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Todays Haul

History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture

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Jun 9, 2010, 9:58pm Top

Library sale today. My haul:

Minoan and Mycenaen Art by Reynold Alleyne Higgins

The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century by Charles Homer Haskins

A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson

The Thirty Years War by C. V. Wedgwood

Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order by George Johnson

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

The Hugo winners, volume four by Isaac Asimov, 1976-1979

The Last Escape: The Launching of the Largest Secret Rescue Movement of All Time by Ruth Kluger

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection by Gardner R. Dozois (1986)

Claude Monet by William Seitz

Turner's early sketchbooks; drawings in England, Wales and Scotland from 1789 to 1802 by Gerald Wilkinson

Masterpieces of impressionism & post-impressionism : the Annenberg Collection by Colin B. Bailey

Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art- ed. H.Cairns & J.Walker

Lost Cities/50 Discoveries in World Archaeology by Paul G. Bahn

Chronicles of the Lensmen: Vol 2 by Edward E. Smith

Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis

My Name is Legion by Roger Zelazny

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzeil

The Magnificent Wilf by Gordon Dickson

The Alchemy of Finance Reading the Mind of the Market by George Soros

The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation: Everyman's Library, no. 479 : History) by The Venerable Bede

Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization by Lars Brownworth

Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review by Hershel Shanks

Starfarers by Poul Anderson

Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, The by Kenneth O. Morgan

Dark Light by Ken Macleod

A History of Latin America: Empires and Sequels 1450 to 1930 by Peter Bakewell

Life along the Silk Road by Susan Whitfield

Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia by Karl Ernest Meyer and Shareen B Brysac

The Carolingian Empire: The Age of Charlemagne by Heinrich Fictenau

A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horowitz

The Oxford History of the Classical World: Greece and the Hellenistic World by John Boardman, Jasper Griffin and Oswyn Murray

Jun 9, 2010, 10:17pm Top

Wow that is one helluva haul! :-o

I wish my library had bitchin sales with awesome books like that. Actually I think there are more interesting books in your post than there are at my local library, come to think of it :-(

Jun 9, 2010, 11:25pm Top

Stellar, I'm so envious I think my scroll bar just turned green.

Jun 9, 2010, 11:31pm Top


My wife casually mentioned last Sunday afternoon that our local library was having a big 25 cent sale when she visited it on Saturday. To which I immediately replied:


I suppose she thinks we have enough books. Hmmph!

Edited: Jun 10, 2010, 1:13am Top

Makifat, you are #4 on my similar libraries list (among the collections I use for comparison, which is basically my books minus my fiction) and I noticed several of today's books appear in your library too.

I LOVE library sales!

Incidentally, the success of the venture was partly due to paying a $30 fee to be a "friend of the library" which allowed me early access during a two hour pre-public period before the three day subsequent sale.

It's somewhat grotesque, because there are book pros who rush in, elbows flying, to snag good books they estimate will have resale value. I hate competing with middlemen. I try to get in their way. Small victories.

I paid $49.50 for the actual books.

Edited: Jun 10, 2010, 2:11am Top

I loathe the middlemen. I try to frustrate them at every turn. :)

The Boardman is excellent, and I covet your Silk Road find! We ought to start a Central Asia thread at some point.

Jun 10, 2010, 5:03am Top

WOW!! Congrats Stellar

Jun 10, 2010, 10:20am Top

Fifty (well, eighty) bucks for all that?!?!?!? You win, my friend.

Jun 10, 2010, 6:46pm Top

Bravo! Well done, Stellar!

Jun 12, 2010, 7:13pm Top

I love the variety! Yay, library sales.

Jun 24, 2010, 7:08pm Top

Edited: Jun 8, 2011, 9:01pm Top

To think it has been one year since the annual event that inspired this thread. One of my favorite days of the year.

Today's Library Book Sale acquisitions:

A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters and History by by Bernard Lewis
Peasant Uprisings In Seventeenth- Century France, Russia, and China by Roland Mousnier
A History of Japan by R. H. P. Mason/ J. G. Caiger
Readings in Medieval History edited by Patrick J. Geary
The Autumn of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga
A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945 by Vasily Grossman*
Stonehenge: A New Interpretation of Prehistoric Man and the Cosmos by John North*
A History of Warfare by John Keegan*
Ten Days To D-Day:Citizens and Soldiers on the Eve of the Invasion by David Stafford*
Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu by Laurence Bergreen*
The Rise and fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson *
Champlain's Dream: The European Founding of North America by David Hackett Fischer *
Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books by Aaron Lansky
Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History by James Carroll
The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand
Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman*
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress *
Harvest the Fire by Poul Anderson*
All One Universe by Poul Anderson *
The Isles: A History by Norman Davies*
Europe in the Age of Monarchy by John T. Spike; Metropolitan Museum of Art
50 Wonders of Tutankhamun by David P. Silverman

Many of them are new hardcovers in mint condition (asterisks). Only possible because the book sale is fueled by donations, not an elimination of library stock.

