The presidential library: 10 books Trump recommended this year

Donald Trump in the Oval Office on 27 August 2018. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The president has endorsed at least a dozen books this year – despite claiming he ‘doesn’t have the time’ to read – and they all have one thing in common.

When it comes to reading books, Donald Trump has protested: “I don’t have the time.”

Nonetheless, the president has made at least a dozen personal recommendations on Twitter this year for a shelf full of books written by his supporters and polemicists of the right and far right that he has found to be “excellent”, “fantastic” or even “great”.

Here are 10 of the president’s picks, and all of them have a common theme.

The Faith of Donald J Trump: A Spiritual Biography by David Brody and Scott Lamb

This examination of the “spiritual journey” of the thrice-married, tax-evading billionaire takes 375 pages to build the hopeful argument that by surrounding himself with people of faith, Trump has become religious. Failing that, the authors write: “Clearly, God is using this man in ways millions of people could never imagine. But God knows and that’s good enough.”

The reviews:

“Holy crap!” Los Angeles Times

“A very interesting read. Enjoy!” Donald J Trump

Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy by Stephen Moore and Arthur B Laffer PhD

Huge tax cuts boost economic growth, claims Arthur Laffer, who memorably scribbled his Laffer curve on a napkin over cocktails with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in 1974. It didn’t work out well for Kansas when they tried it and some of the optimism for the US economy is looking premature.

The authors, Trump’s economic advisers in 2016 and both still members of his economic advisory council, write: “The NeverTrumpers were fantastically wrong … No, he hasn’t ‘destroyed the world’s economy’. No, the stock market hasn’t crashed. No, there is no recession.”

The reviews:

“Two very talented men have just completed an incredible book on my Economic Policies.” Donald J Trump

The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump by Gregg Jarrett

Fox News legal analyst examines “Hillary Clinton’s deep state collaborators” who, he claims, include sacked FBI chief James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller.

The reviews:

“In defending Trump, Jarrett makes a number of claims that raised our eyebrows.” Politifact

“It is indeed a HOAX and WITCH HUNT, illegally started by people who have already been disgraced. Great book!” Donald J Trump

Liars, Leakers and Liberals by Judge Jeanine Pirro

Another Fox News presenter offers another takedown of “a conspiracy by the powerful and connected to overturn the will of the American people”. Perpetrators, she writes, include but are not limited to the FBI, NSA, Pentagon, Hollywood, “fake news media”, Democratic party, Fisa courts and some Republicans (in name only).

The reviews:

“Our great Judge Jeanine Pirro is out with a new book … which is fantastic. Go get it!” Donald J Trump

Why We Fight by Sebastian Gorka

The far-right former White House adviser and Breitbart writer is not only concerned about people ganging up on Trump but the threats to Judaeo-Christian civilisation posed by jihadists, communists, China or “tomorrow’s unknown threat”.

The reviews:

“A very talented man who I got to know well while he was working at the White House, has just written an excellent book … much will be learned from this very good read!” Donald J Trump

Read the complete list on The Guardian newspaper here. Hint: Most reviews are by Donny himself.

Find out where your country ranks for education.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students.

In 2015 over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies, took the internationally agreed two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy.

The results of the 2015 assessment were published on 6th December 2016.

While spending per student in primary and secondary education increased by almost 20% since 2006 in OECD countries alone, only 12 of the 72 countries and economies assessed in PISA have seen their science performance improve over this period. These include high-performing education systems, such as Singapore and Macao (China), and low-performers, such as Peru and Colombia.

Students’ performance in science and attitudes towards science.
  •  Singapore outperforms all other participating countries/economies in science. Japan, Estonia, Finland and Canada, in descending order of mean science performance, are the four highest- performing OECD countries.
  •  Some 8% of students across OECD countries (and 24% of students in Singapore) are top performers in science, meaning that they are proficient at Level 5 or 6. Students at these levels are sufficiently skilled in and knowledgeable about science to creatively and autonomously apply their knowledge and skills to a wide variety of situations, including unfamiliar ones.
Students’ performance in reading and mathematics
  •  About 20% of students in OECD countries, on average, do not attain the baseline level of proficiency in reading. This proportion has remained stable since 2009.
  •  On average across OECD countries, the gender gap in reading in favour of girls narrowed by 12 points between 2009 and 2015: boys’ performance improved, particularly among the highest-achieving boys, while girls’ performance deteriorated, particularly among the lowest-achieving girls.
  •  More than one in four students in Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Guangdong (China), Hong Kong (China), Singapore and Chinese Taipei are top-performing students in mathematics, meaning that they can handle tasks that require the ability to formulate complex situations mathematically, using symbolic representations.
Equity in education
  •  Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Hong Kong (China) and Macao (China) achieve high levels of performance and equity in education outcomes.
  •  Socio-economically disadvantaged students across OECD countries are almost three times more likely than advantaged students not to attain the baseline level of proficiency in science. But about 29% of disadvantaged students are considered resilient – meaning that they beat the odds and perform at high levels. And in Macao (China) and Viet Nam, students facing the greatest disadvantage on an international scale outperform the most advantaged students in about 20 other PISA-participating countries and economies.

