I’m looking around my library with some despondency. Oh, the new coat of paint on the sheet rock – a light silver-ish blue – looks great. And the placeholders are doing the job. One folding table serves as Lois’ return. The other is the spare workstation and holds a computer and television turned to the news. Lois and I sit across from each other, a 3/4” piece of plywood serving as our partners desk. On her side I was able to install a keyboard tray using scrap lumber and a pair of inexpensive drawer slides. A pair of unfinished pinewood file cabinets on one side supports the desk on one side, and a set of braced 2x3s holds up the other end. We expect the maple wood tops in about two weeks. It’s a shared vision between spouses. It’s pleasant. Yet, I look around the room and sigh. No books. A library should have books. But a library needs shelves to have books, and the oak shelves are coming after the desktops.
Here are three selections from the shelves the bins in the basement:
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Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein, 1959.
A society that cannot find enough volunteers to defend it isn’t worthy of survival. Centuries in the future, the human race is unified and has reached the stars, only to find them teeming with implacable enemies. Johnny Rico, a Filipino high school graduate takes us through his journey in the first person. The reader gets a front-row seat as Rico goes through basic training, tastes combat, and is selected for Officer Candidate School. Rico, learns how a civilization is sustained, and gains a measure of self-respect commensurate with his achievements.
Under The Eagle, Simmon Scarrow, 2002.
Duty and Honor, to one’s comrades, and even to an imperfect nation. Young Cato arrives in camp with a letter from the Roman Emperor Claudius, and the ability to read and write. This earns him an appointment to Optio (company executive officer). The reader is taken from the heart of Germany to the shores of Britain as Cato finds his place among the legions, fighting the enemies of Rome, both within and without.
The Hunt For Red October, Tom Clancy, 1984.
This was Tom Clancy’s debut novel with which he invented the techno-thriller genre. Due to the novel’s accuracy and detail, Clancy was debriefed at the Whitehouse and needed to prove that all his research sources were unclassified. Naval Captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius and his officers attempt to defect to the United States with the Soviet Union’s most advanced submarine. The insight into submarine tactics and operational art as well as the complex relationships among naval crews made this one of the defining novels of the Cold War.
That’s three. In the coming weeks I’ll expand on the genres. If you ever pick up one of these please let me know. I would enjoy getting your insights.