Edited: Jun 8, 2011, 8:48pm Top

(That means I'm both impressed AND jealous.)

Edited: Jun 9, 2011, 1:39am Top

It is nice that there are some consolations to living here. Outside of book buying, museums and a means of making a living, I'm not especially fond of megalopoli. (megalopolises?)

As far as the sale, you have to get there at precisely 6:30 to beat the professional resellers who storm the fortress at the opening. There I was, elbows flying. Book Buying as competitive contact sport. :-O

Jun 8, 2011, 9:30pm Top

I've been helping arrange and work our library's sale for a couple of years now. I rarely go in to sort and box without finding something I have to have. (I do pay for them.) Funny thing is I always find more when we're setting up the night before. And even more on the days of the actual sale. Oh, and the professionals start lining up EARLY! We only charge $5 to get in for that first hour, after that it's free.

Jun 8, 2011, 10:24pm Top

That's very reasonable. I paid $30 for "membership", which means I can appear for the pre-sale, day 1. Not that I'm complaining. The books were $35, so overall a very fair total.

Jun 9, 2011, 12:37am Top

Good haul! Sounds like a great book sale, though I think one might want to add the cost of some body armor to the price of the books! :-D

Jun 9, 2011, 5:12am Top

A few years back when my oldest was in high school and earning service hours (it's a Maryland thing, Hon), he volunteered a couple of years to help set up the AAUW book sales. Ah, the stories he told....

Jun 9, 2011, 11:22am Top

I live ouside NYC too and usually end up at the book sales in NW NJ. The book dealers are horrible - pushy, persistent, and, in one case, sweats on the books. And the scanners! I'm always happy to find a sale where scanners aren't permitted.

Jun 9, 2011, 11:26am Top

>19 auntmarge64: Yes! When you mentioned the scanners, my PTSD kicked in!

Jun 9, 2011, 11:57am Top

?Scanners? What does one do with a scanner at a book sale?

Jun 9, 2011, 12:11pm Top

21> What does one do with a scanner at a book sale?

From the mention of PTSD I assume that they hit the other shoppers with them.

Edited: Jun 9, 2011, 10:44pm Top

They rush in, grab the most likely books, and immediately scan them. This is to rapidly determine the actual Amazon prices, to figure out which have the best resale value. A previous year, I surreptitiously used the scanner of one to find the price of The Art of Florence (2 Volume Set), which was $135. As they were charging $50, I took it. That was when she hit me with the scanner and ran with the set.

Jun 10, 2011, 4:49am Top

I hate showing my ignorance but what do these scanners look like? In my mind I picture the sort of scanners used in stores to take stock, but that doesn't seem right. Or I imagine a cell phone with an app that scans bar codes, titles or ISBN numbers.

Anyway, stellar, you're a cheeky devil for sneaking the use of her scanner... and greatly to be admired. I can picture the headline now: "Genteel Book Sale Devolves into Riot".

Jun 10, 2011, 6:11am Top

Sometimes they just stand there and scan book after book, right at the tables. Click, click, click, not really looking at the books, neither having a good time nor giving any consideration to people trying to find a few good items for their own pleasure. Although I've never had a scanner thrown at me....

Jun 10, 2011, 8:25am Top

We ban scanners at our sale, even for the dealers. Saw one woman using her smart phone to enter the ISBN codes. We probably should have stopped her, but it slowed her down considerably and I am guessing that she would have just claimed she was texting. Many of the folks who pay the $5 thank us profusely for not allowing the scanners, even though most of them are dealers. I stopped going to the biggest sale in the area a few years back because of the scanners. Certain dealers would amass massive book piles in a corner and then go through them with a scanner and a laptop. Then they would only buy the ones they thought they could make a profit on and leave the rest piled up wherever. Apparently the people who run that sale finally wised up and banned scanners, but I still haven't gone back.

Jun 10, 2011, 11:15am Top

> 25, 26 Sounds like we've been to the same library sale!!

>24 pmackey: Often it's a cell phone app, I believe

Jun 10, 2011, 1:30pm Top

I stopped into a nearby library today to register for a Friends' group and the woman working on the sale said once a guy with a scanner actually sat on her, like a chair, while she was bent under a table bringing out more books. She couldn't get his attention until she shifted enough that he lost his balance.

Jun 10, 2011, 9:16pm Top

An update on the "no scanners allowed" book sale I went to this evening: someone got thrown out, and when he argued they threatened to call the police. I actually felt bad because he's a really nice fellow I've seen around, and I think he may live in the town where the sale was held (they seemed to know him and his wife).

Jun 10, 2011, 10:27pm Top

Books drive people to do crazy things! ;)

Who goes to a book sale expecting police action?

Jun 10, 2011, 10:30pm Top

#29 - Whoa! I'm shocked. Was he surreptitiously scanning?

