Worth Reading (Fiction)

  • Mamet, David: Chicago: A Novel
    In Roaring 20's Chicago, a Great War veteran turned hard-boiled reporter falls in love with the wrong woman and then seeks to find her killer.
  • Nelson DeMille: The Cuban Affair: A Novel
    Two million dollars to charter a boat for a fishing tournament? A great way for the owner to pay off the boat's mortgage, but it turns out to include slipping into Castro's prison island in search of a lost (and perhaps imaginary) treasure.
  • Kate Atkinson: Life After Life: A Novel
    Ursula Todd has the opportunity to relive her life, over and over and over, moving steadily through the Great War and its sequels and accumulating shards of memory.
  • Connie Willis: Crosstalk: A Novel
    An empathy app leads to complications involving telepathy, Irish women and a true love that runs most unsmoothly. Classic Willis comedy.
  • Mark Steyn: The Prisoner of Windsor
    In a 21st Century sequel to Anthony Hope, the heir to the Ruritanian throne must fill in for the kidnaped Prime Minister of Great Britain.
  • Tim Powers: My Brother's Keeper
    Werewolves, the Brontë sisters, their wayward brother, their heroic dog and a conspiracy to unleash an almost dead deity.
  • Tim Powers: Declare: A Novel
    An intricate Cold War fantasy that seems so plausible that one wonders whether it is the true story of why the Soviet Union rose and collapsed.
  • H.F.M. Prescott: The Man on a Donkey
    Set during the Pilgrimage of Grace, this is the rare historical novel that captures the mindset of the actors. The hero, Robert Aske, was martyred in a way that makes burning at the stake look merciful.
  • Theodore Odrach: Wave of Terror
    Based on the author's experiences when the Soviet Union occupied his homeland after the Stalin-Hitler Pact, this book melds Chekov and Solzhenitsyn. By stages, the isolated folk of the Pripyet Marshes learn that there are worse masters than their former Polish overlords.
  • Simon Montefiore: Sashenka: A Novel
    Both grim and funny, this historical novel peers into the inner world of an upper class Russian girl turned loyal Bolshevik, highlighting her youthful fling at revolution-making in Petrograd, her fall from grace under Stalin, and an historian's effort, after the end of communism, to ascertain her fate.
  • Harry Turtledove: The Man with the Iron Heart
    Can the U.S. maintain its resolve against a defeated enemy's terrorist campaign? Imagining a post-World War II Nazi insurgency, Harry Turtledove puts this question into a new context. As Reinhard von Heydrich's "werewolves" devastate Germany, war-weary Americans call for withdrawal, regardless of the consequences.
  • Neal Stephenson: Anathem
    If you have not a smidgen of interest in how Platonic philosophy relates to the "many worlds" version of quantum mechanics, you still may like this novel, though you'll probably wish that the characters talked less. Persevere. After a slow start, the story grows compelling, and the intellectual dialogues turn out not to be digressions.
  • Alfred Duggan: Lord Geoffrey's Fancy
    Perhaps the finest book of one of England's finest historical novelists. The setting is 13th Century Greece, where Crusaders fought each other and the shattered Byzantine Empire. The history is accurate, the writing graceful and the characters not merely modern people in fancy dress.
  • Rodney Bolt: History Play : The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe
    A pseudo-history springing from the premise that Shakespeare's flashy predecessor survived the famous Deptford brawl and fled to the continent, where he secretly wrote almost all of the Bard's works. A clever, tongue-in-cheek reworking of literary history that also recreates the milieu shared by many real Elizabethan exiles.
  • Charles W. Chesnutt: Stories, Novels, and Essays (Library of America, 131)
    Fiction and essays by a black American writer who deserves a wider audience.
  • Harry Turtledove: Gunpowder Empire
    Debut of a juvenile series set in parallel worlds. 22nd century teen siblings, trapped without adult aid in a besieged city, must cope with the bizarre (to them) customs and prejudices of a never-fallen Roman Empire.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2004


There's no account of him being baptized either in water or the Holy Spirit. The following is an account of his spiritual path:

1984 - Mark Leaverton (a founder of Midland's Community Bible Study) … I think he probably came in 1984 to our Bible study that preceded Community Bible Study (CBS). He was the vice president's son.

1984 - George W. Bush, the oilman I prayed with to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord on April 3, 1984 has gone on to become President of the United States of America. All glory to God. What to do Now! - Confess Christ Openly and Be Baptized. *THIS NEVER HAPPENED! - Arthur Blessit at:

1985 - From GWB: Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in my soul, a seed that grew over the next year.

1985 - His heavy drinking was threatening his marriage so Bush began attending a community Bible study group in Midland. Before long, he was working on his father's 1988 presidential campaign (where he was assigned to consult with leaders from the religious right) and turning an eye toward the governorship of Texas.

