What Are You Reading?

I have enjoyed library visits since I was five. I was one of those kids who would take home a stack of books. The college I went to originally had not much more than a broom closet for a library. [It was the extension center of the University of Alabama] So I spent time at the main city library. In my free time, I would get on the floor between the shelves of books and flip through the pages of books that seemed interesting. The college completed a massive library during my second year. I paid alumni dues for years just to continue to have access.

One of the books that I read for a graduate studies Economic class was Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. In the first, and only, class meeting we were given our singular assignment to read both Smith’s work and Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

A few of us formed a study group that met on Sunday nights the last few weeks of the term. We would each present our understanding of the economic theories of the two authors.

The exam consisted of three questions. 1) Discuss in loving detail the theory of Adam Smith. 2) Discuss in equally loving detail the theory of Karl Marx. 3) Compare and contrast the theories. I filled up about 8-10 Blue books. Got an A.

I would say it was the most important class I took and has shaped my thinking through my life.  That exercise changed my thinking from socialism to free market.

Since college, I have read primarily non-fiction, history, heavily weighed in military history.

The book I am reading now is “A History of the American People” by Paul Johnson. It’s superb. The key word in the title is people. Who they were, what they thought, how they came to their personal philosophy, the cultural background of the times, who were their allies and opponents.

The publisher writes:

In his prize-winning classic, Johnson presents an in-depth portrait of American history from the first colonial settlements to the Clinton administration. This is the story of the men and women who shaped and led the nation and the ordinary people who collectively created its unique character. Littered with letters, diaries, and recorded conversations, it details the origins of their struggles for independence and nationhood, their heroic efforts and sacrifices to deal with the ‘organic sin’ of slavery and the preservation of the Union to its explosive economic growth and emergence as a world power. Johnson discusses contemporary topics such as the politics of racism, education, the power of the press, political correctness, the growth of litigation, and the influence of women throughout history

6 thoughts on “What Are You Reading?”

  1. I just finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land
    by Robert A. Heinlein I am starting on kindle, Take Back Your Government
    by Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein wrote mostly sci fy he is no longer living so it seems most of his books are out of print. His ideas seem still relavint today

  2. Sadly, since the thrombosis in my right eye, my old habit of 4 or 5 books a month has decreased to 4 or 5 books a year. Still enjoy reading, though. Currently, I am on Lotharingia by Simon Winder. It is an interesting and often amusing romp through history.


  3. LOVE reading and libraries! Currently just started reading Jon Meacham’s “And There Was Light” about Lincoln, and finishing “The Earth Is All That Lasts” about Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse’s final fights. I don’t read history exclusively, have eclectic taste

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