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Bob Dixon

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JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: Another Reading List for Christmas Holidays

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

Updated Dec. 27, 2021

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

Here is another list of recently-published books that you may want to consider as a possible Christmas gift for a book lover or even for yourself.

--"Profiles of Kentucky's United States Senators" by Paul L. Whalen (Acclaim Press, $29.95) is a remarkable collection of biographical essays of everyone who has represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate since the very early days. The fascinating 384-page hardcover, which includes portrait photographs, also has “First and Onlys” list for Kentucky U.S. Senators. Over the years, as you'll recall, the Bluegrass state has produced a handful of well-known Senate leaders, including Henry Clay, John J. Crittenden, Alben Barkley, John Sherman Cooper and Mitch McConnell, to name a few. The author is an attorney in Fort Thomas and has two degrees in history.

--“The Forever Dog: Surprising New Science to Help Your Canine Companion Live Younger, Healthier, and Longer” by Rodney Habib and Karen Shaw Becker (Harper Wave, $28.99) provides practical tools or solutions to protect our loyal four-legged companions, focusing on diet and nutrition, stress reduction, among others. It’s up to us – pet parents -- to make smart, science-backed choices for lasting vitality and health.

--“Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact” by Jenn Lim (Grand Central Publishing, $28) discusses the importance of using the business model of Delivering Happiness in workplace. The author is the CEO of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of co-founded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business.

--"From the Rafters of Rupp: The Book" by Kyle Macy with John Huang (Acclaim Press, $34.95) is a very colorful "coffee table" volume with outstanding graphics and pictures about former UK basketball standouts. A former Wildcat star during the late 1970s, Macy conducted the interviews with the Big Blue legends and wrote a personal introduction about each player.

How I Saved the World” by Jesse Watters (Broadside Books, $27.99) is an entertaining tour of his life from basement-dwelling Fox minion to spoiled champion of right-thinking Americans. He has discovered great truths about the nature of our country while stumbling across beaches asking ill-informed college students basic political questions and while stumbling out of Air Force One with the President. The author is a conservative political commentator.

--"The Best of Archie Comics: 80 Years, 80 Stories" by Archie Superstars (Archie Comics, $14.99) is a full-color paperback that contains over 700 pages of classic, much-loved comic book stories -- one from each of the 80 illustrious years of Archie Comics publishing. Archie, the main character, is a typical small-town teenager. It is a must-have for all comic book fans.

--“The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family” by David Cay Johnston (Simon & Schuster, $28) reveals years of financial transgressions by Trump and his family. The 287-page hardcover takes you on a guided tour of how money flowed in and out of Trump’s hundreds of firms. More than $1.7 billion flowed into Trump’s bank accounts during his four years as president. The author is a Pultizer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of “The Making of Donald Trump” and “It’s Even Worse Than You Think.”

--"Kentucky Passion: Wildcat Wisdom and Inspiration" by Del Duduit and John Huang (Red Lightning Books, $20) is another nice volume about UK basketball. The authors help fans re-experience some of the most memorable campaigns and shots, and meet key players and coaches. Readers will learn how they too can rise to challenges and find success through the inspiring stories on UK hoops history.

--“Wish It Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics” by Dan Shaughnessy (Scribner, $28) takes an inside look at the legendary Larry Bird-led Celtics teams of the 1980s before NBA became a billion-dollar industry. The well-known author is a sports columnist and associate editor for The Boston Globe.

--“Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could” by Adam Schiff (Random House, $30) argues that the Trump presidency has so weakened our governmental institutions and compromised the Republican Party that the threat will last for years, requiring unprecedented caution against the growing and dangerous appeal of authoritarianism. The U.S. Congressman from California chronicles step by step just how our democracy was put at such risk, and traces his own path to meeting the crisis.

--"Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing" by John B. Thompson (Polity, $35) tells the story of the stormy years when the book publishing industry bumped with the great technological revolution of our time. Like other sectors, publishing has been thrown into disarray by the digital revolution. The author is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Cambridge in England and emeritus fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. His previous books include "Merchants of Culture."

--"American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History" by Casey Michel (St. Martin's Press, $29.99) is an explosive investigation into how the United States built the largest illicit offshore finance system the world has ever known. The author has written articles on offshoring, kleptocracy, and financial secrecy, appearing in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, among others.

--"Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show" by Jonathan Karl (Dutton, $37) is a remarkable account of the shocking final months of Donald Trump's presidency. The author, who has known Trump longer than any other White House correspondent, tells the story of Trump’s downfall, complete with riveting behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the darkest days in the history of the American presidency. Karl has been taunted, praised, and vilified by Trump, and now he finds himself in a singular position to deliver the truth.

--"The Big East: Inside the Most Entertaining and Influential Conference in College Basketball History" by Dana O’Neil (Ballatine Books, $28) is a readable story of the greatest era of arguably the most iconic league in college hoops. The 253-page hardcover covers the conference's daring beginnings and its incredible rise with interviews with more than 60 key figures. The author is an award-winning sportswriter for national outlets for more than 30 years.

