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Sunday, December 27, 2020

The appearance of erudition

Everything is fake, including the supposed knowledge of the politicians and famous public intellectuals:

In a place like Washington—small, interconnected, erudite, gossipy—being well-read can create certain advantages. So, too, can seeming well-read. The “Washington bookshelf” is almost a phenomenon in itself, whether in a hotel library, at a think tank office or on the walls behind the cocktail bar at a Georgetown house.

And, as with nearly any other demand of busy people and organizations, it can be conjured up wholesale, for a fee.

Books by the Foot, a service run by the Maryland-based bookseller Wonder Book, has become a go-to curator of Washington bookshelves, offering precisely what its name sounds like it does. As retro as a shelf of books might seem in an era of flat-panel screens, Books by the Foot has thrived through Democratic and Republican administrations, including that of the book-averse Donald Trump. And this year, the company has seen a twist: When the coronavirus pandemic arrived, Books by the Foot had to adapt to a downturn in office- and hotel-decor business—and an uptick in home-office Zoom backdrops for the talking-head class.

The Wonder Book staff doesn’t pry too much into which objective a particular client is after. If an order were to come in for, say, 12 feet of books about politics, specifically with a progressive or liberal tilt—as one did in August—Wonder Book’s manager, Jessica Bowman, would simply send one of her more politics-savvy staffers to the enormous box labeled “Politically Incorrect” (the name of Books by the Foot’s politics package) to select about 120 books by authors like Hillary Clinton, Bill Maher, Al Franken and Bob Woodward. The books would then be “staged,” or arranged with the same care a florist might extend to a bouquet of flowers, on a library cart; double-checked by a second staffer; and then shipped off to the residence or commercial space where they would eventually be shelved and displayed (or shelved and taken down to read).

Only sometimes do Bowman and Wonder Book President Chuck Roberts know the real identity of the person whose home or project they’ve outfitted: “When we work with certain designers, I pretty much already know it’s going to be either an A-list movie or an A-list client. They always order under some code name,” Bowman says. “They’re very secretive.”

I think people have a basic understanding that there is an element of falsehood to many, if not most displayed libraries, given the reaction that more than a view Darkstream viewers have had to my videos. I've even been accused of using a greenscreen with a backdrop of a picture of a library. This is why it gives me great pleasure to be able to answer those who ask "have you read all those books" with "actually, I've published quite a few of them."

And even more pleasure to inform the more dedicated doubters that I wrote more than a dozen of them. The Castalia-only portion of the library already fills more than three double shelves and I haven't even received my copy of the first three Junior Classics yet.

My office library is larger than it appears on screen, as there are seven horizontal rows and six columns in an L-shape to my left and behind my gaming table. There are about 600 books and 50 boxed wargames in it (not counting comics), but my office library is only a small portion of the house library which is scattered throughout shelves in various rooms and hallways on all three floors of the house. Forget books, I don't even know how many bookshelves we have.

But it is intriguing, and informative, to have the shallowness and lack of knowledge that we have observed on the part of the ruling class confirmed by their need to buy the appearance of erudition in addition to their worthless university degrees.

Labels: ,

116 Comments:

Blogger T.L. Ciottoli December 27, 2020 8:38 AM  

Great post. The only Beltway liberal I am still in touch with just parrots everything and anything she hears from NPR and MSNBC.

They are all so terribly shallow. And terrified of being called out for it. When you do, they go nuts.

Blogger Unknown December 27, 2020 8:49 AM  

This made me laugh.

Kinda related but OT (pls no bully):

It would be wonderful if you ever made a high quality print of this book dear SDL:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30352338-when-victims-rule

I think it would be a big book (physically), but I'd pay 75€ (plus shipping) easily for a durable print of that work. Maybe someday enough demand exists that it makes it worth it for you to do it (if at all possible).

Blogger Silly but True December 27, 2020 8:51 AM  

“...Book-averse...”

They know they’re lying. Before anyone thought Trump would win, he was the most widely read of candidates running:
https://www.usnews.com/news/slideshows/10-books-donald-trump-loves

Blogger Kraemer December 27, 2020 8:52 AM  

Thanks for this post, Vox.
It brought to my memory a commercial from back when I watched Benny Shapiru's show. There was this subscription service, whose name escapes me, where you could get 5-minute summaries of various intellectual books in audio format. Just listen to a few on the way to an event and be educated or something like that. At the time, I thought that these famous authors like Machiavelli or Voltaire must be pretty stupid if the essence of their whole books fits into five minutes of audio.
Now I'm beginning to suspect that these summaries are horribly biased, and that they are used by overpaid media wh***s to pretend erudition. Listen to ten minutes of Voltaire, put his Magnum Opus on your Zoom background, done!

Blogger Robert Coble December 27, 2020 8:53 AM  

This feels like deja vu to me. I had three large bookcases in my office at work, covering a wide range of topics in computer science and management. One day, a senior project manager stopped by and realized there were a lot of books on those shelves. She asked me, "Have you read any of these books?(!! - that should have been a clue)" I told her to pick any one of the books at random, and open it; She did. Then I told her, "Thumb through the pages and tell me what you see." She did, and then (in a surprised tone) said, "You've highlighted things on almost every page! And there are handwritten notes in the margins!" I replied, "I think you can assume that I've read them."

Like you, that was only a small section of my library, most of which was at home, covering a lot of different subjects. One of my prized literary possessions is a copy of The Irrational Atheist.

That interaction made me curious: was I really such an anomaly? So, I started looking for bookshelves in both the technical staff and managers' offices. In disbelief, I found virtually NO professional books or magazines on ANYTHING, including our area of (supposed) expertise. I started asking about professional technical magazines and found that out of over 400 supposed professionals, there were only 3 of us who were members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the premier software professional organization. We also were the only three that knew that such an organization existed!

That was a large Federal government organization. I don't expect you would be surprised.

Blogger Hbogbinder December 27, 2020 9:00 AM  

I recall that Nicholson Baker (detest his leftist views, but admit that when he writes about topics orthogonal to politics he is very entertaining) wrote an essay about this sort of thing called "Books as Furniture".(https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/06/12/books-as-furniture)

Blogger Unknown December 27, 2020 9:01 AM  

The book shelves at law firms have mostly been for show since 2000.

At first I was still using some horn books over the years, but as they also were placed online...

We gave up half our office space after we all headed home in March. I ended up tossing 75% of the books in my office because I have not cracked them in 10 years. And those were the ones I saved from the earlier purge because I thought I would use them.

