fantasy series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. A few of you mentioned that you've tried to read it--based on recommendations--and just couldn't get into it. That's part of the nature of recommendations, unfortunately. I read the first half of Gene Wolfe's epic science fiction series The Book of the New Sun and while I enjoyed it for the most part, it didn't quite resonate with me as it might for the person who recommended it. I do see how Wolfe's work has been influenced by previous authors and has served to influence later authors, so I can certainly appreciate it on those merits, even if the story itself doesn't quite grip me as much as Tad Williams' story does. I suspect our favorite books speak to us at certain times in our life when we are most receptive to the lessons they have to share, so while WE might enjoy them, someone who is at a different point in life or with different life experiences might not have the same enjoyment. And that's perfectly OK.





Friend of the blog Bob Zimmerman, who runs the Behind the Black website, a frequently linked website on J.J.'s Morning Report, has asked for a second posting here after having his book favorably reviewed over at American Thinker:

conscious-choice.jpg Today my book, Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, got a nice review at American Thinker: Moral Choices and the Colonization of Space

As I am a regular reader of Ace, as well as having my own worked linked there regularly by JJ Sefton, I thought this review allows me to once again shamelessly ask you to plug my book. You've done it before, but that was awhile ago.

I have attached an image of the book's cover if you wish to use it. From today's review :
What makes Conscious Choice interesting is that it's not just another social history of what happened, and who did what to whom in a horrible time of man's inhumanity to man. It's an effort to draw concrete knowledge from the past, for application to solving predictable problems in the not-too-distant, not altogether impossible future.

Conscious Choice reads easily, flows smoothly, is linguistically elegant, covers an extremely important topic, and asks important questions. Conscious Choice is also well referenced, with two appendices of additional data and sourcing information for the deepest dive. Conscious Choice is well worth reading simply to revel in the technical merits, which are far too rare these days. It would also pair well with a rereading of Robert A. Heinlein's classic The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, possibly while listening to Jason Aldean's "Rich Men North of Richmond," and sipping a few pints of good New England beer.
From my original press release (note the italics tags):
In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.

Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

"Zimmerman's ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says." — Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


In historical fiction, classic series of man in a medieval world interacting with technology is The Crosstime Engineer by Leo Frankowski. The title character is accidentally dropped in Poland about 10 years before the Mongols will show up to level the place. So he has to kick start the Industrial Revolution seven centuries early. The author also touches on how his title character must reconcile his socialism and Catholicism.

Posted by: Dread0 at September 24, 2023 09:13 AM (Wzyjq)

Comment: This is a somewhat interesting subgenre of historical fiction, when you drop a man from modern times into the past with only the knowledge they bring with them. Usually it's someone with a verifiable set of skills that will help them survive in the past, such as medical or engineering knowledge. Then they have to overcome challenges of dealing with the local society and culture that may see the character as a threat (e.g., a witch or warlock) if they display knowledge or abilities that would be magical to people in that day and age. One of the most famous versions of this narrative is Mark Twain's classic story, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.


American Falls by John Calvin Batchelor

It's an unusual Civil War novel dealing with the real Confederate plot to burn down New York City. As such it plays more like a spy novel than a battle novel.

You meet historical characters in various levels of society. Very well done. Very Dickensonian in that the reach of the novel is wide.

The only weakness of the novel is that JCB probably likes his characters too much (it happens), and one that in the context of the story that should've died doesn't.

Still, a great read esp only these long cool fall nights.

Posted by: naturalfake at September 24, 2023 09:34 AM (QzZeQ)

Comment: A Civil War spy novel sounds like a pretty cool concept, actually. I can picture Union and Confederate agents attempting to infiltrate the other side to obtain key information for the generals on both sides. One of the dangers of being an author is that it is possible to get too attached to a character, because sometimes killing them off is *necessary* for the story to have a satisfying ending for the reader. Of course, some authors--like George R.R. Martin--seem to enjoy killing off characters just because they can. So it works both ways.


Combination of topics here this morning, I recently read Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter. You would think the title would make it obvious fiction but the story actually makes sense and there are speech quotes and writings that appear legit to the point where I couldn't tell if the author was actually quoting or making it up. The history feels real, just the back story for events, fiction. Pretty unique concept for a novel.

Posted by: Sharon(willow's apprentice) at September 24, 2023 10:29 AM (t/2Uw)

Comment: This may belong to an interesting category of storytelling known as "epistolary fiction" where the majority of the story is told through excerpts of documents, such as journal entries, newspaper clippings, letters between characters, etc. I have this book lurking in my shelves somewhere, but it's still in the TBR pile. It can be a fun genre to read, as you only get bits and pieces of a much larger story. I also have a book by Peter Clines that is supposed to be the "true" account of Robinson Crusoe, as told through the eyes of H.P. Lovecraft...

More Moron-recommended reading material can be found HERE! (1000+ Moron-recommended books!)



  • The Last King of Osten Ard Book 1 - The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams -- The immortal Queen of the Norns begins to wage yet anothr war against the troublesome mortals who thwarted the will of her undead son, the Storm King, over thiry years ago. This time it's personal!
  • The Last King of Osten Ard Book 2 - Empire of Grass by Tad Williams -- Ancient Nabban is on the brink of civil war while an even more ancient enemy threatens all of the lands of Osten Ard in a misguided quest for vengeance.

That's about all I have for this week. Thank you for all of your kind words regarding the Sunday Morning Book Thread. This is a very special place. You are very special people (in all the best ways!). The kindness, generosity, and wisdom of the Moron Horde knows no bounds. Let's keep reading!

If you have any suggestions for improvement, reading recommendations, or discussion topics that you'd like to see on the Sunday Morning Book Thread, you can send them to perfessor dot squirrel at-sign gmail dot com. Your feedback is always appreciated! You can also take a virtual tour of OUR library at Since I added sections for AoSHQ, I now consider it OUR library, rather than my own personal fiefdom...

PREVIOUS SUNDAY MORNING BOOK THREAD - 09-24-23 (NOTE: Do NOT comment on old threads!)


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