Your Literary Christmas List


The Claremont Review of Books is out with its wonderful list of recommended books for the Christmas season. Among the contributors are leading conservative thinkers such as Hadley Arkes, Larry Arnn, Mark Blitz, Denis Boyles, Michael Burlingame, Christopher Caldwell, Matthew Continetti, John DiIulio, Edward Feser, Matthew Franck, Alonzo Hamby, Steven Hayward, John Kienker, Thomas Klingenstein, Carnes Lord, Daniel Mahoney, Harvey Mansfield, Wilfred McClay, Michael Nelson, Jack Pitney, Robert Reilly, Bruce Sanborn, James Stoner, Michael Uhlmann, Algis Valiunas, Ryan Williams, and Jean Yarbrough.

I always find new books to read, or to give, on the list every year. But what makes the list so much fun is not just the unusual choices of some of the authors, but also their one paragraph or even one sentence explanation of why they like the book.

I snuck on to the list with two choices for the reader on your Christmas list:

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro


Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

What books are on Ricochet members’ lists this year?

There are 16 comments.

  1. Member

    Well those two now.

    It took a year of lobbying to get my men’s book club to take up Popular Crime by Bill James and Coming Apart by Charles Murray which we will discuss in March and May of this year. 

    • #1
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:18 am
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  2. Inactive

    Everyone I know is getting Mack 1 Red vs Blue. It’s a fast-moving mystery-thriller with humor and a conservative take on the issue at hand (media bias.)

    I’d recommend it even if I hadn’t written it.

    • #2
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:19 am
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  3. Inactive

    My sister’s boyfriend is receiving “How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice” by Kay and Altier from me. I ordered it on a whim, it’s caustic and hilarious,,,and it has drink recipes. Who could ask for anything more?

    I will not present it to him when my mother is around…because she’s almost 80 and would see this as a massive parenting failure. 

    Now, that I’ve lowered the bar, I look forward far more respectable choices.

    • #3
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:34 am
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  4. Inactive

    I’m a subscriber to The Claremont Review of Books. I think it’s some of the best writing available in the US.

    I’m reading a lot of fiction:

    The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. Just for me!

    Hav by Jan Morris. It’s in the queue.

    Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women by Anne Moir and David Jessel. Reading it with my wife to help raise our two seven month old boys.

    The Other Side by Alfred Kubin. Wow!

    Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle. Reading it with my two daughters.

    • #4
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:49 am
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  5. Contributor

    Book of the year…that’s not something I’ve done, but if asked, here you go:

    Runners up (in no particular order):

    Happy holiday reading!

    All of my book reviews since 2001 are linked here. I originally started this as simply a list of books read. It has since morphed into New Yorker length disquisitions upon topics raised in each book.

    • #5
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:49 am
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  6. Inactive
    After Tocqueville: The Promise and Failure of Democracy by Chilton Williamson (Hardcover) 
    I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles R. Kesler (Hardcover)
    History of Christianity by Paul Johnson (Hardcover) Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans by Mitchell Elias Daniels (Hardcover)
    • #6
    • December 19, 2012 at 5:49 am
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  7. Inactive

    This one sounds fascinating to me:

     Events, Dear Boy, Events: A Political Diary of Britain from Woolf to Campbell

    It’s a history of Britain from the end of WWII to the election of Cameron. The catch is that it is totally comprised of diaries, letters, etc. from the time of the action as it occurred, so what we are getting is a picture of what the contemporaries thought without the benefit of hindsight. I have dropped several hints so hopefully…

    The one I am giving is Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. It’s the memoir of Rosaria Butterfield. She was a tenured professor at Syracuse in women’s studies, a radical feminist and a lesbian. She was radically converted to Christianity and is now the wife of a pastor who ministers in one of the most conservative Presbyterian denominations in the country, singing only Psalms, no instruments, etc. I actually think Mollie would love it if she hasn’t read it already.

    • #7
    • December 19, 2012 at 6:27 am
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  8. Member

    Some books I’ve read and reviewed over the last year, and that I recommend, are:

    Stasiland, by Anna Funder…interviews with people who suffered under the East German Communist regime, and with perpetrators of that suffering. Very well done.

    Little Man, What Now? Hans Fallada’s classic novel set in the Weimar Republic.

    The Post-Office Girl, by Stefan Zweig. A novel set in Austria shortly after the end of the First World War.

    A Fiery Peace in a Cold War, by Neal Sheehan. Biography of General Bernard Schriever, architect of the USAF ballistic missile program.

    • #8
    • December 19, 2012 at 6:27 am
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  9. Inactive

    The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek. Listening to Audio version via Audible.

    The Book of Virutes, by Bill Bennett. I plan on reading this with my kids after sledding during christmas vacation.

    Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. I am a recent convert from agnosticism to Christianity and find C.S. Lewis wonderful.

    The Alpha Course Manual, by Nicky Gumbel. Simple yet moving justification for ordinary people to become Christians.

    • #9
    • December 19, 2012 at 7:21 am
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  10. Inactive

    Bad Religion  by Ross Douthat.

    What is Marriage by Robert P George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Gergis.

    A History of Philosophy (V. I, II, and III) by Frederick Coplestone, SJ.

    Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI

    • #10
    • December 19, 2012 at 7:28 am
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  11. Member

    I’m probably giving my home-schooling sis a book by Thomas Sowell, most likely ‘Basic Economics.’

    • #11
    • December 19, 2012 at 7:39 am
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  12. Member

    (Double post)

    • #12
    • December 19, 2012 at 8:28 am
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  13. Member
    • #13
    • December 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm
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  14. Contributor

    One book I’d love to receive this year: Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis.

    Books that I recommend people get for Christmas include anything and everything by my favorite novelist, Milan Kundera. I read my first Kundera novel (Immortality) on recommendation by a Ricochet Member in the comments section of a conversation about literature, and after I finished it, I had an insatiable thirst for more Kundera. In the past few months I’ve read The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Life is Elsewhere. Amazing literature.

    • #14
    • December 20, 2012 at 3:44 am
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  15. Inactive

    [ Apologies in advance if this post’s formatting is screwy, I’m using my iPad]. Right now I’m reading two excellent and eminently recommendable books: ‘ Savage Continent, Europe in the Aftermath of WWII ‘ by Keith Lowe, and ‘Iron Curtain ‘ by Anne Applebaum. I got put on to the topic while reading Volume III of the ‘ Last Lion ‘ books which treats in some detail the abandonment and betrayal of the Poles by the Western Allies. Also they make startlingly clear the extent of the chaos and horror which everyone ( everyone ! ) in Europe experienced and which Americans probably will never be able to appreciate.

    • #15
    • December 20, 2012 at 4:26 am
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  16. Inactive

    The Modern Age, by Rev. James Schall

    Bad Religion, Douthat

    • #16
    • December 20, 2012 at 8:28 am
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