A Holiday Book List

By Mark Roosevelt, President

Mark RooseveltA Holiday Book List

You’ve likely figured out by now that I am obsessive about books and reading, and one of the greatest pleasures is getting more extended time for reading during the holidays.

I am lucky enough to be enjoying a beach vacation with my family this holiday season, where I will be spending my time sitting on the beach under an umbrella, reading in between dips in the ocean.

Friends have recommended many books to me throughout the year and I just haven’t been able to get to them.

Here are the books that have risen to the top of my “to read” stack this holiday:

Dear Life: Stories
by Alice Munro

A new book of short stories by Alice Munro, an author who weaves “ordinary” lives into extraordinary tales.

The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved
by Jonathan Fenby

I’ve never read anything about de Gaulle, but this biography is said to be a compelling narrative of the founder of the French Fifth Republic, General Charles de Gaulle, who saw himself as “carrying France on [his] shoulders.” It has been waiting on my bookshelf for months now. 

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them
By Donovan Hohn

The title might be long, but this tale about a ship that sinks and leaves 28,000 rubber ducks in its wake, just sounded too intriguing to pass up.

American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation
By Eric Rutkow

Do historians take trees for granted? This book says yes and explains the relationship between Americans and their trees throughout our history.

Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace
By D. C. B. Lieven

In the weeks prior to New Yorker editor William Maxwell’s death in July 2000, he lost his ability to read. He asked friends and family members to sit by his bedside and read War and Peace to him out loud. Thinking about this recently has gotten me motivated to read War and Peace again for myself, but first I wanted more context.

Russia Against Napoleon author D. C. B. Lieven has taken advantage of never-before-seen documents from the Russian archives and upends much of the conventional wisdom about the events that formed the backdrop of War and Peace. The book itself will be fun, but it will also make subsequent re-reading of War and Peace that much richer.

Thank you for following “Roosevelt’s Reads” this year. Maybe next month I’ll report on one or more of these books if they’re as good as I hope them to be.

Happy New Year to all Antioch College students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.