In rebus gustum, non potest esse disputandum de ad libros

The 50 great books on education

With thanks to Foxfier’s guest post here for the inspiration for the title, which translates to: “In matters of taste, there can be no debate with regard to books.” Although I am not one to publish “listicles,” as Foxfier mentioned in her own post, certain lists have been making the rounds. These say that X or Y book is Bad and Should Be Ignored by All People Who Think Proper Thoughts.

I agree there are some books that should not be put out for the general public to read (looking at you, Marquis de Sade). Furthermore, if they are published, readers ought to be forewarned that the contents may be poisonous. That being said, most of these lists are so much arrant foolishness that they are not even worth clicking on.

Personally, if I do not like a book, I do not talk about it. I may commiserate with others when they say they do not like the same book I disliked, and if I think it is detrimental to an individual’s mind and/or soul, I may give someone a warning against picking up a specific book. But I will not run around with my hair metaphorically on fire screaming that a novel I disliked is a bad book and ought to be BANNED. That is not only silly, it is an utter waste of time – and my time is already limited.

Foxfier’s suggestion in her guest post that one might describe and recommend books one likes resonated with me for this reason. Yes, I post reviews of books I enjoy here on Song, but as I said, my time is limited. My TBR list is extensive and needs me to tackle it, once I am no longer up to my neck in other Matters of Extreme Importance.

So, in the same vein as Foxfier’s article, I thought I would list some books I have read over the years which might be of interest to others here. Feel free to list off series or novels in the comments section yourselves, readers – as the saying goes, the more the merrier! Maybe we will all find new favorites here to purchase and enjoy.

Let’s get started, shall we? 😉


It is no secret that I am a Star Trek fan. To date, among my favorite authors for the franchise are Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone, who wrote under the pen name “Let’s All Get Rich And Famous!” The short version of this is L. A. Graf.

The Janus Gate trilogy* is one of their best works. Do not bother reading the blurbs for these books, the only one that is halfway accurate is the blurb for book two*. Someone at the printer attached an entirely different plot to books one and three* of the trilogy somehow, and it has never been changed. Set in the three-day bubble after the episode The Naked Time, The Janus Gate trilogy sees the Enterprise return to pick up a survey team they left on an uninhabited planet. The archaeologists are thrilled to see them because they have unearthed the ruins of around twenty starships, all of which apparently crashed on the planet over the course of centuries.

When the Enterprise starts losing power, though, things go from “fascinating” to “uh-oh” at Warp speed. Matters are further complicated when Captain Kirk touches a glowing alien device amidst the ruins and vanishes – only to be replaced by his teenage self. Lieutenant Sulu follows suit, to be replaced by an older version of himself who is a captain. Captain Sulu has never heard of nor served under a Captain James T. Kirk. When Kirk switched places with his younger self, the future was changed…

…and it is not a pretty one.

If you want a classic time-travel story with a tear-jerker finale that shows Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura rising to the challenge before they are best friends for life, this is a trilogy I highly recommend. L.A. Graf always focus on the junior officers, giving a rare view of the Star Trek universe from the lower ranks’ perspective. I need to reread these at some point – they are among the favorite novels on my shelf.

Another novel I recommend is Ethel C. Brill’s Madeleine Takes Command*. It tells the story of Madeleine de Vercheres, the fourteen-year-old French-Canadian girl who saved her family’s fort from being overrun by the Iroquois Nation when the latter attacked. With the help of her twelve- and ten-year-old brothers and an old manservant, Madeleine held the Iroquois off for a week. Some of the soldiers who were supposed to be guarding the fort were killed or captured along with the male habitants who farmed the land, while the rest had taken the lack of Iroquois activity to mean it was safe enough to go hunting.

Having seen her mother direct the defense of the fort in a prior raid and lost her eldest brother in battle against the Iroquois, Madeleine was not so sanguine. Along with her brothers she kept the women and children safe until relief arrived from Montreal. It is a fascinating story, and I have to say that Madeleine has been one of my personal heroines ever since I read the book. It is not a novel with which I will part willingly.

Venus is a Man's World by William Tenn

Venus is a Man’s World*, by William Tenn, is a hilarious sci-fi short story that was rather prescient about the modern view of men. I cannot say much without spoiling the story, but the fact is that anyone who grumbles about the way men are typically portrayed these days will find this tale a relief. You can pick it up for free online at Project Gutenberg or purchase it and a couple of Tenn’s other stories through the Amazon link. It truly is that good!

Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville - FictionDB

Bruce Coville’s The Unicorn Chronicles* is a series I still have to finish. I ended up breaking off after book three or four, and I never got to the last volumes in the series. Ugh! Every time I turn around, that TBR list gets longer and longer…

Most of what I liked in the series was how he handled the unicorns. They were not inherently perfect or living in a utopic society, and not all humans were monsters. The magic was well incorporated, too. Darn, I really need to finish those books…

The Paths of Cormanor by [Jim Breyfogle]

In the vein of fantasy, I am going to take a moment to plug The Paths of Cormanor again. The review is here, so if you want my opinion on the book, that is where to find it. Suffice it to say it is very, very good fantasy that would make Professor Tolkien proud. It is also currently available in paperback and hardcover, with the paperback being $4.47 and the hardcover priced at $5.82. It is a steal for an excellent fantasy adventure. Highly recommended.

Dragonart: How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures: J ...

