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2013 Year In Review (by Book)

El Narco by Ioan Grillo (1/9)

The Church and The Kingdom by Giorgio Agamben (1/13)

Plunkitt of Tammany Hall by William Riordan (1/14)

Geronimo by Robert Utley (1/28)

An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre by John Bourke (1/29)

Views from the Apache Frontier by Jose Cortes (1/29)

The Pope Who Quit by Jon Sweeney (2/23)

In the Wake of the Plague by Norman F. Cantor (3/5)

1066: The Year of Conquest by David Howarth (3/24)

Richard III by Paul Murray Kendall (4/11)

Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine (4/30)

The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher (5/31)

Niccolo Machiavelli by Corrado Vivanti (6/4)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (7/6)

Freedom Is Not Enough by William Clayson (7/31)

Rotten Boroughs, Political Thickets, and Legislative Donnybrooks by Gary Keith (8/12)

World War Z by Max Brooks (8/13)

The Chicken Ranch by Jan Hutson (8/17)

Comanches by T. R. Fehrenbach (9/2)

The Texas Cherokees by Dianna Everett (9/7)

Narcoland by Anabel Hernandez (11/18)

I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to this year. I did try to break out from my focus on politics this year, and I did succeed in that - reading more history, particularly history in the Southwest.

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2012 Year in Review (by Book)

Allan Shivers: The Pied Piper of Texas Politics by Sam Kinch, Jr (1/14)

Dan Moody: Crusader for Justice by Ken Anderson (1/15)

Reagan’s Comeback by Gilbert Garcia (1/20)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre (2/6)

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (2/23)

The Birth of Modern Politics by Lynn Hudson Parson (2/28)

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (3/14)

How to Win an Election by Quintus Tullius Cicero (3/29)

Huey Long by T. Harry Williams (3/31)

Daniel Webster and the Rise of National Conservatism by Richard Current (4/7)

Republicanism by Maurizio Viroli (4/14)

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (4/21)

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (5/3)

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris (5/5)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (5/17)

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (6/9)

Foundation by Isaac Asimov (6/27)

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (7/6)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (7/15)

The Scarlet Plague by Jack London (7/19)

Will Rogers: A Political Life by Richard D. White (7/30)

Yeomen Sharecroppers and Socialists by Kyle G. Wilkison (8/12)

Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent by Fred Burton (9/2)

Eisenhower: The White House Years by Jim Newton (9/10)

The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State by Noah Feldman (10/7)

A Moral Alphabet by Hilaire Belloc (11/3)

Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc (11/3)

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (11/18)

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (11/28)

The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (12/16)

The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (12/16)

Southern Politics in State and Nation by V. O. Key (12/30)

I was off to a good start this year; however, I slowed down a little through the course of the year and fell well short of my goal, though I still read more than I read last year. I read a lot more fiction than I typically read, which helped to relieve a lot of stress related to work (working in politics there are days when you don’t really want to read anything political).

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Book Review: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London

Until recently, I was unaware that Jack London wrote science fiction, because he is best known for such books as The Call of the Wild and White Fang (neither of which I have read, though I have read The Sea Wolf), so when I saw this reprint of The Scarlet Plague in the sci-fi section at Barnes & Noble, I picked it up out of curiosity. It’s a short pessimistic tome - touching on several issues, such as class, religion, etc. - about a future in which mankind has been decimated by an unknown disease and reverted to its primitive ways, and in the picture painted, London doesn’t offer much hope for the future of mankind.

You can read The Scarlet Plague online here.

Further recommended reading…

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Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction lately, and this is one I vaguely remember reading when I was in middle school. It’s been great re-reading, because there are several things I see in this book as an adult that I previously did not understand. A wonderful story about our desires, fears and how we can address them, even though they may return. I’ve got some more Ray Bradbury lined up for the rest of this summer.

Further recommended reading…

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Book Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

Well, I finally finished it. Took me long enough, but I’ve finally finished the 5th book in Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice. So, again, without being all spoilery, I’ll just say that I have really enjoyed the character development of most of the characters, and I’m looking forward to reading the 6th book if Martin ever gets around to finish it, because I’m really interested in seeing how these various plots and intrigues develop (and you never know what direction Martin might decide to take). In the meantime, I will just have to enjoy the show and read some of the novellas about the years preceding Game of Thrones.

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Book Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I finished reading John Le Carre’s novel last night, and it was a great read. Definitely helped take my mind off politics and work on some much needed occasions. In the Penguin edition I read, there is a brief introduction where Le Carre describes the background for his book in the treachery of Kim Philby and George Blake. There are at least two other Le Carre novels involving George Smiley and his hunt for Karla: The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People; plan on buying and reading those soon.

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Book Review: Horseman Pass By

Yeah, I did quite a bit reading this weekend (as well as watching football and taking some naps). It took me one day to read Horseman Pass By by Larry McMurtry - his first published novel. McMurtry is perhaps best known for Lonesome Dove. This short novel shows life on a ranch in post WW2 Texas, as well as the conflict between new Texas and old Texas. Whether it’s the differences berween the small, dying town of Thalia compared to the bustling urban center of Fort Worth, or the attitude of an old rancher, past his prime, who keeps Longhorns and opposes drilling, the work is picture of how Texas was changing in the post-war era. Horseman Pass By was made into the film Hud with Paul Newman, which Texas Monthly ranked as one of the top films about Texas.

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In a recent post, sfliberty tells the tale of “a real life Hank Rearden.” However, unlike Rearden, Mr Cola worked with a government funded institution - Ohio State University - to test his process, as well as develop new applications and improvements to the process (Source), which is something I doubt Mr Rearden would do (and perhaps something Students for Liberty would not endorse). While I am in general agreement with the post’s overall point, i.e., that central planning is ineffective (though I think Paul Omerod explained the folly of central planning much better in Butterfly Economics and Why Most Things Fail without going full Rand), I think it needs to be pointed out that Mr Cola does not fulfill Rand’s fiction. Mr Cola’s story is a great success story (and I think its inarguable this is revolutionary), but he’s not exactly a Hank Rearden.

(Source: studentsforliberty.org)