The books in the open area and in the conference rooms we gave back all went in the dumpster.

Huge dual monitors are way more important.

Blogger CCP December 27, 2020 9:03 AM  

Casual mentions of being an NPR listener are another lame erudition boost technique that I pick up on

Blogger MJ December 27, 2020 9:03 AM  

The funny thing is even if they had read all the books on their shelf, it wouldn't have increased their knowledge by too much. Imagine actually thinking it worthwhile to read some nonsense by Bob Woodward or George Will.

Blogger Randomatos December 27, 2020 9:11 AM  

It goes beyond lack of knowledge to anti-knowledge. They actively war against objective reality, thus needing to mind-kill any wrong-fact that makes past the delusion bubble. Surrounding themselves with their "books of spells", as a Vox-Owen chimera might coin it, is just another attempt to bolster the delusion bubble and signal in-group bona fides to their covens.

Blogger MidnightSun December 27, 2020 9:13 AM  

They were frauds and liars from the beginning...

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother December 27, 2020 9:13 AM  

Building my library book by book is a very satisfying and individual pursuit. Ordering it en masse from someone just doesn't compute.

Blogger Brainspirit December 27, 2020 9:14 AM  

Are you going to do a showcase video and go thru at least a part of that collection?

Blogger [Redacted] December 27, 2020 9:15 AM  

Fake and Gay. At last, I understand how homosexual revisionist histories became best sellers, ~recommended~, and "required reading". Book burning shall return, and it shall return with hellfire.

Blogger Jose Miguel December 27, 2020 9:19 AM  

That's a lot like my dad's house! He even put in shelves along the staircase for books, 14 shelves along the stairs from the second to third floor alone! When I was learning to read he put all the books he would feel proud of his sons reading onto the bottom shelves within our reach.

My wife asked me a month ago why my books to buy list keeps growing when I haven't read all that I currently have, I point out I've read 2 out of 3 books currently owned, and I want to be ready when the Internet goes away and have copies of books that are beginning unauthorized for publication.

Blogger Jack Morrow December 27, 2020 9:23 AM  

And some people still think that George Costanza is a fictional character. Are these "Books by the Foot" actual books or just cardboard replicas of the covers?

Blogger Al From Bay Shore December 27, 2020 9:24 AM  

It looks like Foot takes the fun out of buying books; an order is placed for a given number of books on a given topic (not titles), then they send books of their own choosing. That's like ordering albums (or CDs) by genre without ever knowing which artists you are getting. There's fun in going to a bookstore (or something like Amazon), or a record store, sifting titles and artists, reading blurbs and liner notes, and making a purchase decision on your own.

Blogger Damelon Brinn December 27, 2020 9:25 AM  

"If an order were to come in for, say, 12 feet of books about politics, specifically with a progressive or liberal tilt"

I wonder what they'd do if an order came in for a stack of books with a right-wing tilt. Would they refuse, or subcontract it out to someone willing to touch such books? Fortunately for them, that's not likely to happen in D.C.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 27, 2020 9:32 AM  

On one of your forums I actually questioned if there were any "liberals" who read books and a nice lady responded that yes she knew of her liberal friends who actually read a diverse set of topics.

Because frankly all the right credentialed "liberals" that I knew would barely crack a fashion magazine, the term NPC fits the bill perfectly.

Blogger Rick December 27, 2020 9:33 AM  

It’s cheaper to just buy HRC leftovers

Blogger Rick December 27, 2020 9:35 AM  

“the book-averse Donald Trump”

Ok

Blogger Jack Morrow December 27, 2020 9:40 AM  

It's another example of how today's satire is tomorrow's reality. Mad magazine published an article in the mid-'50s suggesting the use of such phony backdrops.

Blogger RedJack December 27, 2020 9:45 AM  

Robert Coble
At one job I had a rather in depth technical reference library. Top manager came in and said "Red, all those books are intimidating to people. Please remove them and use only Google".

I was told that reading books was considered "weird" and "Threatening". So I started taking my lunch with the line workers. They viewed books as odd, but some started reading with me. For a while we had an unofficial book club and did the Voxuniversity of the Peloponnesian Wat. Seems the "elite" in that plant viewed those who read as potential threats.

My personal library is many things, but all who have seen it know it is not for show. I have read many of them (JB Bury's masterwork for instance) and it is in need of a good purging. I am also proud to say my kids are building their own book shelves. Sweetie bear is diving into Dragonlance, ballet theory, and sewing for instance.

A service like books by the foot confuses me. It is like people that buy pans to hang from the ceiling but never cook. Those who read/cook know it is a poser. Those that don't could care less.

Blogger Darwin is a Harsh Mistress December 27, 2020 10:02 AM  

I'm often asked if I read all my books, too. Many hundreds of leather bound volumes plus uncounted cloth and paperback fill shelves, cases and also boxes, unfortunately. But no I haven't read all of them not even close. I've read many and I wish I'd read more.

But the deliberate fact is I didn't spend all that money for my own erudition but for my family's erudition for generations not yet born.

That thought -- the unpalpable future -- is hardest for my guests to understand.

This leads to a personal worry: when I finally pass on my heirs will chuck them all instead of take them to pass on in turn. Since I'm still raising those young heirs, the odds of maintaining and I pray using our library are higher than otherwise.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother December 27, 2020 10:06 AM  

Also, if you haven't picked up on the connection between this post and the last post...

A man who reads strategically, voraciously, and constantly vs idiots who have someone's else book selections sitting unread on their shelves.

Blogger Wazdakka December 27, 2020 10:06 AM  

The fun that could be had working there!
Slip in Hilaire Belloc or James N Mason for political shelf.

Blogger Filter Bear December 27, 2020 10:13 AM  

Jack Morrow wrote:And some people still think that George Costanza is a fictional character. Are these "Books by the Foot" actual books or just cardboard replicas of the covers?

Article makes it seem like they're actual books -- for people who don't care to spend $1000+ on looking well read or intelligent on all their special boy zoom calls it'd probably be more effort to create replicas of the books than to actually just source them.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 10:16 AM  

Stg58/Animal Mother wrote:Building my library book by book is a very satisfying and individual pursuit. Ordering it en masse from someone just doesn't compute.
There is no point in buying books much faster than you can read them. It would be unthinkable to buy books slower than you can read them.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville December 27, 2020 10:16 AM  

Sounds like my dad too. He was infamous for buying books and not reading any of them. One wall of the living room was all built in bookcases. Mom was an avid reader though, and at age 8 I was going through shelves of Reader's Digest condensed books, and stacks of Nat Geo.