Try PISA 2015 Science Test Questions… https://www.oecd.org/pisa/test/

 Compare the USA with another country… https://www.compareyourcountry.org/pisa/country/USA
Download the complete report in PDF herepisa-2015-results-in-focus-1
Volume I: Excellence and Equity in Educationpisa-2015-results-excellence-and-equity-in-education
Interactive Map of Results by Country and other data…

PDF’s of puzzles, picture ebooks for children, etc.

I’ve finally published all my puzzle ebooks, picture ebooks for children, fiction and nonfiction ebooks in PDF. Brother, did that take a while. Sheesh!

  • All my picture ebooks for children have an Appendix with large black and white graphics of characters in each story so you can print them out for coloring by your child or yourself.
  • All puzzle PDF’s have solutions in the back to save you paper so you only have to print out the puzzle or puzzles you want and check your solution with mine.
  • Both my cookbooks contain a large amount of information on herbs and spices.

Here is just a very small selection of the almost 40 PDF’s now available:

COVER spanish 2014 ws edition  2014 englsihWScover-small  cover2014gws-large

sudokuColl2014-SmallCover crosswordsconvernew  

covertreesmall2013  Icky Foods Make Me Sick  tattoocover-small

5lettercover2013  6lettersmall Star Sudoku Puzzles

What the heck is Gumroad? Gumroad is located in California and is an ecommerce replacement for PayPal.

I chose Gumroad rather than PayPal for my PDF’s because I saw a number of famous artists and non-profits using Gumroad. While nowhere near as famous as any of them I could still use the same ecommerce system and bypass PayPal.

Why buy direct through Gumroad? Your ebook is personalized with your name, contains no DRM, uses HTTPS like your bank or credit union for safe and secure transactions, they don’t store your credit card information and so your privacy is protected, and besides that each sale earns me a couple of extra pennies because Gumroad fees are lower than PayPal and Smashwords.

It takes a few seconds to load the Gumroad site as there is close to 40 covers to render. I’ve found scrolling down to bottom of page a couple of times seems to help speed up the process.

All 40 or so PDF’s are available at my famous low prices at Gumroad here. Take a peek. It only takes a second or two.

How do you decide to buy a book or ebook?

Recently I’ve read a number of articles and posts by authors, cover designers, book publishers which, when taken together, suggest readers only buy ebooks/books with great covers, readers only buy ebooks/books because the sample content is great and could care less about how the cover looks, readers only buy books/ebooks because of great reviews, readers seldom buy books/ebooks based only upon reviews, readers never buy cheaper ebooks, readers mostly buy cheap ebooks.

With all the contrary advice being bandied about I thought a place where readers themselves can quickly voice their book/ebook purchasing decisions would be a good start to adding some clarity amidst all the confusion.

There are five separate polls listed below. Please provide your answer to all five polls.

How important is a cover design to your decision?

Is sample content more important than a great cover in your purchase decision?

Does a high price mean high quality to you when purchasing a book or ebook?

The price I usually pay for an ebook is…

Book/ebook online reviews are….

 

Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading

Parents of minor children have a special relationship with libraries. Most believe libraries are very important for their children and provide extra resources that are not
available at home. Parents are also more likely than other adults to use libraries for
services ranging from book borrowing to accessing the internet to attending classes and events – and mothers are considerably more engaged with libraries than fathers.
 This is according to a recent Pew Internet Report by Carolyn Miller, Research Consultant, Pew Internet Project; Kathryn Zickuhr, Research Analyst, Pew Internet Project; Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet Project; and Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research, Pew Internet Project.
pew-05-lower-income-parents
pew-03-parents-would-use-new-lib-offerings
pew-02-parents-do-library-activities
You may read/download the full report from Pew at this link.

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released a new report titled Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits which took a special look at readers between the ages of 16 and 29 because interest in them is especially high in the library world and the publishing world.

As a publisher of ebooks I found the following tables quite interesting.

You may read more of this report, and/or download this report and other reports in this series, from Pew here.

Credit card companies want to censor what you read.

UPDATE: On March 13, 2011 PayPal modified their policies to allow legal fiction. Thanks to everyone who supported the rights of authors, publishers, and readers.

Credit card companies and/or financial institutions are telling PayPal and Smashwords authors what they can write and what readers can read.

