Art is long, commutes are longer (Book recommendations, 2)

I read these early in 2016: fiction and nonfiction, high- and low-brow, more or less in this order. Part 1 is here.

  1. FLEMING, Ian. You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me. Very enjoyable, but only for one or two in a row; then the lack of character development starts to bother me.
  2. HODGE, Jane Aiken. Marry in Haste and Watch the Wall, My Darling. Can’t read nonfiction before bed – fills my head too full of Thoughts – so I’m always looking for light fiction, well written and with upbeat endings. (Oh, Anne Patchett, how I hated your Bel Canto!) In high school, I read lots of Hodge, and after seeing her name on Amazon, I wondered how she’d hold up. Verdict: nicely written but not great. (And why, oh why, isn’t all of Mary Stewart available on Kindle? In this genre, she’s better than Hodge.)
  3. PEIKOFF, Kira. Die Again Tomorrow. A good thriller with interesting moral issues.
  4. NEWTON, Michael E. Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Invaluable for my posts on Hamilton. It’s not a curl-up-and-read book, but marvelous because it cites all the sources and all the scholarship.
  5. ROBERTS, Nora. Jewels of the Sun. I love her Dallas / Roarke series (written under the name J.D. Robb), but the Nora Roberts line doesn’t grab me.
  6. FOER, Joshua. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. An interesting read, with some useful information.
  7. ADDISON, Joseph. Cato, a Tragedy in Five Acts. One of Washington’s favorite plays. Holds up remarkably well as a story, and it was wonderful to see in context the words that influenced many of the Founding Fathers is fascinating.
  8. HITCHENS, Christopher. Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. Very well written, and quite brief.
  9. McDEVITT, Jack. The Engines of God, in the Academy Series. Couldn’t get into it.
  10. ARON, Elaine N. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You. Not sensitive in the sense of “prone to take offense,” but in the sense “easily overwhelmed by too much sensory input.” I’d never thought of the difference between “shy” and “needs quiet time.” Extremely helpful.
  11. PHILBRICK, Nathaniel. Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American Revolution. Fascinating. See this post and this one.
  12. NOVIK, Naomi. Uprooted. Well-written fantasy novel with an interesting premise and plot. I petered out on her Temeraire novels after the second: Napoleonic Wars with dragons was an interesting premise, too, but it wore thin quickly.


  • I’m always up for more book recommendations. Email them to me (please!!!) at
  • Want wonderful art delivered weekly to your inbox? Members of my free Sunday Recommendations list (email receive three art-related suggestions every week: check out my favorites from last year’s recommendations. For more goodies, check out my Patreon page.
Close Menu