Jun 10, 2011, 10:48pm Top

Apparently he was scanning, although I think he was trying to convince them he was just "checking something". I do think he probably sells, but people may think that about me, too, since I buy so much. There were signs everywhere saying "no scanners", and it was the Friends' unadvertised preview so very low key (what a nice change!). I'm so glad I thought ahead about checking LT on my cell phone and decided it wouldn't be wise.

Jun 11, 2011, 11:26pm Top

Wow. o_0

Who'd a thought it!

I have often checked my LT account at book sales, so that I don't get duplicates, but never thought about pricing things.

Jun 12, 2011, 7:52am Top

I have often checked my LT account at book sales, so that I don't get duplicates, but never thought about pricing things.

This is the one reason I'm considering getting a smart phone. I'm a cheap _ahem_ who hates pouring money into other people's pockets (unless they're authors, publishers, booksellers...) It's why I have a pay-as-you-go cell phone.

Jun 12, 2011, 9:06am Top

>33 staffordcastle: I don't use LT for checking prices, just for checking my collection. But since smart phones can be used as scanners, I thought better of it in this instance, just for appearances. Had a great time at the sale, too, and got some very neat books, including several on Tibet and one on a Disney film that actually is worth money and which I'll probably sell on eBay.

>34 pmackey: I held out on getting a smart phone till a couple of months ago, but it's wonderful! Got a Droid X and haven't looked back.

Jun 12, 2011, 11:21am Top

>35 auntmarge64:, thanks. I'll talk to my information technology consultant (my oldest in college) and then the chief financial officer (wife) to see what they recommend. I predict though that the CFO will nix the idea.

Jun 12, 2011, 11:59am Top

>34 pmackey: I don't have a smart phone either. But I do like to check LT to prevent purchasing duplicates, especially of old SF paperbacks.

If you have a 3G Kindle, you can use it for this purpose. I'm not saying it's convenient, but it'll work in a pinch!

Jun 12, 2011, 12:19pm Top

I use my phone to check LT for dupes as well. (Though it can be a sloooooow process.) I also have my wishlish saved as a text file on my phone. That's easier to check.

Jun 13, 2011, 1:12pm Top

I absolutely love having the internet in my pocket. It's saved me from a LOT of duplicate books, quite aside from other advantages.

Edited: Jun 13, 2011, 3:06pm Top

It also saved me from mistaking a book in my 'wishlist' for one already in 'my library.' I don't have a smartphone, but I can access the web when I need to for a fee of $1. It's been well worth the access fee every time I've looked.

I let my son take my upgrade and get a Droid 2 a few months ago. I'm planning to get the same (or similar) phone in a couple of months when his upgrade it due. (I need a full qwerty keyboard.)

Jun 13, 2011, 9:12pm Top

stellarwoman got a Droid recently. It does all kinds of stuff. But the battery lasts like ten minutes.

Jun 13, 2011, 9:24pm Top

The Droid X has the same battery...it has to be charged every night.

Jun 14, 2011, 10:20am Top

41, 42 > I found with my smartphone (Palm Pre) that I have to go into the apps and make sure it's not doing something all the time that I don't need it to do. It had a default to check my e-mail and FB every 20 minutes, for example. The first few days, before I figured that out, the battery was lasting 3 hours.

I leave mine plugged in as much as I can, since now I live in a marginal coverage area. If you are in a light coverage area, it keeps checking for a signal. My battery will not last half a day in those conditions, but does just fine when I'm in a metro area. If you know you can't get a signal, make sure it's turned completely off, or in airplane mode or something like that.

Also, if you're used to standby mode on a simple phone as I was, the smartphones don't work that way. It's not always easy to figure out how to turn it completely off, as opposed to the screen just being off.

Jun 14, 2011, 11:49am Top

Thanks Phaedra -- now if only we can figure out how to check what apps are doing what. Maybe when I complete my PhD in phone management!

Jun 14, 2011, 2:58pm Top

Speaking of complicated electronics... this isn't one. My son found this cartoon about books that I love, but I am old school.


Jun 14, 2011, 10:18pm Top


Jun 14, 2011, 11:51pm Top

Passed that on to my sister, who liked it a lot!

Jun 14, 2011, 11:55pm Top

This may be an appropriate time to revive this one, in case some folks haven't seen it:


Jun 15, 2011, 3:30pm Top

>48 staffordcastle:, Thanks, I hadn't seen that one. The video reminds me of work where I've see some crazy trouble calls

Jun 16, 2011, 11:14pm Top

>49 pmackey:
Glad you liked it; since I am a medievalist, it definitely tickled my funny bone!

Edited: Sep 15, 2011, 11:55pm Top

Borders' misfortune was my gain yesterday. Everything was 80-90% off, though pickings were slim. The check-out guy was very excited. He said I had $415 worth of brand new books, and that cost me $82. Apparently that was considered one of the greatest savings he'd seen. If you want to look at it that way.