Blogger JC December 27, 2020 10:18 AM  

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore, professore dottore Eco, what a library you have ! How many of these books have you read?” and the others - a very small minority - who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb


I consider myself poorly read and I gave away a giant box of books to a prison a few years ago. They were mostly cheap paperbacks but I had read the vast majority of them. Can't say I am surprised that these parasites don't actually read because I've read a few of the books they "wrote". I am OCD with books and tend to finish what I start but this has been severely tried with most books by the ghost writers for politicians.

There was a twitter thread a while back of people sharing their libraries and it was mostly women who had colour-coded their libraries. When you zoom in it is stuff like Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman stuff. These were mostly people who actually read their books too.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 10:19 AM  

Brainspirit wrote:Are you going to do a showcase video and go thru at least a part of that collection?
Gonna guess that Castilia Library is a tour of a significant part of Vox's library. The book list on the right side of this page is probably a tour of another significant part. Reading Vox's posts over the years gives us a tour of another part.

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume December 27, 2020 10:22 AM  

RedJack wrote:Robert Coble

At one job I had a rather in depth technical reference library. Top manager came in and said "Red, all those books are intimidating to people. Please remove them and use only Google".

I was told that reading books was considered "weird" and "Threatening". So I started taking my lunch with the line workers. They viewed books as odd, but some started reading with me. For a while we had an unofficial book club and did the Voxuniversity of the Peloponnesian Wat. Seems the "elite" in that plant viewed those who read as potential threats.

My personal library is many things, but all who have seen it know it is not for show. I have read many of them (JB Bury's masterwork for instance) and it is in need of a good purging. I am also proud to say my kids are building their own book shelves. Sweetie bear is diving into Dragonlance, ballet theory, and sewing for instance.

A service like books by the foot confuses me. It is like people that buy pans to hang from the ceiling but never cook. Those who read/cook know it is a poser. Those that don't could care less.



Back in college, one of my summer jobs was working at a family run greenhouse and nursery company.I worked 6 days a week and for three of those days, worked on the road with the lawn care and landscaping crews. I was the "college boy", the only non-smoker, the only one who didn't spend nearly his entire paycheck as soon as he got it, on beer and cigarettes and scratch-off tickets. And for the first month or so, the College Boy was the only name they would use. But they respected real work from anyone and before the end of the summer, I got a long with them all. More shocking was, when they would see me reading a book on my lunch break, they were more likely to ask genuine questions about what I was reading than the family that owned the business. The owners were the stereotypical NPR-worshipping liberals who didn't seem to read all that much.

My second summer there, I had two guys who were high school dropouts- one who had been in the county jail off and on over the course of a decade, for repeated misdemeanors - reading the Lord of the Rings. And enjoying it! Why wouldn't they? It's a fantastic story.

It didn't change their lives much. Heck, the one guy just couldn't keep himself out of trouble. He's been in prison now for a while. But it always struck me that the roughnecks of the business were more open to reading and learning than the college educated owners.

Blogger Jack Ward December 27, 2020 10:23 AM  

This is one of the most interesting posts VD has every done.
Little wonder we addicts keep coming back.
As I look at my shelves full of mostly reference works with titles that might surprise. Not near what it used to be what with the lure and convenience of a lighted Kindle. Sometimes I will duplicate an especially good Kindle selection, Unrestricted Warfare, right now, tops the list, with the hardback just because gatekeepers you see.
50 % through Unrestricted and I really need to look up the bios on those two Colonels see if they made it through the purges and party politics.

Blogger Bogey December 27, 2020 10:24 AM  

@8 I hear that, it's a quick dirty way for a liberal to tell everyone they are informed.

At my age I look at my bookshelf and think "I need to get rid of half of this shit." Digital books are awesome. Added bonus: no reading glasses necessary.

Blogger B December 27, 2020 10:27 AM  

Selling feet or yards of books to those who want the appearance of erudition is nothing new -- they've been doing it in England for years. What IS new is Wonder Books' tweaking and refinement of the process. The rest of the Globe has nothing on Yankee ingenuity!

I recall a chief administrative law judge in a D.C. agency HQ who displayed a group of classics, including the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, at the very front of his desk as you walked in. When I first saw it, I thought to myself, "Gee, if he wants to read from a certain book, he's gonna have to get up from behind his desk, walk around to the front of his desk, and read & select the title he's looking for. Most inefficient!" Of course I instantly realized that the book placement was not for his benefit, but for those visiting his office. The judge, a very stupid man, wanted to give the appearance of wisdom and learning, of which he had neither. Now I wonder if he got his yard of books from Wonder Books, which has been servicing the D.C. area for years.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 27, 2020 10:28 AM  

@21 They all still see him watching Gorilla TV, and totally believe it's real.

TDS: It's a sickness, for sure.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 10:31 AM  

Robert Coble wrote:That interaction made me curious: was I really such an anomaly?
Almost surely you were. In the late 1800s, about 5% of the White population got a university education. Today, about 50% of all races go to ``university,'' and probably less than 5% get a university education.
Robert Coble wrote:I started asking about professional technical magazines and found that out of over 400 supposed professionals, there were only 3 of us who were members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the premier software professional organization.
Membership in ACM isn't university education, but it probably correlates well. Three percent of the ``computer professionals'' were educated, at least in their narrow field? For a diverse federal workforce, that's probably pretty good. If ya'll were all White, I wouldn't expect the percentage to be much over ten.

When I was a student, I was at various times a student member of IEEE, ASA and AEA. Since leaving school, I haven't found the journals to be worth the cost of regular membership.

Blogger VFM #7634 December 27, 2020 10:33 AM  

“Books by the Foot” sounds like something out of the Babylon Bee. I’m not surprised that Democrats are more snobbish and less well-read than they’d have people believe.

Blogger tdcommenter December 27, 2020 10:33 AM  

I've heard of Books by the Foot before. That also explains where all of those copies of the NYT best shippers list go.

Blogger B December 27, 2020 10:36 AM  

One other thought: how does the writer know that TGE is "book-averse"? TGE has a degree in economics from one of the top business schools in the US (Wharton School of the U of PA). Has he ever SAID he is book-averse? Or is this just a snide comment from a typical Politico SJW?

