-- Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books,
history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and
speculation at a standstill. Barbara Tuchman
Major Technological Breakthrough
I started reading early. When I was in first through third grade my family lived in France and we did not have a television. Books were my diversion. They took me on many adventures in many lands. They still do. I never have time to read all I want and always have a book or two around that I haven't got to yet.
I read all kinds of books. However my favorites are historical. They can be real stories or historical fiction as long as they present an accurate picture of the time period. I also collect books on Arthurian Legend.
Some of my recent favorites
These will be books you probably will not find reviewed in commonly found sources.
The Camulod Chronicles, Jack Whyte : This is a historical Fiction series. It starts in the mid 300's and follows two Romans in Britain, Publius Varrus and Caius Britannicus, who are the forefathers of King Arthur. Jack Whyte places these fictional men in an accurate historical setting. He weaves a story of credible events and actions that lead to the creation of Excalibur and how the legends came to be. I have finished the first three books, The Skystone, The Singing Sword and, The Eagles' Brood.. So far there hasn't been any magic or events that are implausible. Uther is dead and Merlin has the infant Arthur. If you are interested in Arthurian Legend I recommend this series. Find thes and other books by Jack Whyte at Barnes and Noble
How The Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill : After the fall of Rome came the "dark ages". Learning, scholarship, and culture all but disappeared from the European continent. The heritage of western civilization - from Greek and Roman classics to Jewish and Christian works - would have been lost were it not for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland. Thomas Cahill takes us to the "island of saints and scholars." The Irish were always a people fascinated by language and writing. After Europe returned to stability, the Irish went out and spread learning, scholarship, and the old books. In this way the Irish became shapers of the medieval mind and put their unique stamp on western culture. Anyone of Irish decent, and anyone interested in the history of scholarship, should read this book. Find How The Irish Saved Civilization at Barnes and Nobles.
Eaters Of The Dead, Michael Crichton: Have you ever wondered if ancient myths and heroic tales have their basis in fact? Michael Crichton takes you on a journey of events that are handed down and become the tale of Beowulf. The events are plausible and you see how they became the heroic tale.
Things to go with books
Most book lovers, including myself, also like things that go with books. Things like bookends, unusual bookmarks, covers, reading lamps and etc. I am always on the look out for unusual and useful items to go with my books and reading. Many of the museums, such as the Metropolitan Art Museum (The Met), sell these types of items based on artwork. One of the neatest book accessories I have recently come across are called Page Points. They are VERY think brass arrows that can be slid onto a page to mark a passage for future reference. They will not leave a crease or mark. They are available from Levenger. Levenger also has many other useful and unusual items. They can be contacted at
Fountain pens and stationary
I have always liked nice pens. Recently I started using a fountain pen. I really like the way the ink flows onto the paper and creates dark, strong characters. Fountain pens are viewed by some as being a bit anachronistic, but then I like old things. I have started a small collection of fountain pens to go with the ballpoint and rollerballs I already had. Levenger carries a wide selection of fountain pens, usually below retail prices.
If one is going to go through the trouble of using a fountain pen, it should be used on nice stationary and cards. I purchase note and correspondence cards from a variety of source including The Met. I cruise the greeting card section of book stores. They often have cards with artwork of famous artists. I very often select cards without a verse. I pick an image applicable to the occasion or that I think the person will like and write my own greeting.
Joseph W. Pitt.
Copyright © 1997 . All rights reserved.
Revised: June 18, 2007.