Book TV tantalizes with non-fiction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 16, 2014

SALISBURY — Many of us readers go to the shelves of Rowan Public Library and scan the shelves of new books looking for something to pique our interests. This is something I enjoy once or twice a week. Librarians there do an excellent job of buying a wide range of titles.
Deirdre Parker Smith reviews for us in her Sunday columns, and the truly dedicated reader can hunt up a Sunday New York Times Review of Books to find reviews of authors and books people are talking about.
In the ‘90s, my husband and I discovered a resource that broadened our reading dramatically: C-Span2. On Friday we began checking out each weekend schedule for Book TV and a broader world opened. We could plan our weekend to watch or record as many as 30 authors presenting their non-fiction books.
Presentations are usually an hour long, which may be all I need to know about a subject, or I can go to the library, the bookstore or go online and make a purchase. (I prefer holding the actual book, but a long, heavy one goes to my e-reader.) Short clips from book festivals give you even more titles to look for.
At breakfast I saw a book about Pacific flyers from World War II and failed to write it down. These short clips don’t make the TV schedule, which is why BookTV is usually on in the background of my house most of all weekend, a pencil handy.
I found two must-reads this weekend, “The Heart of Everything That is: the Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend.” This apparently is the history of the Sioux and very early history of Native Americans. I saw Phyllis Chester talk about her experiences in “An American Bride in Kabul.” She was delightful and I suspect her book to be a delight. I want to look over Gabriel Sherman’s “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” which is about Roger Ailes and Fox News. I don’t watch Fox News, but follow the principle of “know your enemy.” But for the conservatives among us, there are at least three titles this weekend.
This weekend alone, books cover the economy, constitutional issues, the military, African-American history, biography, governmental policy and spies, and two titles about the “Monuments Men.” I loved the book and the movie. There is also a book about Syria.
Currently, I am plowing through another C-Span discovery, “Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and their Secret World War.” This is the most important book I have picked up in a long time. The impact of these two men on the past 60 years is horrifying as they used billions of dollars to overthrow nations and undermine diplomacy as a solution to world problems.
If you are missing Book TV on C-Span2, check it out. They even have archives of past reviews.