Blogger Patrick McNally December 27, 2020 10:36 AM  

This reeks of fraud. Any genuine reader, even someone who wishes to grind the ghost-written published in Hillary Clinton's name, is going to have to search through specific volumes. Unless this is your first time buying books anywhere, you couldn't be confident that a storeowner throwing together a collection for you wouldn't overlap with stuff that you already own.

Blogger AJ Popo December 27, 2020 10:39 AM  

They seem oddly proud of it. Like they are so out of the loop they don't realize they're naked.

Blogger Damelon Brinn December 27, 2020 10:45 AM  

Steve Sailer used to joke that he might be the only person who read Obama's best-selling memoir.

Blogger Jack Morrow December 27, 2020 10:46 AM  

Jordan Peterson sounds like a likely client of Books by the Foot, as he likes to make reference to things without actually knowing about them.

IIRC, someone a few years ago was doing research for a biography of Adlai Stevenson and was shocked to discover that the man who liked to project the image of an egghead (he at least looked the part) had hardly read a book in his life, and at the time of his death had only two books in his possession, one of them being the Social Register.

Blogger B December 27, 2020 10:50 AM  

Your father, @15 Jose Miguel, was much like my grandfather, who had a library of classics (Shakespeare, Dumas, Dickens, etc.) for his 4 sons. This was in pre-WWII Hungary. The sons were not all that interested in it. My mother, however, devoured those books. Although she did not have a college education, she retained a love for Dumas throughout her 90-years of life.

Blogger PubliusFlavius December 27, 2020 10:50 AM  

My BM gets frequently gets an upgrade when i perform to Dr.

I never roll with it, but it is entertaining being introduced as a professor of a university I never attended.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 27, 2020 10:51 AM  

tdcommenter wrote:That also explains where all of those copies of the NYT best shippers list go.

Yeah, I figure it's a combination of that and the dump, after Soros and his ilk buy them by the truck load, funneling money to their political whores.

Blogger Opus December 27, 2020 10:53 AM  

I am reminded of when I was aged sixteen and reading War and Peace. My Father (who had left school at fifteen) seeing that I was carrying one of the two volumes around with me informed me that I was not reading it but merely carrying it around to impress. (My Father never that I can recall read anything other than the Daily Telegraph). I replied indignantly that of course I was reading it. After a second he responded, well in that case you are not understanding it. This was nonsense and my Father was merely confusing length with difficulty. It bothered me for years. How could I prove even to myself that indeed I did understand Tolstoy. I was put out of my misery many decades later when in talking with a former Soviet about War and Peace she explained that in the Soviet schools it was a set work for the thirteen year olds which is when she read it.

Such books of mine which I have not read are still in their Amazon packaging.

When a few years later I was reading (for the first time) Kant's 1st Critique (now that I am not at all sure I would claim to understand - at least fully) the comparative smallness of the volume did not excite my Father's insecurity.

Of course the more books one has - and the same goes for gramophone records - the less used they are but at least they are always available to be pulled out whenever required. Books are nice objects. When the electrodes that make this and any blog are gone books will still be there. Without books there is no history.

Blogger Doc December 27, 2020 10:55 AM  

Can't believe I am the first to chime in with the "leadership" bookshelves of active duty army LTCs...

I swear each of these guys are obligated to add and leave at least 3 unread books to the shelves during their tour

Blogger John Colicos December 27, 2020 10:56 AM  

It shouldn't surprise me but it does.
Paklids... Paklids all the way down. "We are smart. We make things go. Look at all my books!"

Blogger tuberman December 27, 2020 10:58 AM  

>> The books would then be “staged,” or arranged with the same care a florist might extend to a bouquet of flowers, on a library cart

^^^Hilarious^^^ It's not possible to satirize such self-parody.

When I was a child my uncle and grandmother had ordered the set of "Great Books," and those were indeed high quality real literature to top Western philosophers, put out in well made books. At the age of seven I asked my uncle if I could read some of those book while visiting, after promising that I treat these books well. I probably ended up reading more than a dozen of those books during the following two years, and not one had been cracked open before my reading. They were meant mainly for show, and this was the 1950's. Yet, at least, these were truly important books, and not the puffery of today's "bouquet of flowers, on a library cart."

Blogger Doc December 27, 2020 10:59 AM  

I just place a single Kindle on my shelf

"You read everything on Kindle?"

"Yes."

That really impresses people today

Blogger Hammerli 280 December 27, 2020 11:00 AM  

I'll confess to buying more and more of my books in soft-copy. Simply for ease of storage. But it's limiting...e-books are fine for text, less so for photos and drawings.

And I'm another of those people who moved into the new home...and bought six Ikea bookcases. Tall ones. All full. And the fiction is upstairs.

Blogger Beloved December 27, 2020 11:03 AM  

I wonder which intern it was that filled the Podesta brother's homes and offices with cannibal and pedophilic art?

No intern, just awful people filling their lives with what inspires them.

Blogger binks webelf December 27, 2020 11:04 AM  

I have a Vox-like wall of books.. two of them, and that's after selling part of my liberry, and losing a goodly number of books in a home flood. I haven't published any of the books sitting on my shelves, but one is part-dedicated to me, and in another I have a mention in the thanks.

The sad thing I'm noticing more & more on social media and from politicians, Hollyweird celebrities and other such 'leaders' is the decline in grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and other signs of a real decline in reading, literacy, and familiarity with the Bible & other written intellectual foundations of the West.

Reading helps you brain gooder. Reading good books with a spirit of wisdom, humility, curiousity, and a happy hunger is part of being an informed & thinking person.

Vox's good books project is an inspiration, and a planting of trees for the future blessing & rebuilding of civilization. In all the projects he's doing, The Supreme Dark Lord has committed himself to serve the beautiful, the good, and the true-- and God. Inspirational.

Blogger Newscaper312 December 27, 2020 11:12 AM  

I have a bit of a dilemma to sort through. I have three full tall built in book shelves in the den plus some books elsewhere. Been getting almost nothing but ebooks except for the occasional technical book where paper is more accessible for referencing later in many ways.
What I need to do is purge the bookshelves again while at dame time reviewing my years of ebook purchases for any that might be worth having on paper for the longer haul.

Blogger Daniel December 27, 2020 11:15 AM  

Good grief. They can"t just send an assistant to just pick up the window display of the local chain bookstore at retail? That alone probably would have kept their precious Borders alive. This is a great illustration of how their brand of evil wants nothing to survive, not even the shambling, empty suits of skin.

Blogger Dorvannnn December 27, 2020 11:17 AM  

That's got to be one of the most pretentious things I have ever heard.