I have since learned that at least one is a dud, but that'll happen in when buying promiscuously.

Puzzler: one of these books was actually selected by stellarwoman, for herself. Feel free to guess. Answer provided at a later date.

My haul:

I Love a Broad Margin to My Life by Maxine Hong Kingston
Counterspace: The Next Hours of World War III by William B. Scott
Mark Antony's Heroes: How the Third Gallica Legion Saved an Apostle and Created an Emperor by Stephen Dando-Collins
Towards One World: Ancient Persia and the West (Asia in Europe and the Making of the West) by Warwick Ball
Worldchanging, Revised and Updated Edition: A User's Guide for the 21st Century by Alex Steffen
Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Culture by John Bryan Starr
How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines by Mark Stein
Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World by Nicholas Schou
Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins by J. E. Lendon
Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture by John Lukacs
Ancient Iraq: Third Edition by Georges Roux
Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen by Mark Rudd
Guests of the Emperor: The Secret History of Japan's Mukden POW Camp by Linda Goetz Holmes
For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions by James R. Gaines
Turning the Tide: How a Small Band of Allied Sailors Defeated the U-boats and Won the Battle of the Atlantic by Ed Offley
What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West by David Wengrow
Munich, 1938: Appeasement and World War II by David Faber
Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen
Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer--and the Century-long Search to Discover Its Secrets by Jo Marchant
Chariot: The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine by Arthur Cotterell
Empires, Wars, and Battles: The Middle East from Antiquity to the Rise of the New World byT. C. F. Hopkins (dud)
Conquer the Crash: You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression by Robert R. Prechter Jr.
Rastafari: Roots and Ideology (Utopianism & Communitarianism) by Barry Chevannes

Sep 16, 2011, 12:36am Top

I wish I had a car right now :(

Oct 5, 2011, 9:31pm Top

So a friend's wife said she had some old books she didn't want left her door open so I could check them out. She said she wouldn't be offended if I didn't take any. I loaded all but four in the back of my car -- mostly Collier literature sets from the 1940's in near pristine condition. Here's what I got:

Lloyd C. Douglas P.F. Collier & Son Corporation

Invitation To Live 1940
Disputed Passage 1939
White Banners 1936
The Robe 1942
Magnificent Obsession 1929
Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal 1939

John Steinbeck Collier

The Grapes of Wrath 1939
Tortilla Flat 1935
In Dubious Battle 1936
Cup of Gold 1936
The Moon is Down and Short Stories 1942
Of Mice and Men and Short Stories 1937

Greatest Short Stories Collier 1940

Greatest Short Stories Volume I
Greatest Short Stories Volume II
Greatest Short Stories Volume III
Greatest Short Stories Volume IV
Greatest Short Stories Volume V
Greatest Short Stories Volume VI

Lowell Thomas Adventure Library Collier

This Side of Hell 1932
Pageant of Romance 1943
With Lawrence of Arabia 1924
Pageant of Life 1941
The Wreck of the Dumaru 1930
India: Land of the Black Pagoda 1930

Ernest Hemingway

To Have and Have Not 1937
A Farewell to Arms 1929
Death in the Afternoon 1932
The Sun Also Rises 1926
The Fifth Column & The First Forty-Nine Stories 1938
For Whom the Bell Tolls 1940

The Lincoln Library of Essential Information Vol. I -- The Frontier Press Company 1961
The Lincoln Library of Essential Information Vol. II

I still can't believe it! Now I need more shelves ...

Edited: Oct 6, 2011, 5:52am Top

This thread makes me smile with inadequacy!

#53 - That is SOME haul! Some of those older Steinbecks & Hemingways must have lovely covers. Yesterday I was chuffed to pick up Suite Francaise for 50 pence in an English library sale.

Oct 6, 2011, 8:14am Top

Good catch Garp. The P.F. Collier books that I have had had nice looking binding, not expensive but very nice looking.

I had almost their entire Sinclair Lewis collection in a mix of their imitation red leather and some the blue cloth, all of them had the Nobel Prize medal embossed on the cover.

Oct 6, 2011, 9:25am Top

The Lewis collection sounds nice ... I rarely buy literature anymore, usually just nonfiction, but this was especially nice -- and free!

Oct 6, 2011, 3:20pm Top

I am doing the same. A good deal of my fiction has been going to book trade sites and Half Price Books to make room for non-fiction. So far I have managed not to part with my "retirement fund", signed first editions of writers first books, Sinclair Lewis first editions, even though they are not in pristine condition. Luckily for me two other writers I focused on, Bill Mauldin and Studs Turkel wrote non-fiction.