PayPal told Smashwords that their crackdown on erotic fiction is necessary so that they can remain in compliance with the requirements of the banks and credit card associations (likely Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, though they didn’t mention them  by name).

(NOTE: PayPal’s parent company eBay sells material focusing on rape, incest or beastiality as I wrote here.)

I don’t read or publish erotic fiction, it’s not of interest to me. I do support the right of readers and authors to fight censorship.

According to Mark Corker of Smashwords fame, “PayPal is asking us to censor legal fiction.  Regardless of how one views topics of rape, bestiality and incest, these topics are pervasive in mainstream fiction.

We believe this crackdown is really targeting erotica writers.  This is unfair, and it marks a slippery slope.  We don’t want credit card companies or financial institutions telling our authors what they can write and what readers can read. Fiction is fantasy.  It’s not real.  It’s legal. ”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) have recently joined the discussion on this matter.

The EFF blogged about the issue a few days ago:  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/02/legal-censorship-paypal-makes-habit-deciding-what-users-can-read

ABFFE and NCAC issued a press release:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/83549049/NCAC-ABFFE-Letter-To-PayPal-eBay-re-Ebook-Refusal-2012

How you can help:

All writers and their readers should stand up and voice their opposition to financial services companies censoring books.  Authors should have the freedom to publish legal fiction, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want.

These corporations need to hear from you.  Pick up the phone and call them.  Email them.  Start petitions.  Sign petitions.  Blog your opposition to censorship.

Encourage your readers to do the same.  Pass the word among your social networks. Contact your favorite bloggers and encourage them to follow this story.  Contact your local newspaper and offer to let them interview you so they can hear a local author’s perspective on this story of international significance. If you have connections to mainstream media, encourage them to pick up on the story.

Encourage them to call the credit card companies and pose this simple question, “PayPal says they’re trying to enforce the policies of credit card companies.  Why are you censoring legal fiction?”

Contact information for Visa

Contact information for  American Express

Contact information for MasterCard

Contact information for Discover

Contact information for Ebay (owns PayPal)

Update: On March 7th MSNBC reported on this issue with credit cards.

UPDATE: Visa Writes “This is Not Our Doing”.

Ms. Madeleine Morris of BannedWriters.com wrote to Visa. Part of  the reply from Visa: “Relevant to this situation, the sale of a limited category of extreme imagery depicting rape, bestiality and child pornography is or is very likely to be unlawful in many places and would be prohibited on the Visa system whether or not the images have formally been held to be illegal in any particular country. Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.

You may read the complete article at the Banned Writers web site.

Christmas Tree for Santa & Icky Foods; 2 new ebooks for children.

I’ve published two new ebooks for children. Both contain color pictures as well as large black and white pictures, which can be printed out for children to color, at the end of the ebook.

You may view a free sample of any of my ebooks by visiting Smashwords. (Link opens in new window)

A Christmas Tree For Santa is another of my color picture ebooks for children. This story is about Forest Ranger ‘Ranger Rick’, who decides to take a Christmas tree to Santa because there are no trees at the North Pole. On the way, Ranger Rick runs into a thieving moose, a friendly polar bear, a vacationing penguin, Santa’s helpers, and Santa. This colorful picture book for children 2-7 also has large, black and white pictures in the Appendix for printing & coloring. This story is an adaptation of a puppet show I wrote many years ago.

You may download a free sample of “A Christmas Tree For Santa”, or purchase it for $0.99, from Smashwords here.

Icky Foods Make Me Sick

“Icky Foods Make Me Sick”is a colorful, picture coloring book is about a very young girl named Susie Snorz, who is very fussy about what she eats. Susie, who can’t stand to see her baby brother enjoy anything, gets really mad one day because her baby brother is enjoying something she thought would be icky. She learns new things can be good. Appendix contains large black and white pictures for coloring. Suits 2-5 year old.

You may download a free sample of “Icky Foods Make Me Sick”, or purchase it for $0.99, from Smashwords here.

Thelma and Ziggy

My latest ebook for children is now out, and is titled “Thelma and Ziggy”. The sub-title is “The butterfly who couldn’t keep her mouth shut.”

Thelma and Ziggy is an entertaining and educational color picture book with lots of large black and white pictures for children to color. Thelma Sludge is a rather plain-looking butterfly with a bit of an attitude problem. Thelma’s greatest desires are to be famous, and to have everyone notice her. She leaves home to become famous, but instead meets Ziggy Plopp. Ziggy is a fairy, who can have a bit of an attitude himself at times. Thelma tells Ziggy to make her famous, which he does, but later Thelma wished she’d kept her mouth shut. A short fantasy story for children 2 to 7 years old, and those young at heart.

You may read a free sample, or purchase the ebook for $0.99, here.

Thelma and Ziggy cover

Thelma and Ziggy. A color picture ebook for children