I own a few hundred books and I have read most of them. A quarter of them are cookbooks. Another quarter are Do-it-yourself guides and handbooks. The rest are a mix of Marvel Comics, Star Trek, other science fiction, RPG books, and pop culture/trivia(I have one bookcase full of Uncle John's Bathroom readers, Guinness World Records books, and Ripley's Believe It or Not books). I know it isn't the most high brow collection but I stand by what I have spent my money on.

Blogger Cappuccinobear December 27, 2020 11:17 AM  

This comment is exactly on point. Back when I was a 20 something know it all, I would "casually" mention npr as a sort of credential, not unlike a doctor correcting others who'd call him "Mister", or "Sir".

Blogger Homesteader December 27, 2020 11:20 AM  

“If I read as many books as most men do, I would be as dull-witted as they are.”
— Thomas Hobbes

As knowing what to read, as we age, is what not to read. In youth, read everything. With age, we have to choose.

Our one point of equality, is 168 hours per week. Subtract work, sleep, chores, and time invested in other people, and you find your book time greatly wanting.

My few general guidelines are:

1. Nothing popular
2. Nothing recent
3. Non-fiction over fiction
4. Practical over whimsical
5. A forced diet of scheduled professional reading

Sort of boring, I suppose; but, at this point, I read for personal utility, not for cocktail parties.(Not that rural life affords many of those.)

At Christmas, for example, Luke, and Matthew.

This blog, and a few others, with my morning coffee.

After dinner, one of the aphorists, or my Bartlett's.
(I like Gracian for aphorisms, but there are several on my shelf.)

(Last night, though, was A/C vs. D/C welding, stick selection, and general guidelines thereof, as Santa brought a new 50 amp circuit with a shiny new 225.
Sometimes pragmatic is best.)

When Machiavelli talks about retiring to his study in the evening to confer with the best minds, I could understand what he meant.
These days, I like to sit by the fire, after dinner, in my easy chair, and enjoy the voices of other ages.
(Did the Spartans really just let Alcibiades talk them into letting him in after he left Cicily? WTF, Plutarch?) And, bedtime's at ten, so I've to choose carefully.

Thus, my shelves are not as full as they once were;
there are fewer books clamoring for my attention.

As with the body, so the mind- with time, we must learn to temper our intake carefully, and with discrimination.

You can't read them all.


Blogger Fishslinger_Bear December 27, 2020 11:22 AM  

Based on the many absurd photo ops and ceremonies with "doctors" in white lab coats or scrubs and head clothes with stethoscopes, especially during the Obamacare and CV charade, there must also be an equivalent Med Expert by the Foot Co.

Anonymous Anonymous December 27, 2020 11:29 AM  

My father used to say that the man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can not read.

Everything humans have ever discovered, theorised, philosophised, speculated or dreamed is written in a book somewhere. Most of them are available for free or next to nothing.

You can become a globally recognised expert in any subject, if you are willing to read.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 11:29 AM  

Darwin is a Harsh Mistress wrote:This leads to a personal worry: when I finally pass on my heirs will chuck them all instead of take them to pass on in turn. Since I'm still raising those young heirs, the odds of maintaining and I pray using our library are higher than otherwise.
Make sure your young heirs have time to read. Let them see that you value books and reading. Talk to them about what they read, and let that reading count as school time in your home schooling. Make sure you talk about how, and whether, what they are reading meshes with your faith.
Emmett Fitz-Hume wrote:But it always struck me that the roughnecks of the business were more open to reading and learning than the college educated owners.
College ``education'' is more often indoctrination, and college today is more likely to blunt curiosity than stimulate it. To succeed in college, you must focus on repeating the professor's mantra, and must not, or at least need not, question it.
Jack Ward wrote:As I look at my shelves full of mostly reference works with titles that might surprise.
Jack, When I find an old reference book in the used book stores, I usually buy it. Seven place log tables, medical or legal dictionaries, a biographical dictionary of Russian America, Oxford History of Technology, Physicians Desk Reference, some old text books. I use some of them occasionally, but it's good to know they're there, and that they cannot be surreptitiously made PC when Amazon does a Kindle ``upgrade.''

Blogger matveidaniilovich December 27, 2020 11:30 AM  

Vox, forgive me if you’ve posted this elsewhere, but what is your personal recommendation for “must haves” in a personal library ?

Blogger Iskander Magnus December 27, 2020 11:30 AM  

I remember a newly appointed preacher (roving bible teacher) appointed an “agent” to provide him with a fully fledged theological library. As I needed to offload some duplicates I was able to sell these to the agent, which is how I learned of this pastoral shortcut.

Blogger Linda Fox December 27, 2020 11:33 AM  

You need to edit this post with a picture of the books.

Blogger Unknown December 27, 2020 11:48 AM  

tuberman wrote:>> The books would then be “staged,” or arranged with the same care a florist might extend to a bouquet of flowers, on a library cart

^^^Hilarious^^^ It's not possible to satirize such self-parody.

When I was a child my uncle and grandmother had ordered the set of "Great Books," and those were indeed high quality real literature to top Western philosophers, put out in well made books. At the age of seven I asked my uncle if I could read some of those book while visiting, after promising that I treat these books well. I probably ended up reading more than a dozen of those books during the following two years, and not one had been cracked open before my reading. They were meant mainly for show, and this was the 1950's. Yet, at least, these were truly important books, and not the puffery of today's "bouquet of flowers, on a library cart."



When my parents, middle class people, discovered I was smart (not as smart as many of you but whatever) they purchased the World Book for me. The attractive ones with the brown and black covers.

The whole world of blurb knowledge was in those, enough to get you started on almost anything.

And they kept the update subscriptions until encarta came out. I sort of miss those, even though they have no purpose anymore in the modern world.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother December 27, 2020 11:49 AM  

I took my copy of Gibbon Vol. 1 to Kuwait with me in 2003. It was stolen halfway through my tour.

Never knew he had such devoted fans.

Blogger Angela December 27, 2020 11:49 AM  

I always found it offensive when, upon seeing my library, visitors would ask "have you actually read any of those books"? I didn't understand why someone would have books they didn't read and it hadn't occurred to me that anyone would attempt to pretend to read. How could anyone merely pretend to know anything? I was certainly naive.

Haha... that said, NOW I have collected many, many more books than I have had the chance to read but I'm a mom now. These past six years I've read only a handful of books. Unless you count Pete the Cat. I offer a passionate reading of The Cool Cat Boogie, complete with character voices. I've memorized the majority of our favorites so now it is a practiced recitation.