Don Poage (One of the group leaders in Midland's Christian Bible Study): "... What I can talk about [is] .. I saw that transformative process beginning. Whether he was then quote, "saved" or not, or "born again" or not -- he made a couple of comments in core group that would lead me to believe that he was.

1986 - At Bush's 40th birthday party (July 6, 1986), with the wine flowing freely, he once again "couldn't shut it off," says Don Evans, Bush's friend and campaign finance chairman. Karen Hughes, Bush's spokeswomen said ... He has said he gave up drinking the day after his 40th birthday.

CNN:Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge - November 2, 2000
Bush said, "I was able to share with some of the men and women here that I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then."

The Jesus Factor:
Doug Wead's advise to GWB's Dad in 1987 Presidential Race: "So, [in] my memorandum I was saying to him, "Look, Mr. Vice President, if you're asked the question, "Are you a born-again Christian?" you can't say no. You can say anything else, but you can't say no.

US News Online, "George W. Bush: Running on His Faith"
GWB: "Would you call your experience born-again? I call it a renewal of faith. But I could say that. I would say that. But you've got to understand, a born-again experience connotes a moment. And I would say my experience was the planting of a seed, where something grew, grew quite rapidly. But I got back to Midland. I remember reading the Bible. The words in the Bible made–you know, the same words–I began to have a better understanding. And so I would call it a renewal, an acceptance of Christ."

Interview with the Baptist Press, the national news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, August 31, 2000
GWB: "I would describe myself as a man who was raised a Christian, who sought redemption and found it in Jesus Christ. And that's important [to admit the need for redemption] by the way, for someone running for public office. It's a humbling experience to make that admission. I admit I'm a lowly sinner. It's that admission that led me to redemption and led me to Christ. Without making that admission, I don't think there's such a thing as redemption."

Town Meeting. Columbia, South Carolina, February 12, 2000
GWB: "Well, I appreciate that. As you know, during a debate, one of the debates in the public arena, I was asked about a philosopher who influenced my life. I didn't spend much time thinking about an answer. It just came out, and I said it was Christ, and it was Christ. "What does that mean? Why?" he said. And I said, "Because he's changed my heart." And the man said, "Could you explain it further?" And basically what I said is it's kind of hard to explain it in 30-second sound bytes. It's hard to explain unless you have witnessed it yourself, and so it is hard to explain."

Wead: "But with the son, it was just instant. In 1998, 1999, 2000, within five minutes of any meetings with evangelicals, within minutes, they instantly knew he's a born-again Christian."

Wead: "I remember him (GW) reviewing the memorandum on Texas, and he just lit up. He said, "Ah, you know, I could do this in Texas. I could make this work in Texas." There was no secret he was talking about running for governor. But he'd see this, and said, "Whoa." To me, it was like the missing piece for him. Now he had become an evangelical Christian himself. So he's reading this strategy, and he's thinking, "Whoa, this could certainly work for me."

US News Online, "George W. Bush: Running on His Faith"
GWB on being an evangelical: "I'm not even sure what the characteristics of an evangelical are in common parlance. I think if someone prays– I pray. I do. I believe in the power of prayer. I can't tell you how comforting it is to me to hear people say, "I pray for you." And it happens a lot. It does. And I say, "Thank you." I think an evangelical believes in the power of prayer."

Wead: "We won the [election] in 1988 with the largest percentage of evangelical support ever in American history, more than Reagan got in 1984 when he had the landslide that carried every state in the nation but Minnesota -- by far more than George W. Bush had in 2000."

Wead: "I think it might've been 1997, before his re-election as governor -- George W. Bush was going to meet with some evangelical leaders. I called him to warn him of this surprise question that they occasionally pop. I repeated the question, which is, "If you were to die and suddenly appear before the pearly gates, and Peter said, 'Why should I let you in?' what would your answer be?"
He cut me off. He interrupted me before I even finished the question, and said, "I know, I know, I know. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ and because of his death for my sins," which is the argument evangelicals make -- that no one can be good enough to go to heaven, that the death of Christ is a sacrifice for our sins and you accept it in faith. That's the whole idea. So, no problem for him. I mean, he understood where evangelicals were coming from."

Wead: "Well, my advice to George Bush Sr. was, "Signal early, signal often." My advice to George W. Bush would be, "Signal early." The reason George Bush Sr. needed to signal often was because he was not known as someone who had sympathies towards evangelicals, or even understood them. So he needed to drive that home. ..."

GWB Signals toooo often to mention.

1999 - "Pastor Craig said that America is starved for honest leaders. He told the story of Moses, asked by God to lead his people to a land of milk and honey." ... "He was talking to you," my mother later said. ... "hearing this rousing sermon, to make most of every moment, during my inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the prospect of a presidential campaign" Bush sees his presidency as willed by God.

John 3:5 - Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:1 - And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1 John 2:4 - He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

2 John 1:7 - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Me: My response to this off-the-point comment can be found under the title “Religion Left and Right”.

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Books by Tom Veal

Worth Reading (Non-Fiction)