the Long of it ........

unintended consequences and other musings


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Here is my bookshelf of Books that I have read, including the bad ones!  I feel obligated to read to the end to give the author a fair chance.  Sometimes He/She does not deserve it but I give them the opportunity to turn the book around anyway. 

A scribble mark indicates that I recommend it. 

Clicking on the link will take you to the Amazon entry for that book. 

My Booklist is sorted by Author as I believe it is the best way to organize your library – it teaches discipline to remember the name.  Once you like or dislike an author, a decision on reading more of their books is made easier.  And… authors come with a bias and usually do it consistently – once surprised, twice is in-excusable.  I read everything……except romance and science fiction.

Page Contents


℘ Nothing Like it in the World, Stephen Ambrose

The Lost Explorer, Conrad Anker

℘ World Food Japan by (Lonely Planet World Food Guides) by John Ashburne, Yoshi Abe
Spending anytime in Japan requires some assistance on the various culinary delight’s of this wonderful country – the best part about Japan in my mind – and travel guides cannot do justice with this country because of the many different foods/drinks.  I took this guide with me often to study the various foods/drinks.  Also contains some useful phrases to use in restaurants.


Habits of Highly Effective Churches: George Barna
An overview of what consistently was found at effective (ministry) churches.

The Last River, Todd Balf

℘ At Home, Bill Bryson

Bill looks at history by going through every room of his house, a former Church of England Rectory.   Bill will make history fun for those that normally don’t enjoy it. A great book with lots of very interesting information.

Eyewitness Travel Guide to Japan by John Benson, DK Travel Writers
The DK Guides are great travel helps with the best pictures and local maps to get you around.  Not the best if you are traveling on a budget (suggest Lonely Planet Guides).

℘ Poor Economics, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo



℘ The Voyage: Philip Caputo

A novel of a father who sends his 3 sons out alone on a summer long sailing trip. They are forbidden to return till the summer ends; they struggle with this and the adventures at sea.

℘ How Now Shall We LiveCharles Colson

Chuck says this is his ‘legacy book’ and his most important work. He builds the entire book around understanding the Christian faith as an entire Worldview. He complements this by exposing the competing worldviews (i.e.; Evolution). I have used this material to write two letters to the editor already! I am determined to expose competing worldviews for what they are.

℘ Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America’s Illegal AliensTed Conover

I bought this book in an effort to learn more about the Hispanic in my community. With 8 million illegal immigrants in the US, this book is a must read for anyone wanting to truly study these people and their culture and motivation in coming to el Norte. There are numerous parts of the book that dramatically questions your views on immigration. The fact that many of them only come up north for a few months each year was one of them; many of us believe that the majority of the illegals move here permanently. These are a hard working people who take our worst jobs, do it very well and have to hide in hidden trailers in the middle of an orchard with none of the support structures that we take for granted. While his stories are exciting, watch carefully for his description of the difference between the ‘gringos’ and the ‘chickens’; they reveal a lot about both cultures. I will never drive by a fruit orchard on the Western Slope again without wondering about the city of illegal’s hidden amongst the trees doing the same thing I am; trying to make a good living for my family. Finally, it is a great source for lot’s of Mexican slang – just be careful where and how you use it! Great Read – this one stays on my bookshelf while others go to the used bookstore.
A great Quote from the foreword: “….the terms of the debate have tended to dehumanize the Mexicans, turning them from people into “illegal aliens”. But because we as Americans control their destiny in so many ways, it is urgent that we know more about these people who ask little more than to wash our dishes, vacuum our cars and pick our fruit”.


The Genesis of Justice, Alan Dershowitz

℘ The Deadline, Tom Demarco

℘ The Orvis Guide to Gunfitting , Deck




 ℘ Council of Dad’s, Bruce Feiler

℘ Colorado, 1870-2000: John Fielder

A Historical Landscape photographic book that compares pictures taken a minimum of 100 years ago to the current view taken from what is believed to be the same spot.  Note the difference in the number of trees. Regardless of what the environmentalists tell you about people destroying all the trees – the increase in the number of trees over 100 years is remarkable on almost every photo.