At the end of the day, after my babies are tucked into bed, I drop into in my comfy library chair with a book in hand....and promptly doze off. One of these days I'm going to finish Meditations without falling asleep.

Blogger Shimshon December 27, 2020 12:03 PM  

The bulk of my book library today is either Castalia or Castalia-adjacent.

Most of the books I had in my youth that I thought were clever or interesting were anything but and I got rid of years ago. My one regret is an early edition of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Not for the book itself, but because it goes for over $500 on Amazon. Who knew?

Blogger Henry December 27, 2020 12:07 PM  

kind of related: The earliest selfie with books I know of was the " the "Great Picture’ commissioned by Lady Anne Clifford around 1646" a huge tryptch (8ft 5" high and 16ft 2" wide). She even had a second one painted.

The books she wanted the world to know she owned included works by Montaigne, Cervantes, Castiglione, Guicciardini, Ovid, Plutarch, Chaucer, Spenser, Fulke Greville, Camden, Joseph Hall, George Sandys, Sir Henry Wotton, John Donne, George Herbert, Ben Jonson, and Samuel Daniel ... but not Shakespeare.

Blogger OMGDwayne December 27, 2020 12:10 PM  

Ha ha. I find it infuriatingly typical that that company's name for it's political book section is the "politically-incorrect" box, when of course all the books mentioned are the most disgustingly politically-correct books imaginable. Leftists think they're so edgy, when they are actually hivemind, would-be tyrants. As has been pointed out, they always lie about every single thing.

Blogger Worstpersonintheworld December 27, 2020 12:12 PM  

We should all outwardly question their narrative. Its been entirely exposed to normal people

Blogger Jack Amok December 27, 2020 12:21 PM  

Now I wonder if he got his yard of books from Wonder Books

Almost certainly - he probably wouldn't even know what books to get on his own. It takes a certain amount of literacy to even know who Marcus Aurelius was, or that Caesar actually wrote. I wonder if Books-a-Foot offers a premium service where someone will open and close each book a few dozen times so it looks like it's actually been read, or haven't they thought of that yet?

Speaking of Wonder, I thought Wonder Books was a defunct publisher's imprint for pre-teen books.

Blogger SecondComingOfBast December 27, 2020 12:27 PM  

I used to know a high school teacher who owned a large bookshelf full of classics she had ordered as a complete set. One of the books was Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I picked it up and opened it, only to see the pages were bound past at least the first two or three words of every line on every page, rendering it practically unreadable and useless.

Utterly pretentious bullshit.

Blogger Chris Ritchie December 27, 2020 12:28 PM  

Figures it'd be something like that. Fake from top to bottom. I have a lot of books. And no, I haven't read them all, like most normal people.

Blogger rcocean December 27, 2020 12:38 PM  

speaking of books, let me thank Vox for publishing a list of Great SF books years ago. I've read several and enjoyed them immensely. I hadn't read them previously due to my preconceptions (now shown to be hilariously wrong about the authors/books). For example, here are some of the books I now love, and what had stopped me from reading them before Vox recommended them:

1) Dune - saw the movie and thought it was a weird crazy story.
2) Starship Troopers - Ditto.
3) Foundation - Considered Asimov a leftwing freak.
4) Martian Chronicles - dated story about little green men.
5)Canticles for St. Leibowitz - who wants to read about Jews in space?

Blogger Nate December 27, 2020 12:38 PM  

yankees will carry around books they've never read just to impress those they imagine will see.

Blogger Boaty Bear December 27, 2020 12:39 PM  

Can we be sure they even print them?
Let alone haul them to a dump!

Sounds inefficient, but it is the left I suppose.

Blogger R Devere December 27, 2020 12:47 PM  

You come into MY "libary", if you see books on shelves, it's because you moved several books or working papers or potato chip bags out of the way! Besides, my favs are the old Walt Kelly "POGO the Possum" comics collection, compleat with Pogo figurines! (Or as my 2-yr.old granddaughter says, "Grampa's toys")

It's not a well-used libary if you can see book titles!

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 27, 2020 12:51 PM  

OMGDwayne wrote:I find it infuriatingly typical that that company's name for it's political book section is the "politically-incorrect" box

Yeah, I did a double take on that. I thought they disavowed that whole concept (I remember my oldest brother sneering at it, many years ago). When did they adopt it? These people...

Blogger Dafo December 27, 2020 12:56 PM  

Liberal books and their non-readers are just not interesting.

Blogger Ozymandius December 27, 2020 1:11 PM  

There is also the unfortunate truth that many best selling books only have become so because they have been anointed by the leftist overlords. These steaming piles of SJW groupthink books become required reading for millions. Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" is such an example. The author has become very wealthy selling her book and building a business where her acolytes go forth and teach Americans that all White people are irredeemably racist. All non-whites are in some way victims of white racism. Going through a "class" as a white person is like living in Kafka's 'The Trial'.

Blogger foxmarks December 27, 2020 1:14 PM  

I've wondered about Vox's collection of wargames. I recognize a handful. Do many get played, or just ASL?

Blogger A Greener Shade of Pale December 27, 2020 1:16 PM  

In these latter days, I have found many books for sale on Craigslist ranging in price from free to $100. Examples include complete pristine sets of Encylopedia Britannica (unfortunately, no 11th edition yet), first editions of sci-fi classics like Dune, very old leather bound large Bibles with four translations side by side, Collier's Junior classics, and many others.

All of these finds were sold by the heirs of the once well read, now dead.

Anonymous Anonymous December 27, 2020 1:24 PM  

@66

"You need to edit this post with a picture of the books."

You need is not the best way to start a sentence around these parts, madam. We're not your sons or husbands that you're used to browbeating and dominating. Just some friendly advice.

Blogger Ken Prescott December 27, 2020 1:26 PM  

My Holy Grail of books is the complete set of Norman Friedman's out-of-print military history works. He shows how tactics, operations, strategy, and technology co-evolved in all of his stuff.

Blogger Jack Amok December 27, 2020 1:48 PM  

yankees will carry around books they've never read just to impress those they imagine will see.

Yankees among others, sure. Was Billy Jeff Clinton a yankee?

Blogger Jack Amok December 27, 2020 1:55 PM  

I've wondered about Vox's collection of wargames. I recognize a handful. Do many get played, or just ASL?

Yeah, my question for Vox wouldn't be "have you read every book" but rather "have you played every Minor nation in ASL?"

