My “To Be Read” List: November 2019

In the course of corresponding with my “Internet Friend” Ben Mcevoy, who writes an excellent blog at which almost anyone can find something of interest, I wrote up a quick overview of some of the titles from my “TBR list.” I decided to share it here with you as well.

Starting out with a couple of marketing & advertising classics…

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
I’ve wanted to read this short volume for a while now. A friend of mine pointed out that everyone who tells us to read this book makes a whole lot more money than he and I do, so there must be something to it. I’m actually scheduled to start reading this today (in that I just finished another book last night).

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
This is perhaps “the” classic book on marketing and persuasion, written in 1966 and just as relevant today. Legend has it that in its heyday, it was the most stolen book from the New York City public library system. This book is sold online by a man with a special agreement with Schwartz’s family and it’s not cheap; used copies are available on Amazon at unconscionable prices.

I’ll read two biographies soon…

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw
This was recommend to me by a business contact who is a fan of Carnegie. I’ll be switching back and forth between the Kindle and Audible editions. I’ve found that audio is very good for consuming biographies. I’ve got a marketing book to finish, and I want to get through Scientific Advertising as well, and then I’m going to start this one. I’m really enjoying the anticipation!

Edison by Edmund Morris
I find Edison to be a rather interesting character. I’m excited to get to know him better. Morris died between the time when he finished the book and its pub date. The early reviews are pretty good, so it seems like he went out on a high note.

(The other two longer biographies on my list are eerily the same — a businessman and a pair of inventors: Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow and The Wright Brothers by David McCullough)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to respect history much more than I did in my younger days, so…

The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 2: Fredericksburg to Meridian by Shelby Foote
This is the second book in a three volume narrative of the American Civil War. I finished the first book earlier this year and I’m looking forward to getting back to the topic after a short break to read unrelated things.

Shelby Foote came to prominence as one of the experts featured in a Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War back in the 80’s. The series reads like a novel, and Foote writes as he speaks — his style is that of a courtly Southern gentleman sitting in his parlor, telling you a story. I’ll get to this one in the spring, hopefully, and then finish the series in 2021.

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson
This is part history and part real-life adventure: two men search the Caribbean sea for the remains of infamous pirate Richard Bannister’s ship, the Golden Fleece. My wife and I will be on vacation in that part of the world in January, so I may try to read it as we sail through the area.

In the fiction department…

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
One of the most celebrated novels in 20th century American literature. This book defines pulp fiction in many people’s eyes, and I was fortunate to receive a lovely annotated edition as a gift. I’m a fan of the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same title, but I’m told that it bears only passing resemblance to the novel. A similar hard-boiled detective story I want to read is “The Deep Blue Good-by” by John D. MacDonald.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
I read Larson’s “Devil in the White City” last year. Although the book seemed to go on forever, it was entirely engrossing. I’m looking forward to this WWI thriller about the sinking of the Lusitania. There’s not much that’s cooler than “submarine fiction” for me, either on the printed page or at the movies.

Speaking of book lists, etc., I’ve always wanted to do something like what Derek Sivers has done here:

Maybe this coming year will be the time I get to that. Until then, I guess there’s always Goodreads, but I don’t put any effort into it.