℘ The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur S. Golden
This is a must read if you plan on visiting Kyoto (should be top on your list of places to visit in Japan).  It is the story of a young girl with stunning gray eyes who is sold into a house where Geisha girls are ‘developed’.  It is written in such a style and insight that many are real surprised that it was written by an American man. It was great going down the side alleys of Kyoto (the Gion or teahouse district) and imagining what the interior’s of the exclusive tearooms must be like hidden behind a non-descript old building.  I would love to get invited to one … what an experience that would be!


HannibalThomas Harris

A continuation of the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ story. Unfortunately, Hannibal Lector is still on the loose and his admiration for FBI agent Clarice Starling makes for an interesting ending. But….where does Hannibal get all his money to live the way he lives?

℘ The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes

Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, Giles Hamilton

Plainsong, Kent Haruf




℘ The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Philip Jenkins

℘ The Perfect StormSebastion Junger

A novel based on a true story that no one will ever know. A great story of a group of fisherman caught in the storm of a century – makes you think twice about taking risks for just a few more fish!



℘ A River Town, Thomas Keneally

One Door Away From HeavenDean Koontz

Another book about serial killers from this popular author.  This book has about six different groups of characters who are of course headed for a collision course with the serial killer – the book jumps from each one of these characters with seemingly no connection till you reach the middle of the book (if you make it that far!).  I almost gave up during this first section of character building but hung in till the predictable ending.  The book does deal with the ethics of ridding the world of undesirables who will pollute the world and add no value – killer’s view, obviously.  It does seem odd that the serial killer travels the US in a camper with a drug addicted lady who seemingly fit the killer’s stereotype of an undesirable except she’s spared. You will learn later that even this does have a purpose for the killer – produce more undesirables for the killer!.  As usual, it is the killer who set’s the moral baseline of who is a desirable and not God (not a good choice for this book since He loves everyone equally).  Definitely not recommended….

℘ Talking About Japan by Kodansha International Ltd

A bilingual book (Japanese and English) that answers hundreds of interesting questions about Japan – a quick read and sorted by categories so it would make a good reference book.  What is the average size of Japanese Homes? (1356sq.Ft. or 126 sq. m).  How much does it cost to rent an apartment in a convenient location in Tokyo? (Studio or one-bedroom rents for 60,000Yen or $509US per month.   I believe that you can order the book from (which I believe ships internationally from Japan). Go to and click on “Display in English” in the upper right-hand corner. Then click on “Add to Shopping Cart,” and you should be able to then order the book using an English order form.   This was a prized gift from a friend of mine; Sato-san (Noburo). 


℘ Things That Matter, Charles Krauthammer 


The Indwelling: LaHaye and Jenkins
The 7th on the Left Behind series – takes you up to the end of the first 31/2 years of the Tribulation This was an exciting book – read in one day! If you are unclear how the Antichrist can come to power, read this.

℘ Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage: Alfred Lansing
The true story of Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage in crossing the Antarctic in 1914. If you liked “The Perfect Storm”, which I did, you will love this story.

℘ He Chose the Nails: Max Lucado




℘ John AdamsDavid McCullough

Japan: A Modern HistoryJames L. McClain

The only readable book on Japanese History that has a significant part dedicated to modern Japan – must read for doing business in Japan.  A gift from my brother-in-law, James – beats the purple socks he used to get me for Christmas!

℘ Scarcity, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafer 



℘ The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud, Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr.

Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of LifeDr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr.



℘ Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly




℘ Civilian Warriers , Erik Prince





Financial Peace Revisited: Dave Ramsey
A popular talk show host of “The Dave Ramsey Show” has republished an earlier book he wrote in 1995.  This book is one of the simplest around in showing someone how to get out of debt, invest and buy wisely which results in ‘Financial Peace’.  He has a list of ‘Peace Puppies’ that guide you toward financial peace that includes a practical guideline in handling your creditors while paying off debt.  This book is a quick read and is ordered in the steps one must take to order their financial world.  It addresses head-on the consumer mentality that is gripping people and leaving them constantly in a financial crisis –  unfortunately, most people will not be able to master the discipline to actually implement the steps laid out in this book.  I was disappointed in his reference notes – most seemed to be dated and when I checked them in the bibliographic section discovered that most were 1995 or older (the printing of his first book) – someone was too lazy or hurried to simply update the notes with more current data.  This results in over optimistic savings rate (6%) and mutual fund returns – which of course would undermine some of his examples.  That said,  the nations divorce rate would significantly be reduced if couples would take this book to heart and practice its principles.