Blogger crescent wrench December 27, 2020 1:59 PM  

Ozymandius wrote:There is also the unfortunate truth that many best selling books only have become so because they have been anointed by the leftist overlords.

Everyone with their head not in the sand knows "book deals" are the current means to launder huge bribes and have been since computer automation of banking has made the costs of faking individual purchases trivial. The democratization of the "purchase-botting" technology to individual actors (see: ps5 scalping) is rapidly lifting the veil from this to more and more citizens.

A peek at the "best seller" lists is a public notice of who the latest payoff recipients are, and of course the only way to "prove" it is with a forensic audit nobody will ever do.

Blogger tuberman December 27, 2020 2:22 PM  

@ Unknown

World Book... my parents were poor, but there was a library branch two blocks away with copies of World Book, and I spent lots of time browsing there.

Like most kids, I was into comic books at first, yet my sister owned the first four Tarzan books in the series, and I had enough reading ability to read those at age five and a half. This got me shortly after into all kinds of SciFi and Adventure books even a six plus years old, including E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman Series.

At age seven plus I discovered Classic Comics, and I would read those before tackling stuff like Moby Dick and especially The Three Musketeers.

Dostoevsky, Clemens, Dumas, Stevenson, Melville, Dickens, and more had become part of my hidden world by age nine. I loved those stories, and it had nothing to do with elite highbrow nonsense. I never even talked with most of my fiends about it, just shared with my older sister.

Yet during most of those year, and especially from age seven to twelve, I had a separate life for hanging out doing sandlot baseball, football, and going on wandering adventures with friends. I seldom mixed the two worlds, except my older sister was a tomboy, and a decent baseball player, so she was invited into a few of our baseball games, but never football.

I can see why more recent people have not liked fiction, as I've had to discover Castalia House lately to find good fiction again. I do like writers such as Larry Correia in spite of some virtue-signaling.

The truth is, I loved the world of reading and am a bit disappointed that I didn't jump into as deep as Vox has done.

Blogger weka December 27, 2020 2:33 PM  

I only have one room as a library... it was the fourth bedroom until the kids left. I need to go through it (again) and get rid of the stuff I won't read and keep what's needed.

1. The Bible.
2. Old Theology and Philosophy.
3. Old poetry (and some modern)
4. Good genre fiction.
5. History before the deconstructivists took over.

If I don't want it in hardback it is gone.

The same applies to media: music and Blurays.

The ephemeral can live on an e reader.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother December 27, 2020 2:36 PM  

Hunting around in old bookstores for unrealized treasures is so much fun.

Blogger RedJack December 27, 2020 2:38 PM  

It is because the roughnecks still know what respect is. My old crew loved that I would talk to them about history and such, without assuming they would not understand or want to. Heck, one old black man loved Roman history so much he and his wife had to gas. They weren't educated, but loved the stories.

Dad taught me to approach people with respect. Few of the roughnecks were ever bothered by me reading in the lunch room. Many of the other managers were

Blogger MichaelJMaier December 27, 2020 3:16 PM  

I have hundreds of books "I'll get around to someday", but I consider that more embarrassing than anything to brag about possessing.

Blogger Reader December 27, 2020 3:28 PM  

The only thing worse than a leftist intellectual is a fake leftist intellectual. Godless, soulless, and brainless.

I would omit the "leftist" in the above sentence but I have known and respect some intellectuals - real intellectuals, like Vox. Too many intellectuals across the ideological spectrum are concerned only with spouting their lofty, precious mental machinations rather than striving for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Their intellect serves their ego and nothing else - nothing good, true, nor beautiful, that is.

The only value of all those books on the shelves of all those fake intellectuals is for fodder. The warmth of a fire is good, true, and beautiful.

Blogger B December 27, 2020 3:56 PM  

Responding to @74 Jack Amok: Wonder Books is in Frederick MD and 2 other locations - one in Hagerstown MD and another in Gaithersburg MD. They also sell online:
https://www.wonderbk.com

Wonder Books is a well-known used bookstore in the Washington DC area that also sells first editions. It's been around a long time. I don't know if it has had any affiliation with a defunct publisher.

What is nice is that after our local library's book sale (held twice a year in non-COVID times to raise money to benefit the public library) leftovers go to Wonder Books for recycling or repurposing, and may even find their way to Wonder Books' "Books by the foot" service.

Blogger MidnightSun December 27, 2020 4:20 PM  

Both parent were avid crossword puzzle enthusiasts. Early on they instilled in me a literal love for words that continues to this day. Hence my library consists of history, biography, historic fiction and religious tomes as well as The Classics, Castalia Library and the soon to be delivered Children's Classics! Thanks Vox Day for sharing your love of books with us as well as this most pleasurable post.

Blogger Unknown December 27, 2020 4:22 PM  

RedJack wrote:It is because the roughnecks still know what respect is. My old crew loved that I would talk to them about history and such, without assuming they would not understand or want to. Heck, one old black man loved Roman history so much he and his wife had to gas. They weren't educated, but loved the stories.

Dad taught me to approach people with respect. Few of the roughnecks were ever bothered by me reading in the lunch room. Many of the other managers were


I was an enlisted army guy in Germany, my first trip to Rome I was on a Carlson trip that also stopped in Venice. Mostly older blacks from the states who had joined in Berlin, a few days prior, and were doing more than the segment I was on.

Venice was okay, we get to Rome, see a lot of sights. That first night in Rome after dinner the bus is going to a disco. I explain I will be seeing the monuments by night and I will catch up with everyone in the morning. I also mention my first stop is a few blocks away.

I start walking, and hear a call to slow down. As half the tour group is following.

It was a great night. Weather, and sights.

Blogger weka December 27, 2020 5:01 PM  

I is a wucking academic physician who has to, for my multiple and grevious sins, interact with the press. I rescued old phenomenology books from the dumpster which, like my copies of R manuals, are tools for reference.

They take up a wall in my office. Has never been used in an interview, and I've down enough sadly to have a decent sampling frame.

In the Antipodes no one wears white coats. Infection risk. Ditto ties. And most of the time I use my first name.

In the UK the rule is "bare to the elbows". Again, infection risk.

These people ain't sewing real medicos work. They are using Camel cigarette tropes form the 1950s

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 5:50 PM  

Weka, you use R? Is that common outside the stats departments in NZ? Or are you primarily a statistician?

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella December 27, 2020 6:17 PM  

You know you are boasting of tremendous luxuries, these walls of good books? I envy you your childhoods set free in full libraries.

