Monday, October 27, 2014


Martin Dugard, The Last Voyage of Columbus: Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain’s Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts of Swordfight, Mutiny, Shipwreck, Gold, War, Hurricane, and Discovery (New York & Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2005).

Also, Read by Simon Jones onTime Warner Audiobooks , for Nook and Kindle.


Recommended by Wilda Morris

I found the recording of Martin Dugard’s book, The Last Voyage of Columbus, on sale at my local public library. I almost passed it by because of the subtitle. But the price was right and I wanted something to keep me awake while I was driving.

And yes, it is “an account of swordfight, mutiny, shipwreck, gold, war, hurricane, and discovery.” It reads almost like a novel. Dugard has suggested that it is “an adventure book,” which is a good description.

The book begins with Columbus imprisoned in his beloved Santo Domingo on the Island of Hispaniola. His problems, Dugard says, “began ironically, with his greatest success.” His royal sponsors, Ferdinand and Isabella, who regretted the very generous contract they had made with him before his first voyage across the Atlantic, seemed in no hurry to extricate him from his current predicament.

Returned to Spain in chains, Columbus managed to convince the sovereigns that their representative, Bobadilla, had exceeded his authority. They ordered that his chains be removed, maybe in part because he was making such a display of them, and getting a lot of sympathy from the people as a result They summoned him to court to explain himself, sending a sizable sum of money to pay for his travels to Granada where they were stationed at the time. I won’t spoil the surprise of exactly what happened as he knelt before Isabella. Suffice it to say, he was not re-incarcerated, and eventually they backed his fourth and most thrilling, trying, and dangerous voyage.

In a discussion of the book at, the author says there are 900 books on Columbus listed on, but his was the first to focus almost entirely on this voyage. He developed some admiration for the Admiral of the Ocean Sea whose leadership was tested in so many ways on this fourth voyage, especially the year spent shipwrecked. Two of the four ships Columbus had started out with had been lost and the other two were riding very low in the water because ship worms were eating away at the wood. Columbus beached the boats and kept the crew members on board for an entire year until they were finally rescued. They could have been rescued much sooner, but officials in Hispaniola didn’t want to rescue Columbus, for fear he would try to retake his governorship of the island.

Want to read or listen to an exciting tale of adventure? I recommend The Last Voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


John Green, The Fault In Our Stars (Dutton Books, 2012). 

Also available in paperback and for Kindle and Nook. There is a movie version of the book (starring Shailene Woodley, , ) as well as a one minute, 33 second video of the author at


Recommended by Kevin A. Penrod, Jr.

This book is the best and most honest story of love and loss that I have ever read. It centers around a girl, Hazel Grace, who suffers from terminal cancer in her lungs. She is somewhat of a cynic that is until she runs into Augustus Waters at a cancer kid support group. And with that John Green takes us on a ride that, I believe, will last through the generations. Even with the inevitable conclusion that we are gonna come to the death of someone too young, I found myself unable to put this book down due to the amazing love story unfolding. I also found that this book teaches you to enjoy this life we have and the little moments of joy in it. A quote from this book that will always stick with me is "some infinities are bigger than others."

I highly recommend this book to all fans of love stories, young and old. I can't say this enough: The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books and maybe the top love story I have ever read.