Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Books I'm Not Recommending for Christmas

It’s my annual list of books I’m not recommending for Christmas. I’ve always felt particular about the books I buy and read; I assume most other people share that sentiment. So, I don’t tell people what they should buy; instead, I cite the books I enjoyed most this past year. 

My reading changed considerably this year, as I began to read and research the American Civil War. Some really fine books on the subject were published this year, and I read only a few. I also read several that were published years ago. 


Here’s the list of books I read in 2022 that I’m not recommending. (I stumbled across a few books I wouldn’t recommend under any circumstances; yes, they were that bad. But I never finished them, and they’re not included.)


Rembrandt is in the Wind: Learning to Love Art Through the Eyes of Faith by Russ Ramsey.




History of the Rain by Niall Ferguson.

Alexandria by Paul Kingsnorth.

Above the Rain by Victor Del Arbol (there must be something about rain that attracts me).

Brisbane by Eugene Vodolazkin.

The Lost Tales of Sir Galahad, by various authors and published by The Rabbit Room.




The Joseph Tree by Isabel Chenot.

Drinking Guinness with the Dead by Justin Hamm.

Tornado Drill by Dave Malone

Vinegar City by Colm Toibin.

As Folktaleteller by Paul Brookes.


Two [poetry anthologies I really liked were Poets of the Civil War, edited by J.D McClatchy, and 

Christian Poets in America Since 1940, edited by Micah Mattix and Sally Thomas.


Literary Criticism


In the House of Tom Bombadil by C.R. Wiley.

Dickens and the World in 1851: The Turning Point by Robert-Douglas-Fairhurst.




The Army of the Potomac Trilogy by Bruce Catton (Library of America).

Hearts Torn Asunder: Trauma in the Civil War’s Final Campaign in North Carolina by Ernest Dollar Jr.

Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army After Appomattox by Caroline Janney.

The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864 by Gordon Rhea (published in 1994).

Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness by Chris Mackowski.

The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign by Robert Orirson and Daniel Welch.


News Media


Bad News: How Woke Media is Undermining Democracy by Batya Ungar-Sargon.

Terms of Service by Chris Martin.




I read a lot of mystery stories. And I’m always happy to find a new mystery author and series. I read a number of mysteries by Roy Lewis. I loved his Eric Ward series and really liked his Inspector John Crow series. The series I’m reading now, featuring a local planning officer named Arnold Landon, may end up being my favorite. 


Five Decembers by James Kestrel (won the Edgard Award for best mystery and deserved it).

Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea Carter.

A Death in Jerusalem by Jonathan Dunsky.

A Fatal End by Faith Martin.

Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin.


Biography / Memoir


Making Darkness Light: The Lives and Times of John Milton by Joe Moshenka.

Dorothy and Jack: The Transforming Friendship of Dorothy L. Sayers and C.S. Lewis by Gina Dalfanzo.

Ghost of the Hardy Boys by Leslie McFarlane.

Savage Gods by Paul Kingsnorth.

Eliot After ‘The Waste Land’ by Robert Crawford.




Dream Small by Seth Lewis.

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman.


Top photograph by Henry Be via Unsplash. Used with permission.

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