Blogger Meng Greenleaf December 27, 2020 6:32 PM  

When I was a kid I'd spend about 10 - 20% of summer vacation at the nearby public library - I never bought books, just rented them. As I got older I inadvertently ended up with a bookshelf of sci-fi books. I think the first book store I saw was in a mall. Wow, an entire sci-fi section :)

That went up in smoke when our first house burned due to a woodstove incident. I moved overseas but still ended up with boxes of books. I was really into novelized history for awhile (in Australia I read Colleen McCullough, in Japan I read Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa, I suppose Haunted by Palahniuk could be modern US history ':)

With the stress of work, and the hours I stuffed into it, I shifted from books to technical magazines. Then the internet started taking off. One of the things I loved about it was all the freely available reading to be had: blogs, PDFs, websites, etc.... Especially in Japan, but also elsewhere.

But, somehow it became more difficult to concentrate on a narrative. Have you ever noticed that? I can read technical journals, texts, and listen to lectures on topics, but find it hard to be absorbed into the narrative of a book.

Blogger Avalanche December 27, 2020 6:40 PM  

@53 "and bought six Ikea bookcases. Tall ones. All full."

One blessing of the 'pocket-book' sized paperbacks is that you can rack them two-deep on the shelves... And then stack more horizontally on top of those. But they're mostly fiction, and I no longer find much time for fiction, except Castalia ebooks, thank you Vox.

When you get to trade-sized paper-bopund, they're just a bit too deep for double-racking unless you've got a really deep bookcase. {sigh} And then the cardboard boxes of books, standing in front of the bookcases, which can actually go two or three boxes tall. Agonizing to get rid of books though.

It's either the Four-Hour Work Week guy or maybe it's Ramit Sethi, the "I will Teach You to Be Rich" guy (who's actually not hokey, and gives very good money-mgmt advice!) who says; when you see a book that interests you -- just buy it! Don't think that you'll think about it and maybe buy it later. Spend the money, because even if you only get one good piece of advice or info from the part(s) of it you read; it's worth the small change the book will actually cost. Dangerous, but good advice.

Blogger xavier December 27, 2020 7:14 PM  

The bookshelf by the foot also explains the credentialism.

Look at my humgnous bookshelf and diploma on the wall. Respect me and call me Doctor, pleb!

Blogger weka December 27, 2020 8:06 PM  

Used R for year by preference. Have used Stata. Not a mathematician, but have postgraduate qualifications in epidemiology as well as my clinical field.

I did graduate from where R was created, which helps.

The new meta analysis E book from Cipriani's group is superb and it means I don't have to deal with Revman or Cochrane. Was warned off by Cipriani himself and then found he was correct.

Blogger Joe Smith December 27, 2020 8:21 PM  

Well, on the plus side, at least no one's actually reading the garbage Hilary Clinton, Bill Maher, Al Franken, and Bob Woodward put out.

Blogger Ozymandius December 27, 2020 9:17 PM  

I know I was stating the obvious to the VD readers and commenters. I teach at an "elite" private elementary school in southern California and am in a constant state of shock and horror at the mind-numbing books that have become required reading for both students and teachers. These books are nothing more than indoctrination manuals focusing on some level of so called social justice or critical race theory. Aside from the toxic agendas throughout the books, one is amazed at how completely stupid and intellectually incurious the readers (and authors) must be. The zombie horde just gobbles it up and then joins the mob of the righteous. It is mindless religious zealotry where any room temperature IQ reader is encouraged to become a preacher and judge. Those who question the validity of the books are are labeled, and at worst, cancelled.

Blogger nswhorse December 27, 2020 9:27 PM  

And of course they project by calling their enemies uninformed, uneducated, anti-intellectual etc.

Blogger Ozymandius December 27, 2020 10:17 PM  

Wait just a minute! Are y'all saying that Obama's latest book didn't really average 28,141 five star reviews on Amazon?!!!

Blogger Akulkis December 27, 2020 10:32 PM  

>> At one job I had a rather in depth technical reference library. Top manager came in and said "Red, all those books are intimidating to people. Please remove them and use only Google".

I would have replied with this question:

"My professional reference library is intimidating to whom, exactly? And what the hell is their problem with me having the means to look up the right answer? The internet is braid, but very shallow. These books are narrow, but extremely deep. You tell whoever is intimidated by the words and numbers of the countless numbers of researchers who produced the data in these books that if they can't handle seeing my books, then maybe they should find a new line of work. Like daycare assistant, or elementary school lunchroom monitor."

I have zero tolerance for attempts at intimidation, especially from imbeciles.

Blogger OvergrownHobbit December 27, 2020 11:02 PM  

Speaking of book collections for future generations, could Castalia House please bring back Book of Feasts and Seasons in hardcopy?

I gave away my last copy for Christmas*

(*There is a superstition that the only books you'll have in Heaven are the ones you were willing to give away)

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 27, 2020 11:15 PM  

Ken Prescott wrote:My Holy Grail of books is the complete set of Norman Friedman's out-of-print military history works. He shows how tactics, operations, strategy, and technology co-evolved in all of his stuff.
A quick browse shows they are spendy. Which would you recommend, if I'm going to get just one or two?

Blogger crescent wrench December 28, 2020 5:54 AM  

Ozymandius wrote:I know I was stating the obvious to the VD readers and commenters. I teach at an "elite" private elementary school in southern California and am in a constant state of shock and horror at the mind-numbing books that have become required reading for both students and teachers. These books are nothing more than indoctrination manuals focusing on some level of so called social justice or critical race theory. Aside from the toxic agendas throughout the books, one is amazed at how completely stupid and intellectually incurious the readers (and authors) must be. The zombie horde just gobbles it up and then joins the mob of the righteous. It is mindless religious zealotry where any room temperature IQ reader is encouraged to become a preacher and judge. Those who question the validity of the books are are labeled, and at worst, cancelled.

The correct response to this is to leak the materials to places like Campus Reform or Tucker Carlson and watch the fun.

Blogger Ken Prescott December 28, 2020 2:17 PM  

Seaforth Publishing often has their in-print stuff for Kindle heavily discounted. Buy as you are able. They're all outstanding.

Out of print: Seapower and Space (which I grabbed at AFCEA West in 2000) is excellent and a vital reference for understanding modern naval warfare. He did a book on battleships in the 1970s which really laid out the choices designers had to make in terms of allocating weight.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 28, 2020 9:05 PM  

Thanks, Ken.

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