--"First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country" by Thomas E. Ricks (Harper Perennial, $18.99) examines the founding father's educations, and in particular, their devotion to the ancient Greek and Roman classics, and how that influence shaped their ideals and the new American nation. The volume is now available in paperback -- 387 pages. The author, who has written several books, is the military history columnist for the New York Times Book Review. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, he formerly wrote for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

--"An Illustrated Business History of the United States" by Richard Vague (University of Pennsylvania Press, $39.95) is a must-read 323-page volume for any student of American history. The colorful book includes extraordinary information about businesses in 14 eras along with tons of black-and-white and color photographs. Each era features lists of the wealthiest individuals, notable inventions, companies founded, and the largest organizations, banks and insurance companies. The author is currently Secretary of Banking and Securities for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

--"Digital Photography for Dummies, 9th edition," by Julie Adair King (John Wiley & Sons, $24.99) is an easy-to-understand paperback that helps you understand camera settings, describes how to apply proven photography techniques, explains options for improving photo quality, among other things. The 356-page volume is really impressive, helping you think like a photographer so your pictures tell the story you want to create.

--"Dear Barack: The Extraordinary Partnership of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel" by Claudia Clark (Disruption Books, $22.95) is a well-researched story about one of the greatest political friendships in modern history. The two of the world's most influential leaders had often clashed over the challenges of globalization but they -- Obama as the first Black president in U.S. and Merkel as the first female chancellor in Germany -- shared a strong belief that democracy could uplift the world. An author, speaker and activist focused on progressive causes, Clark has several advanced degrees with a focus on social work, women's history, and labor.

--"Winning On Purpose: The Unbeatable Strategy of Loving Customers" by Fred Reichheld with Darci Darnell and Maureen Burns (Harvard Business Review Press, $30) is a new 254-page hardcover about customer loyalty in the business world. The author demonstrates that the primary purpose of a business should be to enrich the lives of its customers. Why? Because when customers feel this love, they come back for more and bring their friends—generating good profits. This is Net Promoter System (NPS) 3.0 which is an updated practical framework for enriching the lives of customers and employees. Few management ideas have spread so far and wide as the NPS since its conception nearly 20 years ago by customer loyalty guru Fred Reichheld. Many companies around the world, including industrial titans (Mercedes-Benz, among others) and tech giants (like Apple and Amazon), have adopted it.

--"The Mystery of Charles Dickens" by A.N. Wilson (Harper Perennial, $17.99) is an insightful biography about a famous novelist from England during the 1800s. Recognized by scholars as a literary genius, Dickens was the one who created some of the world's best-known fictional characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge, Miss Havisham, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, among others. His novels and short stories are widely read today. The 359-page paperback is illustrated with 30 black-and-white images.

--"Jesus Listens: Daily Devotional Prayers of Peace, Joy and Hope" by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson, $19.99) is a new 365-day devotional prayer book, taking you on a year-long journey to develop a meaningful prayer life and a deeper, richer relationship with God. The 383-page volume includes 365 days of Bible-based prayers, scripture references for each devotion and a ribbon marker. The author also has written several similar books, including "Jesus Calling" and "Jesus Today."

--"Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden" by Chris Christie (Threshold Editions, $28) reveals how absurd grievances and self-inflicted wounds sabotaged Donald Trump’s successes and allowed Democrats to capture the White House, the House, and Senate in two years. A two-term governor of New Jersey and a former presidential candidate, Christie analyzes the last year of the Trump administration—which provoked nothing but conspiracy theories and infighting—and he lays out an honest and hopeful vision, explaining how Republicans can capture the future and save America from today’s damaging Democratic excesses.

--"Beyond Biden: Rebuilding the America We Love" by Newt Gingrich (Center Street, $29) is another book written by the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The best-selling author exposes the well-financed left movement that has grown so aggressive in its quest for power and provides a roadmap for the conservatives who want to rebuild our country for generations of prosperity and safety.

--“Rachel Maddow: A Biography” by Lisa Rogak (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99) is now available in paperback. According to the publisher, the volume is the first biography about one of the most popular anchors in cable news. The news that Maddow -- who grew up in a conservative California town -- was the first openly lesbian to anchor a prime-time TV news show seemed almost anticlimactic to her millions of viewers, who will be surprised and intrigued by little-known details of her life, as written by New York Times bestselling author who hos has written several other books.

--"These Precious Days: Essays" by Ann Patchett (Harper, $26.99) is a deeply personal collection of essays with the bestselling author reflecting on home, family, friendships and writing. The 323-page hardcover offers a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart. A native of Nashville, Tenn., Patchett is an award-winning author of eight novels, four works of nonfiction and two children's books.

--"Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Pie in the Sky" by William Van Horn (Fantagraphics, $29.99) is an entertaining full-color comics hardcover that features many adventurous stories about old foes Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck. If you are a fan of most comic books, you'll probably enjoy this volume. A Canadian cartoonist, Van Horn has been a beloved Donald and Uncle Scrooge talent since 1988. This new volume begins a comprehensive collection of his wild Disney tales.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including recently-published “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” He is the editor and founder of Magazine, and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at


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