Edited: Jun 6, 2012, 11:13pm Top

Third annual installment of my local library sale. Today's haul:

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes

Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack Rakove

FRANCE: The Dark Years 1940-1944 by Julian Jackson

The Life of the Mind, Vol. Two: Willing by Hannah Arendt

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart Ehrman

Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100-400 by Ramsey MacMullin

Speaking of Books: The Best Things Ever Said About Books and Book Collecting ed. By Rob Kaplan and Harold Rabinowitz

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers From Prison: A Biography by Mary Marty

Geography’s Inner Worlds: Pervasive Themes in Contemporary American Geography

Bronzino by Charles McCorquodale

Books of the Century: A Hundred Years of Authors, Ideas and Literature from The New York Times Book Review (This has hundreds of reviews from 1897 to 1997, allowing a view into the initial impressions of books like The Brothers Karamazov, Ulysses, Mrs. Dalloway, etc etc. fascinating because it is before society and time has stamped its opinions on these works.)

Journey Into China – National Geographic (Gorgeous pictures of life in the interior)

The Churchill War Papers: Never Surrender by Martin Gilbert, Vol. 2 May 1940 – December 1940

Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Filipe Fernandez-Armesto

Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea by Robert K Massie

The Loom of History by Herbert J Muller (Through the Millenia in Anatolia)

Universe of Stone: A Biography of Chartres Cathedral by Philip Ball

Natalie Crouter Forbidden Diary: A Record of Wartime Internment, 1941-1945 ed. By Lynn Z Bloom

How Far From Austerlitz?: Napoleon 1805-1815 by Alistair Horne

Technology in the Ancient World by Henry Hodges

The History of Ancient Israel by Michael Grant

Most of these are hardbacks in Very Good to Near Fine condition. $36.50 + $30 membership in Friends of the Library
Very pleased!

Jun 6, 2012, 11:15pm Top

Dude... that is quite an epic haul.

Edited: Jun 6, 2012, 11:22pm Top

Yeah....thanks...I can't wipe the smile off my face

Jun 7, 2012, 8:23am Top

That is a great list, I managed to see one I had to add to my wish list.

Jun 7, 2012, 10:10am Top

I have the Ramsay MacMullen book, good stuff

Jun 7, 2012, 10:36am Top

What? Isn't that illegal in your country? ;-)

Jun 7, 2012, 10:41am Top

What, a book criticizing Christianity, or book sales? haha

Jun 7, 2012, 10:42am Top

Good stuff - come on, I'm Dutch, I'll at least try to smoke most anything...

Jun 7, 2012, 10:54am Top

In this country we don't take to any of that communist liberal Christianity that MacMullin and Ehrmin wrote about. We believe in the Fundamental Christan tenants. None of that "Christ the Healer" BS, "Let em Die!" is our dogma. Drive the money changers out of the temple? You have to be kidding me, they are the Church!

Jun 7, 2012, 11:27am Top

I'm fascinated by what we can figure about the making of Christianity. I look at Mormonism, much more recent obviously, and it seems clear how deliberately it was derived and mainstreamed from odd beginnings. Maybe the reformulating to broader acceptability is a model for religions in general.

Jun 7, 2012, 11:47am Top

HAHA TLC... it is amazing how "Old Testament" a lot of the "Christians" can be sometimes. There are some that come and stand outside the student union building at BGSU and rant and rave how we're all sinners, going to hell, God will smite us, fire and brimstone etc etc... once I tried asking them what Jesus Himself would think of all this and they proclaimed me a heretic and yelled even louder :-D

>Stellar: I think the process of the "mainstreamization" of any religion can be fascinating. I mean Christianity at its core is pretty interesting since as I understand it, it seems to have begun as a strain of apocalyptic Judaism, which obviously had to adapt when the pesky apocalypse kept...like...not coming. And of course all the more pagan aspects of modern Christianity have been (I think, anyway) well-documented; things which the religion adopted during its spread to make it more palatable to people who didn't necessarily come from a specific background.

As for Mormonism, I actually got into an interesting "debate" with a (very well educated) Christian recently who could apparently not get over how hokey and stupid Mormonism is. I tried to argue that in a lot of ways, it is nothing but depth of time which makes mainstream Christianity not seem as silly (although, to be fair, even a lot of Christians themselves these days will try to explain away some of the crazier aspects--almost always, Old Testament stories--as allegories, as opposed to actual events), and that if Mormonism was 2000 years old, it would be a lot more "acceptable", just because it had always been. Unfortunately, it always came back to "...yeah, but... listen to what they believe. IT'S CRAZY!"

Jun 7, 2012, 12:03pm Top

To get a good image of the Christianist Church of today drag out your old, dusty copy of The Brothers Karamazov and read The Grand Inquisitor. Christianism has achieved a level of power in this country they don't want to give up. A very anti_Christian attitude. The reason Jesus doesn't mean anything to them is that they no longer need Jesus. In fact, Jesus and indeed much of the New Testament is dangerous to their project of amassing political power. That's why they stick with the God of Fire and Brimstone. No need to ask where He stands on anything. He stands with me. Christianism is a twisted form of religion. Somewhere in the NT Jesus says "even the very elect shall be deceived". Well, those who consider themselves the very elect are deceived. ... and Jesus wept.

