In the library at the Monastery of San Pedro in Barcelona, Spain, a sign from centuries ago warns those who visit:
For him that stealeth a book from this library,
Let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members be blasted.
Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy,
And let there be no surcease to his agony till he sinks to dissolution.
Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not.
And at last, when he goeth to his final punishment,
Let the flames of Hell consume him forever and aye.
Books are for reading, not stealing. At the very least, don’t ever steal one from the San Pedro Monastery.
From time to time, I like to recommend some good books in this weekly column. Here’s my latest for your summer reading:
The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, School or Play by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas—Forty years later, the college students I taught from 1977 to 1984 still wonder how I was able to remember their names by the hundreds. This book will tell you how.
To Stand With the Nations of the World: Japan’s Meiji Restoration in World History by Mark Ravina—One of the most readable accounts of a seminal moment in the history of Japan, the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the restoration of the country’s monarchy in 1868.
Life and Resources in America by Mori Arinori, Introduction by John E. Van Sant—Observations about America by a young Japanese intellectual, who toured the U.S. and became Japan’s first ambassador to the U.S. at the age of 24. I wrote about him here.
The Awakening of Jennifer Van Arsdale: A Political Fable for Our Time by George C. Leef—Libertarian fiction is hard to find because most libertarians write about current events, policy, history or philosophy. This is a notable and recent novel that will inspire readers to love liberty and libertarians to love it even more.
Battle for the American Mind by Pete Hegseth with David Goodwin—Why are public schools in so many places around America (more than you probably imagine) little more than factories of indoctrination? Here you’ll discover the story behind a travesty that’s been a century in the making.
Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell by Jason L. Riley—The great economist Thomas Sowell is a living legend and an international treasure. You may have read one of the many books or columns he wrote; now you can read about the man himself.
Is Atheism Dead? by Eric Metaxas—Science is increasingly affirming Creation, not Accident. The idea that everything came from nothing, and the notion that there was no beginning or Beginner, both come under withering fire in this book. I wrote about it here. Ayn Rand, check your premises.
The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II by Major General Mari K. Eder—If you enjoy true stories of courageous women who made a difference, you won’t be able to put this book down until you finish it.
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy—Vladimir Putin’s murderous assault on the sovereign nation of Ukraine has reminded people around the globe of how little they know of this country’s history. This is a great place to start.
Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution by Helen Zia—No matter what Marxism’s Flavor of the Day may be, it produces heartbreak, slaughter, and mayhem everywhere. At the same time, those horrific events are full of stories of real people who persevere and overcome. Mao’s China is no exception.
Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald—Find out about the exciting world of self-directed education in this book, which includes observations of teachers who left public schools to launch more promising methods of educating children.
African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals by David Hackett Fischer—In a review in the Washington Examiner, Walter Russell Mead noted that this book “demonstrates, from the earliest days of the colonial era black Americans have been what they remain today: full co-creators of an American society…that has had an immense impact on the story of the whole human race.”
Canceling Christianity: How The Left Silences Churches, Dismantles the Constitution and Divides our Culture by David Fiorazo—Cancel culture is more than simply stupid and intolerant. It’s downright evil. Read this book now, and then vote against any politician or party who supports it in November.