Shelf Life: A Must-Read, Lifetime-Learning List for Men Part 1 By George Grant


Readers are inveterate and unapologetic list makers.  Indeed, according to Umberto Eco, “Lists are the most necessary literary accessories of all.” 

  • There are lists of books that must be read. 
  • There are lists of books that must be reread. 
  • There are lists of books that must be read by others.
  • There are lists of books that must be bought. 
  • There are best-seller lists. 
  • There are best of the best lists. 
  • There are the indispensable book lists—those titles readers might profess to be their preferred companions were they stranded on a desert isle. 

It seems that list-making simply goes with the territory—it is the natural accompaniment to the shelf life.

T.S. Eliot quipped, “I love reading another reader’s list of favorites.  Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict.  It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful.”

Here at King’s Meadow, we share that sentiment wholeheartedly.  So, we trust you’ll enjoy mulling over, arguing with, and amending the following lists:


My Favorite Non-Fiction Books from the 20th Century

Compiling a list of my favorite non-fiction works of the twentieth century is harder than it might appear at first glance—at least partly because most of the really good books written in this century are barely up to the standards of mediocre books written in earlier centuries.  But, of course, in accord with God’s good providence, there have been a number of happy literary aberrations.  Almost any of the books by G.K. Chesterton, Abraham, Kuyper, Hilaire Belloc, C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Niall Ferguson, Arthur Quiller-Couch, or Paul Johnson might have made the list—but I had to start and stop somewhere. These are listed in no particular order (other than the ramshackle, stream-of-consciousness order in my own mind).

1. Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

2. The Stone Lectures, Abraham Kuyper

3. Knowing God, J.I. Packer

4. Mont St. Michel and Chartres, Henry Adams

5. The Servile State, Hilaire Belloc

6. Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington

7. The Birth of the Modern, Paul Johnson

8. The Path to Rome, Hilaire Belloc

9. The Gathering Storm, Winston Churchill

10. A World Torn Apart, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

11. Home, Witold Rybczynski

12. A Texan Looks at Lyndon, J. Evetts Haley

13. How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis

14. My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers

15. I’ll Take My Stand, Donald Davidson, et al.

16. George Whitefield. Arnold Dallimore

17. 84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff

18. The Calvinistic Concept of Culture, Henry Van Til

19. A Wake for the Living, Andrew Lytle

20. A Christian Manifesto, Francis Schaeffer

21. Where Nights Are Longest, Colin Thubron

22. Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman

23. Civil Rights, Thomas Sowell

24. Essays and Criticisms, Dorothy Sayers

25. Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver

26. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis,

27. The Intellectual Life, A.G. Sertillanges

28. The God Who Is There, Francis Schaeffer

29. The Fundamentals, J. Gresham Machen et al.

30. The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn

31. Witness, Whittaker Chambers

32. Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen

33. The Defense of the Faith, Cornelius Van Til

34. Battle for the Bible, Harold Lindsell

35. Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

36. The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

37. The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers

38. Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, Hans Rookmaaker

39. Idols for Destruction, Herbert Schlossberg

40. Fire in the Minds of Men, James Billington

(to be continued….)

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A Girl’s Garden by Robert Frost

A NEIGHBOR of mine in the village
Likes to tell how one spring
When she was a girl on the farm, she did
A childlike thing.

One day she asked her father
To give her a garden plot
To plant and tend and reap herself,
And he said, “Why not?”

In casting about for a corner
He thought of an idle bit
Of walled-off ground where a shop had stood,
And he said, “Just it.”

And he said, “That ought to make you
An ideal one-girl farm,
And give you a chance to put some strength
On your slim-jim arm.”

It was not enough of a garden,
Her father said, to plough;
So she had to work it all by hand,
But she don’t mind now.

She wheeled the dung in the wheelbarrow
Along a stretch of road;
But she always ran away and left
Her not-nice load.

And hid from anyone passing.
And then she begged the seed.
She says she thinks she planted one
Of all things but weed.

A hill each of potatoes,
Radishes, lettuce, peas,
Tomatoes, beets, beans, pumpkins, corn,
And even fruit trees

And yes, she has long mistrusted
That a cider apple tree
In bearing there to-day is hers,
Or at least may be.

Her crop was a miscellany
When all was said and done,
A little bit of everything,
A great deal of none.

Now when she sees in the village
How village things go,
Just when it seems to come in right,
She says, “I know!

It’s as when I was a farmer–”
Oh, never by way of advice!
And she never sins by telling the tale
To the same person twice.

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10 ways to spoil an apology By Emma Scrivner

1. Hang the blame in mid-air.

I’m sorry if there was a miscommunication.


2. Pin the blame on the other person’s feelings

I’m sorry you feel this way…


3. Pin the blame on their actions

I’m sorry. But there really wasn’t any other option after you did X…


4. Use a great big BUT.

I’m sorry but… c’mon! What do you expect?!