I don't know much about Mormonism, but it's not a Christian religion, I do know that. I'm a little leery of religions that spring whole from the head of one man, especially someone who creates and demolishes tenants on the whim and the horns of the powerful.

Jun 7, 2012, 12:42pm Top

The best take I've ever heard on Mormons is from Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God. She describes how the cute Mormon boys came to her door and she let them in. The discussion that ensued is pants widdlingly funny. You can hear it here: http://www.myspace.com/video/julia-sweeney/the-mormon-boys-arrive/3525579

Jun 8, 2012, 11:40pm Top

I was at The Strand in NYC today and picked up

Brotherhood of Kings: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East by Amanda Podany


The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic by Fergus Millar

The former I'd heard of (probably on here) and it was under 20 bucks so I nabbed it. As for the latter, I hadn't heard of it before, but Millar is a respected name, and it was like nine bucks as opposed to the MSRP of 80, so I figured "why not" :-D

Edited: Jun 10, 2012, 11:00am Top

Best recent book on Mormonism is Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.

I saw Bill Maher at Foxwoods (casino CT) last weekend and he ripped Mormonism apart -- while reminding us what he thought about all religions, of course. He said that Mormonism was such an extreme cult that Tom Cruise wouldn't join LOL.

In any event, most (at least western) religions seem based to some degee on purely ridiculous concepts: Noah's Ark & the global flood, The Tower of Babel and the diffusion of language, a man who is born of a virgin and comes back from the dead. It gos on and on. But because Mormonism is so close to us historically we can actually glimpse its creation by an individual who by all accounts was not only a little off in the head but who clearly shaped the doctrine of his new religion to suit his own personal needs & desires, such as plural wives. Very odd, indeed. Although, despite the Bill Maher joke, I think Scientology still takes the whacko award hands down.

Jun 10, 2012, 6:17pm Top

I was not planing on buying any books on this trip but George Norfleet was signing copies of his book, A Pilot's Journey Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman. What could I do?

Jul 22, 2012, 3:12pm Top

Went over to my (former) professor's house yesterday and came away with like thirty books, haha... I really don't feel like typing them all out, but they ranged from the super-useful (a copy of a Loeb of Martial's Epigrams) to the not useful but funny (The Onion's Embedded in America), and lots of random fiction in between. Norton Anthology of Shakespeare plays, some classics that I'd read before but didn't have a copy of (Of Mice and Men, etc), and so forth.

Jul 22, 2012, 3:18pm Top

Good for you. Hesitate to point you guys in this direction - we're all bookaholics here I think - but still: http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=139966. Yes, medieval history isn't ancient history, but still.

Jul 22, 2012, 5:06pm Top



Oct 4, 2012, 8:27am Top

Good readings!

Edited: Oct 23, 2012, 10:54pm Top

My birthday today:

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder

428 AD by Giusto Traina

The Infinity of Lists by Umberto Eco

Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian by Bernard Lewis

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

Museums and Galleries of London by Abigail Willis

Literary Companion: London, Blue Guide

Very pleased. Never enough or too many books! I'm told there's another on the way. The last two are foreshadowings of a trip to London stellarwoman and I are planning for next year.

Oct 24, 2012, 2:21am Top

Happy birthday Stellar.

Oct 24, 2012, 12:54pm Top

Yes, happy birthday.

You will have a great time in London, I managed to get there last January and had a great time. You might want to consider seeing the Wellcome Institute, it is close to the British Library and has large medical / medical history library and a small but very interesting museum of medical history.

As a science fiction fan you might want to have lunch at the White Hart, is is only a few blocks from the front of the British Museum and has some great beer and fish pie.

Oct 24, 2012, 1:39pm Top

The Wellcome Institute published Medical London, which is a history of medicine in London. It is a box set which includes a book of essays, a guidebook, and six maps for walking tours. It is a fascinating set, even for those of us who never expect to set foot in London.

Oct 24, 2012, 2:06pm Top

Yes, London is great fun (I've lived there for a year + a bit). Bookshops, museums, exotic restaurants. They have the lot.

Edited: Oct 24, 2012, 2:28pm Top

My first undergraduate school had a book sale today and while there wasn't much to choose from I did walk away with a few gems:

The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler
From the Stone Age to Christianity by William Foxwell Albright
The Will to Believe by William James
Means of Ascent by Robert Caro

Plus several works on the philosophy of history and all for ten bucks!

Oct 26, 2012, 12:32pm Top

I second the suggestion of the Wellcome Museum; my sister and I visited it when we were in London this summer. A very curious museum! The personal collection of Dr. Wellcome, the founder, with some extremely unusual items. Also a very nice museum shop, with interesting books. ;-)

I also strongly recommend the Museum of London - a fascinating collection.