Israel History Maps: Ilan and Amir Reiner

A very unique view of Israel’s history using over 50 maps in chronological order and all to the same scale.


℘ The Stamp of Glory: Author: Tim Stafford
A novel but built around actual history of the anti-slavery movement leading up to the Civil War. It is an interesting study of the Christians and the various methods they tried to end slavery – in the end the Christians won? by getting Lincoln to agree with the antislavery platform and got him elected.

℘ Coolidge, Amity Shales

Perhaps the deepest reason for Coolidge’s recent obscurity is that the thirtieth president spoke a different economic language from ours. He did not say money supply, he said credit. He did not say the federal government, he said the national government. He did not say private sector, he said commerce. He did not say savings, he said thrift or economy.
He gave me hope when he also responded to a joke about who was living in the White House, No one, he replied, they just come and go.




℘ Tokyo Rail & Road Atlas by Atsushi Umeda

This is a must to assist in traveling around the greater Tokyo area on trains and subways.  It includes both Kanji and English titles which really helps when you need assistance from a Japanese with limited English skills.  Unfortunately, many booksellers still are carrying the older book(1993); I ran into some station name changes on the tiny Tamagawa line (only five stops).  Seems like the locals didn’t like a name that said ‘in front of a cemetery’.  This is worth it for the train maps alone – I have researched everywhere for another train map and have not found a better one – be sure and get the book published in 2002.



℘ One Good Dog: Susan Wilson

A very good book that sees a dog and a man both seek redemption in a new life that neither chose.  The interesting thing is that the story of the dog is told by the dog – makes for much more interesting reading as you see how the same scene is viewed from two different views.

Quote from the dog”  “I don’t know what color I am; it’s an unimportant characteristic among my kind.  What is important  is that my anal glands describe my authority, my education, and my living arrangements to any who encounter me – where I’ve been and where I’m going.”

℘ A River Running West: Donald Worster

The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?: Rick Warren

The Polar Express, The Movie,The Magic Journey, Tracey West

A storybook which is the story The Polar Express movie is based on.  Note this is not the original story written by Chris Van Allsburg.  Great book with very nice artwork (if a bit dark) that captured my Grandchildren’s attention as I read to them.

℘ Half Broke Horses: Jeannette Walls

Devoured the book ‘Half Broke Horses‘, (Simon and Schuster) in one day.  Incredible story of a Woman that let nothing get in her way in the early west.  She traveled by horseback 500 miles to her first teaching job  – and slept on the the floor of the school at night.  Should be required reading for all young girls.
One of the few books I have read recently that has these little sentences that cause you pause when you finish them.  For example, a flood destroyed their dugout house on the prairie – it also washed away the foundation of a nearby house, after which the owner gave up and returned back east.  They quickly carted away all of the timber from the house and built them a new house to replace the washed out dugout one.  After finishing it, her Mom asked the question, “Now, wasn’t that God’s will?”.   The next sentence said what I have always felt but can’t say in church; “I didn’t have an answer.  Mom could say that in hindsight, but it seemed to me that when you were in the middle of something, it was awful hard to figure out what part of it was God’s will and what wasn’t.”   I also enjoyed her housekeeping on the ranch;  fixed steak and beans every night, never washed the work Levi’s (wore them out) and cleaned house once a quarter.   Negatives?  15$ Paperbook!


Have I ever run across an author’s name starting with X?


℘ On Parole: Author: Akira Yoshimura
Famous Japanese author writes about a prisoner who is released from prison after 16 years. It is interesting as Kikituni tries to find freedom in everyday life (in Japan). A dark story but maybe you will have compassion for any released prisoner after reading this. The surprise ending may end that though!


Have I ever run across an author’s name starting with Z?



to file……

Devils Night – and other true tales from Detroit’

Just finished reading ‘Devils Night – and other true tales from Detroit’ – amazing book on the issues of Detroit told from a number of stories – written in early 90’s. Clearly the most liberal city in the US as far as percent voting democratic. If you don’t understand why the country re-elects liberals in light of their performance, review Detroit with Mayor Coleman Young’s five terms. Detroit was turned into a Third World city and they kept singing gospel songs. My hometown in Michigan, Benton Harbor, is a smaller mirror of Detroit – both are under state emergency management btw.


“The Shack”.




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