5. Express so much grief, there’s no room for the feelings of the other person

You can’t know how incredible sorry I am. Believe me, I am going through hell right now just reliving my stupid, selfish, unconscionable sin. I have screwed up and it is eating me alive. I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating, I’m constantly itchy…


6. Keep it general and always use IF

We’re sorry if our services didn’t live up to your expectations.


7. Be sorry for everything (and therefore nothing)

I am so, so, sorry if I did anything to hurt you, I take it all back, whatever it was. 


8. Turn your confession into a confessional

You know I had a really distant Father and my constant fear of betrayal makes me push people away before they get a chance to hurt me. My counsellor says I need to go easy on myself but I think really it dates back to…


9. Pretend your motives were pure.

I only had the best of intentions, it’s just unfortunate how things worked out…


10. Apologise to regain control

I’m sorry. There, I said it. Now let’s put this behind us, (right now).


Posted: May 1, 2019


10 ways to spoil an apology

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Review of The Jersey Brothers



In her stunning memoir, The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer and His Family’s Quest to Bring Him Home, Sally Mott Freeman tells the story of three brothers and their courageous service for the United States in the midst of World War II. Barton, the youngest, is slated to serve at one of the safest areas available—the Philippines, but when the Japanese bomb the islands, Barton is wounded and taken prisoner. This devastating turn of events spurs the two older brothers, Bill and Benny, to action as they attempt to rescue their brother. Will they be able to find him before the unthinkable happens?


The Jersey Brothers is an extremely well-written and well-researched volume. Told through each brother’s point-of-view, using eye-witness accounts, personal letters, and Defense Department documents, Freeman’s book is a riveting account of one man’s struggle for survival while his family does everything they can to save him. Far from a dry tome, this narrative reads like a novel. It allows readers to acquaint themselves with the events of the Pacific Theatre and all its political intrigue and personal pathos. Freeman should not only be commended for her writing, but also her perseverance in solving the disappearance of her beloved uncle.


The Jersey Brothers is an excellent page-turning account of one family’s journey through World War II. I highly recommend it to history buffs and novices alike.



I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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Review of Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes

            In his book, Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes, Iain Murray tells the inspiring story of the young woman who went to the mission field and never came home. Amy Carmichael felt the call of God on her life at an early age and originally thought she was headed for China. But Amy was redirected to India to serve children of the lowest caste, many of whom were destined for a life of slavery. This volume is a wonderful synopsis of Carmichael’s life, work, and her relationships with God and the children she loved.


Beauty for Ashes is well-written and well-researched, as one would expect from Iain Murray. It is a compact and concise narrative and serves as an excellent survey. Every chapter begins with a bit of Carmichael’s poetry, which gives the book a magnificent tone. There are a couple of chapters at the end that address the historical and theological events of Carmichael’s day that feel a bit out of place to this reader. However, it is an exceptional read and simply isn’t long enough. I highly recommend Beauty for Ashes to those wanting to acquaint themselves with Amy Carmichael and her inspirational life.

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Review of Four Princes


In his book, Four Princes, Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, and Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe, John Julius Norwich gives an enlightening overview of the main power brokers who shaped the sixteenth century and beyond. The book begins with the marriages of each man’s parents and the political implications that resulted for their sons. The volume continues in a chronological fashion without overburdening the narrative with dry dates. Each chapter gives attention to each man without breaking the flow of the larger story. It is not an exhaustive work but a concise one, focusing on the prominent events of these men’s lives and their interactions with each other and the Pope.

Four Princes is a readable snapshot of history where powerful personalities dominate the narrative in an entertaining way, and is also an engrossing avenue of information of the major European players who shaped the landscape of history for ages to come.

One troubling aspect of Four Princes is Norwich’s assertion that Anne Boleyn was universally hated, contradicted in other versions of British History. This overstatement calls into question the author’s objectivity. However, Four Princes is an enjoyable read and begs more history written in as lively a fashion.



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Much Vs Many

Today’s Lunchbox Lesson: MANY vs MUCH

MANY modifies things that CAN be counted (i.e., count nouns).
MUCH modifies things that CANNOT be counted (i.e., mass nouns).

In other words, “many” tends to modify plural nouns, and “much” tends to modify singular nouns. For example, we write “many cookies” or “many books,” and “many dollars” because these nouns are countable. We write “much knowledge,” or “much light because these nouns aren’t countable (in their main senses).

What if a noun can be countable and uncountable? You can see how MANY and MUCH functions with the word FISH:

“We caught too many fish in the tournament rules.” (countable)
“You cooked way too much fish for three people.” (uncountable)

More examples:
“Sir Loin owns MANY medieval castle in France.”
“We didn’t earn MUCH profit this year in our ninja costume business.”
“There are too MANY sharks in this swimming pool.”
“Please don’t put so MUCH whiskey in the cannoli next time.”
“He stuffed too MANY marshmallows in his mouth.”
“We had so MUCH fun playing with the robot lawnmowers.”



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