Oct 26, 2012, 12:32pm Top

P.S. Happy birthday, stellar!

Oct 26, 2012, 12:42pm Top

Thanks for the wishes, guys. It was a good birthday. Stellargirl (9) made me custom bookmarks, for her bookworm dad. Stellarkid (teen) learned "Black Magic Woman", a favorite, on the electric guitar, and played it for me.

Edited: Oct 26, 2012, 2:06pm Top

stellarexplorer - I read only now your post of October 23rd and wish you a Happy Year.
Although it doesn't show in the list of your groups, we share at least the present one and I often saw your interesting notes. Thank you!
My library is much smaller than yours, but we have in common quite a few books - interestingly, many of them among the ones I really like.
One more thing we've got in common is that both of us don't suffer from boredom - and this isn't very common at my age.

Oct 26, 2012, 3:15pm Top

Thank you nisgolsand. Your note is very kind. And I agree, it is a blessing to be free from the malady of boredom! Best wishes --

Nov 4, 2012, 12:49pm Top

Stellar -- no idea it was your birthday. That's what you get for not using FaceBook dude. Anyway, Happy Birthday & congrats on the new books!

Nov 4, 2012, 12:50pm Top

Petros -- Means of Ascent by Robert Caro is an outstanding book & the first of the for Caro Johnson bios, all of which I have read

Nov 17, 2012, 12:50am Top

Nice take, petrol. Thanks for presenting your winnings!

Nov 17, 2012, 11:47am Top

Happy very belated birthday wishes, stellar. I added you to the list in GD so I won't miss it next year. If the world doesn't end next month, that is. ;)

Nice haul, petros!

Nov 17, 2012, 12:49pm Top

Thank you, clam-one.

Oh, and the last birthday book arrived: 100 Diagrams That Changed the World: From the Earliest Cave Paintings to the Innovation of the iPod by Scott Christianson. Fun. Big history-friendly.

Nov 18, 2012, 4:19am Top

#91 petros -- nice haul. I own several of those!

Nov 18, 2012, 7:17pm Top

Thanks Garp and stellar!

Nov 18, 2012, 8:28pm Top

And clamairy.. You're very welcome, petros.

Nov 18, 2012, 10:33pm Top

Shhh. Some people don't see me. ;o)

Nov 19, 2012, 3:29pm Top

Oh, lol, sorry, clamairy. I didn't see your comment! Thanks!

Dec 25, 2012, 4:24pm Top

Christmas Gifts 2012
My Family Really Spoiled Me!


“Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” – Jon Meacham
“America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation” – David Goldfield
“Cloud Atlas” – David Mitchell
“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” – Haruki Murakami

Teaching Company Courses

“Rome and the Barbarians” – Kenneth Harl
“The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World” – Robert Garland
“World War I: The Great War” - Vejas G. Liulevicius,


“Lolita” – Stanley Kubrick
“Barry Lyndon” -- Stanley Kubrick


Two calendars (“Dali” + “My Little Calendar Girl”), a nice selection of beers (IPA and ales, including “River Horse” which you can’t buy around here), beer glasses, clothes (including “Breaking Bad” & “Goodfella” tee shirts, sweats, ), ornaments, candy and more … spoiled I am . . .


Add to this the two LibraryThing SantaThing Books – “Aelian: Historical Miscellany (Loeb Classical Library No. 486)” + “The Histories” – Tacitus + pre-Christmas books from buddies “Uncle John's Political Briefs” and “A Worldly Country: New Poems” by John Ashbery, and I really can be nothing but grateful …

PS Even though I’m reading 5 books I couldn’t help but start the Meacham book on Jefferson …

Dec 25, 2012, 4:43pm Top

You deserve such spoiling, Garp! Merry reading!

Dec 25, 2012, 4:48pm Top

Thanks buddy! I look forward to enjoying all of the loot. But which Teach Co. course to start tomorrow?

Edited: Dec 28, 2012, 7:57am Top

I went hauling last night sort of on a whim (well, I knew the store had a book I need for something I'm working on, so...). I thought of it as an Xmas splurge, since the local used bookstore isn't always as cheap as I'd like on most things. Anyway, I picked up:

Oxford Classical Dictionary 1961 edition
The Etruscans by Michael Grant
A Study of Cassius Dio by Fergus Millar
A Handbook of Roman Art by Martin Henig, ed.
The Folds of Parnassos: Land and Ethnicity in Ancient Phokis by Jeremy McInerney

The last one seems pretty interesting, and I picked it up partially because it seems like one of those scholarly books that's usually like 60 bucks, but they had it at 9. But I'm also really interested in this culture-focused stuff in antiquity, and thought it was interesting that the author picked this particular region (which includes Delphi), as opposed to somewhere like Attica, which has been done to death.

Dec 28, 2012, 9:23am Top

Jeremy McInerney is one of my favorite Teaching Company professors so his book sounds promising. Let me know how it is when you get to it.

