Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Aug. 25–31

Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Aug. 25–31
Dustin Bass
Jeff Minick
Barbara Danza
Anita L. Sherman
This week, we feature a history of Texas and whiskey, a field guide to North American birds, and journalist’s quest to document the life of a nomadic canoer.


‘Riverman: An American Odyssey’ By Ben McGrath

A chance encounter between a curious reporter and an itinerant river wanderer sets the stage for this enthralling read. Dick Conant has been calling the rivers of America home for decades. Is he homeless and living out of a boat? Or is he something more―perhaps a vestige of a fading America when heroes braved new worlds following the path of the wild. When Conant disappears and his canoe is found abandoned, the author begins his own journey to give voice to this exceptional man and his quest.

Knopf, 2022, 272 pages


‘The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey’ By Serena Burdick

Abigail Phillips leaves her grandparents’ home in California and travels to England in search of the father she never knew. There, she falls headlong into a family mystery involving Victorian writers, deception, scandal, and murder. The journal of Abigail’s distant ancestor, Evelyn, records the details of her awful marriage and her plans for escape. Interesting characters, historical realism, the twisting plot, and the interplay and contrast between past and present make for an enchanting read.

Park Row, 2022, 352 pages


‘Fires, Floods, Explosions, and Bloodshed’ By Andrew Braunberg

Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, didn't get his Cherokee name of "Big Drunk" drinking Chablis. Braunberg draws us back to the beginnings of Texas and whiskey, and moves the story from there. Brandy came first, followed by rum, and then whiskey. This entertaining and informative book shows an underappreciated part of Texas history and takes readers into distilling’s mysteries, including changes developed over the 19th century. Perfect for Texas and whiskey enthusiasts.

State House Press, 2023, 202 pages


‘Field Guide to the Birds of North America’ By Jonathan Alderfer

Interested in ornithology? Or perhaps just want to know the species of bird flying into the birdhouse? National Geographic’s field guide is an expansive and intricately organized work on the more than 1,000 species of birds soaring around North America. From finches to flycatchers to sandpipers to sparrows, each bird is displayed with a detailed drawing, showcasing their often-subtle differences. This seventh updated edition includes new illustrations; maps, and hundreds of map revisions.

National Geographic, 2017, 592 pages


‘Oedipus at Colonus’ By Sophocles

This second play of the Theban Trilogy gives us the blinded and cursed Oedipus banished from Thebes for the discord his presence has brought to the city. After years of exile, he finds refuge in Colonus, near Athens, where he receives the protection of the ruler, Theseus. In addition to its meditations on power, family, and fate, this presumed last play by the elderly Sophocles pays tribute to his birthplace of Colonus, to Athens, and to old age itself by its tender regard for the aged Oedipus.

Dover Publications, 1999, 64 pages

For Kids

‘Shakespeare's Stories’ By Samantha Newman and Khoa Le (illustrator)

Before your kids dive into Shakespeare at school, an illustrated adaptation of his works is a fun way to introduce the bard to them. Newman’s collection includes “Antony and Cleopatra,” “As You Like It,” “Hamlet,” “King Lear,” “Macbeth,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Othello,” “The Tempest,” and more.

‎Arcturus, 2021, 128 pages
Dustin Bass is an author and co-host of The Sons of History podcast. He also writes two weekly series for The Epoch Times: Profiles in History and This Week in History.
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