Reading List

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I decided to take a break from writing about antique related items and situations and try something new. When I am not at the store, and have some free time, I read. When I was young, and owned my bookstore, it was science fiction and classics. As I have gotten older, I find that I have come to enjoy non-fiction quite a bit.

I thought I would put together a reading list of some of the books I have finished over the last year or so. All are books that I enjoyed greatly and recommend. There are a wide variety of topics and I think most everyone can find something in this list that interests them.

They are not in any special order, but are just books that I have immensely enjoyed reading. I hope that you will find something of interest to you. Have fun!

Famous incidents in history

Mortal Error – The Shot That Killed JFK” by Bonar Menninger – For me this ends the ‘Who shot Kennedy?” argument

Endurance” By Alfred Lansing  – The account of the Ship Endurance in Antarctica in 1912 & and her crew stranded for 20 months before being rescued. An amazing  testimony of what the human spirit can achieve.

Chernobyl & Nuclear interest

Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higgenbotham – A timeline of the accident and the people invoked.

“Manual for Survival – A Chernobyl Guide for the Future” Kate Brown – This is an remarkable book about the events during and after the disaster. Many interviews and thousands of hours of archival research have combined in an amazing testimony & description of events.

Plutopia” – By Kate Brown – The unknown side of the atom in the United States. What the nuclear contests did to our own country & the information never really disclosed.

Dispatches From Dystopia” – By Kate Brown – An unusual telling of historical events & the human condition, accomplished by comparing very different places and peoples.

Musical Interests

Major Dudes – A Steely Dan Companion” Edited by Barny Hoskyns – A great look through interviews and reviews of the band. Walter Becker & Donald Fagen were amazing musical talents and perfectionists.

Inside the Dream Palace – The Life & Times of New York’s Chelsea Hotel” By Sherill Tippins – A journey through the historic New York City landmark where many of the icons of a generation lived. Artists, eccentrics, socialites & bohemians created an entire counter culture during their tenure at the Chelsea.

The Downtown Pop Underground” By Kembrew McLeod – The beginnings of  movements in music, theater, art, film, & poetry as well as the redefining of sexual identities and roles in lower Manhattan and the personalities who created it all.

Medical Interests

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney – How a mysterious showman saved Thousands of American Babies” – By Dawn Raffel – Babies on display on the midway! Get your ticket now.

Bellevue – Three Centuries of Medicine & Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital” By David Oshinsky

Working Stiff ‘ Two Years, 262 Bodies, & the Making of a Medical Examiner” By Judy Melinek, M.D. – I read it in a day.

The Radium Girls – The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women” By Kate Moore – This was a story that had horrific consequences. Having much radiation & chemo myself, I couldn’t help but be interested.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other lessons from the Crematory” By Caitlin Doughty – A Behind the scenes look into the funerary business with many facts and light humor.

Biography & Autobiography

The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets” By Sarah Miller – The entire world was captivated by the birth of the five little girls in Ontario, but the reality behind the curtain was far different.

I Am Spock” By Leonard Nimoy – The follow up to the book “I Am Not Spock

Franz Kafka – Representative Man – Prague, Germans, Jews & the Crisis of Modernism” By Frederik Karl – This was a flea market book booth find & was a tough one to get through, but interesting to say the least.

True Crime

The Mad Sculptor” By Harold Schechter – The story of the triple murder committed in Manhattan in 1937 by sculptor Robert Irwin.

How to Become a Federal Criminal – An illustrated Handbook for the Aspiring Offender” By Mike Chase – You just never know what can land you in hot water. Anyone fancy a game of Lawn Darts? (We made playing the game harder and more dangerous, by having to actually toss them over the house. Now it’s a federal crime to buy or sell them.)

History & Historical Fiction

Dead Wake- The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” By Erik Larson – A look at the trip and the consequences of her sinking.

The Devil in the White City – Murder Magic & Madness at the Fair That Changed America” By Erik Larson. A great book for those interested in the Jack the Ripper story.

Carville’s Cure – Leprosy, Stigma, & the Fight For Justice” By Pam Fessler – This was a gift and was a great read. You can still find the newspapers written by the patients who lived on the compound in the online archive.

The Lives They Left Behind – Suitcases From a State Hospital Attic” By Darby Penny & Peter Stastny – The story of 400 patient suitcases full of belongings found in the attic of a closed psychiatric hospital.


The Secret Life of Groceries – The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket” By Benjamin Lorr. – Another gift that turned into a great and informative surprise, especially in our days of supply line shortages. We take for granted nearly everything about groceries, but a friend who emigrated from China was amazed at the amount of food in the local grocery store and even more astounded that there was another one just like it 5 miles away.

Well there you are. This is just a partial listing of what landed on my desk this past year. In this time of twenty four hour news, commercials constantly, covid and political strife, it’s great to sit back and enjoy a good book. A great way to tune out the world and learn something to boot.

We are now carrying a selection of bargain books at Five Katz Antiques. These are brand new books, including many best sellers, at super low prices and we will be adding to our stock regularly. Stop in a check them out today!


Published Vintage Finds Magazine Feb/Mar 2022 Issue