"I'm finishing David Herbert Donald's 'Lincoln' and would recommend it whether you are entirely unfamiliar with the man or an ardent fan. I actually read it as an outgrowth of my interest in the Civil War.
"Next I plan to tackle Henry Steele Commager's 'The Blue and the Gray,' a 1,100-page 45th-anniversary reissue. I also will be perusing 'Civil War Front Pages,' which nicely combines my interests in the war and journalism.
"When I undertake a lengthy tome such as Commager's, I always combine it with 'snack' reading -- books I don't need two hands to hold. I want to finish Lois McMaster Bujold's 'Vorkosigan' series. It's a delightful science fiction/fantasy series featuring this plucky fellow who takes incredible risks but inevitably triumphs because of his ingenuity - a brains-over-brawn kind of guy.
"I am also eagerly anticipating the last installment in Harry Turtledove's World War series. Turtledove writes 'alternate histories,' where he injects a new element into a historical setting and explores the consequences. His World War tetralogy takes WW II as the setting and asks what would have happened if Allied and Axis powers had to unite to face a common enemy.
Turtledove tells the tale by following the lives of more than a dozen different people and he makes it absolutely fascinating.
"One of the many virtues of having two young daughters is that you get to read them books you might not otherwise read - or re-read. My wife and I are reading for bedtime now the Tolkien trilogy for our older daughter and the 'Little House on the Prairie' series for our younger daughter. Both have an ageless charm.
"Not only that, but reading those books can lead to other books. I was relating to my father-in-law Laura Ingalls' fascination with the prairie and he recommended John Madson's 'Where the Sky Began.' So I ordered it.
You can't have too many good books waiting to be read."