Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Sept. 1–7

Epoch Booklist: Recommended Reading for Sept. 1–7
Dustin Bass
Jeff Minick
Anita L. Sherman
Barbara Danza
This week, we feature an enthralling chronicle of the lesser known part of Benjamin Franklin’s life and a must-read for children, featuring traditional American heroes and stories.


‘Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America's Founding Father’ By George Goodwin

Benjamin Franklin: the British patriot who envisioned a Greater Britain that spanned two continents. Sound like Franklin from an alternate history novel? It is not. This book looks at the British side of Franklin rather than the frontier Franklin of the French embassy during the American Revolution or the grandfatherly elder statesman after the war. This is the sophisticated English gentleman who spent 20 years in London―a fifth of his life. Well-written and entertaining, it’s certainly worth the read.

Yale University Press, 2016, 400 pages


‘Have a Little Faith’ By Mitch Albom

Albom meets two men: An 82-year-old rabbi who asks Albom to deliver his eulogy, and a Detroit pastor who ministers to the poor in a falling-down church and who was once a drug dealer and convict. Though both are in many ways polar opposites, they share a common belief in something good and powerful beyond human understanding. Albom begins by exploring the deep faith of these two men and ends by exploring his own. This small book brings both laughter and tears, but always wisdom gleaned from that most fertile of fields: life.

Hachette Books, 2011, 272 pages


‘The Seamstress of Sardinia’ By Bianca Pitzorn

The setting for this charming novel is the island of Sardinia, the second largest Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. The story, which takes place at the end of the 19th century, follows the life of a young, remarkably talented seamstress. Inheriting an adventurous, independent spirit from her grandmother, the seamstress, through her skills, enters the lives of the wealthy and privileged. There she is an observer of their foibles, frailties, and vanities as well as their generous hearts.

Harper Perennial, 2022, 304 pages


‘Thunderstruck’ By Erik Larson

Larson has a renowned gift for taking two separate yet parallel, historical stories and combining them into a singular narrative. He brings together one of the great inventions in modern science with Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless communication and a most unlikely, and rather sympathetic, murderer, Hawley Crippen. It is a race against time for Marconi’s invention and a race to escape justice for Crippen. Larson seamlessly weaves the two together in a way that is both educational and thrilling.

Crown Publishing, 2007, 480 pages


‘The Canterbury Tales’ By Geoffrey Chaucer

From the High Middle Ages comes stories told by a cross-section of English society―pilgrims traveling to Canterbury. The “Prologue” offers vivid snapshots of the men and women of this era, while the tales they tell to entertain themselves on their trek, some of them satirical, some bawdy, some romantic or heroic, have amused readers for centuries. Here is a mixture of faith and human foibles that keep these characters and their stories alive to this day. A modern English version.

Penguin Classics, 2003, 504 pages

For Kids

‘American Tall Tales’ By Adrien Stoutenburg and Richard M. Powers

Passing down the tradition of American tall tales is part of the fabric of our culture. This collection includes beloved stories such as those of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Stormalong, Mike Fink, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and Joe Magarac. Enjoy at bedtime, or incorporate these bits of folklore into your upcoming homeschool lessons.

Puffin Books, 1976, 112 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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