Dragonart: How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures* is a great book just to look at even if you can’t draw. I used to pick it up just to flip the pages and enjoy the artwork and seek inspiration. If you do draw, then this book is one to look up. As I remember it, the sequel Dragonart Evolution: How to Draw Everything Dragon* is full of inspirational art as well. (Psst! She has a DeviantArt page here, her Twitter page is here, and the game she helps run – Flight Rising – is here!) virginian owen wister: Books

For a little genre-whiplash, another book I love is Owen Wister’s The Virginian*. Dedicated to (and beta read by!) Theodore Roosevelt, the novel focuses on the titular Virginian as he works on Judge Henry’s ranch in Wyoming. I find myself posting quotes from it fairly regularly these days – it is an eminently thoughtful book that bears the stamp of its time.

By this I mean that the conventions of the Western genre, as we understand them today, were not quite settled when the book was written. You won’t find high-powered action in most of the tale, though there will be plenty of intense situations, and there is quite a bit of humor scattered throughout the narrative. One particularly amusing incident occurs when, during a party, the hero and a friend of his get up to some mischief involving sleeping infants. The fathers think it is hilarious, at least at first, but the mothers are far from amused!

Another fun moment comes when the Narrator of the adventure is lured into believing several tall tales. This puts the Virginian in a bind, as not only is the Narrator his friend and thereby sponsored by him, the Virginian is now in a position of authority. By taking advantage of the Narrator’s naïveté, they show him up and weaken his influence.

Rather than restore it by fisticuffs, however, the Virginian uses his wits. It is a masterful pair of chapters, and I hope someday I can write that well. That was a great scene, readers!

Top 50 Novels for Homeschoolers

Sword of Clontarf* by Charles A. Brady is a great book about Ireland in the time of Brian Boru. The High King of Ireland for twelve years, he died at the Battle of Clontarf on Good Friday, April 23, 1014. The novel itself is taken up with the story of a young “gallowglass” Icelander named Niall Arneson, son of Arne Helgison and his second, Irish wife Etain. In a time when the Norse and the Danes are still pagan and the Irish are Christian, the slaying of Niall’s pagan father by his enemies means his pagan sons by his first wife might have something to say about their Christian half-brother.

To prevent a blood-feud between her step-sons and her son, Etain sends Niall to her father in Ireland, the previous High King of the Emerald Isle. Additionally, she gives him a pagan relic, Thor’s Ring, which she protected from the Viking raiders who captured her by putting it in her mouth. She had to keep it in her mouth until she was safely able to hide it and so remained silent on the voyage to Iceland and for some time afterward. This led the Icelanders to think she had been born mute, and so they called her the “Dumb Woman” out of respect (Arne Helgison would not have taken it kindly if they called her such a thing as an insult). Unable to protect the ring any longer from the Norse, who will use it as a rallying point against the Irish, Etain entrusts it to Niall’s care as she sends him to his grandfather in Ireland.

Niall’s story intersects with Brian’s as the Battle of Clontarf nears and the fate of Ireland hangs in the balance. At the same time, he must try to find a way to meet his father’s murderer in combat. The man has entered the service of a Norse lord, and facing him openly on the other man’s ground will mean death for others even if Niall wins. Yet all roads lead to Rome – unless they lead to Clontarf. It is a rip-roaring good book!

The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West ...

The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot* is an excellent book in many ways. I personally have found it very helpful for worldbuilding and contemplating how societies work. Certainly, as a fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I loved it for the perspective light it sheds on Professor Tolkien’s magnum opus. But that was secondary, in the main, to the insights it provided in regard to other matters!

The book has much to say on freedom and the human condition, and the fact that it expands on what The Lord of the Rings has to say makes it a true treasure. Aspiring writers would do well to look into this one. That is all I will say now, ere I take up far too much time over-praising this valuable philosophical resource, readers.

Finally, I will recommend the picture book Cat and Bear* by Carol Greene. This is a sweet, sweet children’s story, and I can still quote it from memory. It is one of the books my mother happily read to me when I was a child because we both enjoyed it. A very good story that makes use of the titular cat’s haughty attitude, I am somewhat sorry to see that it is not available in Kindle. Still, at least it is available for purchase. That is something to celebrate, certainly!

9 Must-Read Books on Japanese History - GaijinPot

Well, that was fun. I do believe I shall write another one of these, readers. This is a busy time for me at the moment, and I cannot quite muster the ability to create comprehensive posts right now. It is a matter of time limits more than anything else and, hopefully, I will be able to return to regular scheduled programming soon.

Until then, what are some books you enjoy that you would like to share? Drop them in the comments and see if someone else has read them. Who knows – maybe you have a book buddy online whom you have never encountered before!

*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.

If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna, Uranus, and Sol. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she recently had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue and Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue. Order them today!

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13 thoughts on “In rebus gustum, non potest esse disputandum de ad libros

  1. My list of likes is far too long to present here. But there are a few that appealed to me as a child and youth. Some of these are old children’s classics, such as “Heidi”, and “Black Beauty”. “Call it Courage” by Armstrong Sperry, and “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have yet to read “Call It Courage” and “A Little Princess,” but I remember I REALLY enjoyed “Heidi.” “Black Beauty” is one I read several times – I think each copy was abridged. I should check Gutenberg for an e-copy of that novel…


      1. “A Little Princess” has been adapted to the screen several times. The 1986 TV miniseries starring Amelia Shankley and Maureen Lipman is by far the most faithful to the book.

        “Call it Courage” is surprisingly short: It features a Polynesian boy who is afraid of the sea, but goes on a long perilous solo voyage in order to conquer his fear and prove his courage.

        Liked by 1 person

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