As for Michael Grant, I own a number of his books but have never been able to read more than twenty pages in a row of his writing. He is very prolific, but for whatever reason I find him completely unreadable . . .

Dec 28, 2012, 12:20pm Top

Yeah I have a few of Grant's books myself (it's kind of hard not to, really). His writing is really matter-of-fact at times, but if nothing else, his notes and bibliographies to be a goldmine if you're looking for research sources.

Will do, re: McInerney. It definitely seems like the kind of book I will at least "use" in the future, if not read cover to cover.

Dec 28, 2012, 12:39pm Top

Agreed, who can avoid having some of Grant's books? ;-)

Dec 28, 2012, 7:51pm Top

Grant's books form a counterweight to my bookshelves to keep them from sliding across the room LOL

Dec 28, 2012, 9:10pm Top

That's funny -- mine serve as a level platform on which to perch a wireless music receiver/amplifier.

Dec 29, 2012, 10:17am Top

I wonder how anyone can write so many words strung together in such a fashion as to make them basically unreadable? It is like he is a stream of consciousness writer -- William Faulkner's history of the ancient world, with all of the vocabulary and none of the brilliance. I thought it was me at first, but I have yet to meet a single individual who actually read a Michael Grant book through cover-to-cover.

Jan 2, 2013, 6:50pm Top

I don't know if this is the right thread for this, but I do this every year:
READ 2012

1. The End of Manners – Francesca Marciano (1-27-12)
2. Life in Year One – Scott Korb (1-28-12)
3. A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr. (2-10-12)
4. Scorpions – Noah Feldman (2-13-12)
5. The Disappearing Spoon – Sam Kean (3-3-12)
6. Catapult – Jim Paul (3-30-12)
7. Rubicon – Tom Holland (3-21-12)
8. The Limits of Power – Andrew J. Bacevich (4-7-12)
9. Swords Against the Senate – Erik Hildinger (4-19-12)
10. Shiloh: And the Western Campaign of 1862 – O. Edward Cunningham (5-3-12)
11. War Fever – J.G. Ballard (5-17-12)
12. The Passage of Power – Robert A. Caro (6-11-12)
13. The Three Christs of Ypsilanti – Milton Rokeach (6-24-12)
14. Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life – Tim Riley (7-15-12)
15. Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam – The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War – James M. McPherson (8-3-12)
16. Prisoner’s Dilemma – William Poundstone (8-10-12)
17. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami (8-27-12)
18. 1948: Harry Truman’s Improbable Victory and the Year That Transformed America – David Pietrusza (9-2-12)
19. Public Enemies – Bryan Burrough (9-9-12)
20. To End All Wars – Adam Hochschild (9-25-12)
21. The Given Day -- Dennis Lehane (10-8-12)
22. Indigo – Catherine McKinley (10-9-12)
23. Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue – Paul Bowles (10-26-12)
24. Norwegian Wood -- Haruki Murakami (11-3-12)
25. Europe's Last Summer – David Fromkin (11-10-12)
26. Plows, Plagues & Petroleum – William F. Ruddiman (11-11-12)
27. Red Sorghum – Mo Yan (11-15-12)
28. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde (11-16-12)
29. This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz (11-20-12)
30. Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver (12-4-12)

31. The Rise of Humans – Professor John Hawks (Teaching Company Audio Course)
32. The Persian Empire – Professor John Lee (Teaching Company Audio Course)
33. Turning Points in American History – Professor Edward O’Donnell (Teaching Company Audio Course)

In progress but still not complete at year end:

1. 1493 – Charles Mann
2. Why Does the World Exist – Jim Holt
3. Listening in – Ted Widmer
4. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power – Jon Meacham
5. The Iliad – Homer, Mitchell translation
6. 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
7. Reservation Blues – Sherman Alexie

Edited: Jan 4, 2013, 2:27am Top

Garp! Shouldn't you know better than to post that in this thread?! ;-)

Nice list!

How was Hawks' course?

Jan 4, 2013, 5:38am Top

Hawk's course was interesting -- he is a great lecturer -- but it is focused exclusively on competing points of view in evolutionary interpretation, which only held my interest part of the time. You might find it more compelling. I'm always more fascinated with the latest and great interpretastion rather than the road we took to get there.

Jan 4, 2013, 10:38am Top

Sounds right up my alley

Jun 17, 2013, 5:07pm Top

Made out really well for Father’s Day:

The Unwinding – George Packer
After Dark – Haruki Murakami
Game of Thrones – George Martin
Lost Worlds of South America (Teaching Company Course) – Edwin Barnhart
Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time (Teaching Company Course) – Sean Carroll
A Gettysburg Commemorative Digest Magazine
Django Blu-Ray DVD

Go me!!!!

Jun 17, 2013, 9:33pm Top

Great acquisitions. Let me know how the S America course is!

Jun 18, 2013, 5:56am Top

I will indeed!


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