The Eye Of Moloch – by Glenn Beck (2013)

The Eye Of Moloch
What do you do when life has kicked you down over and over, the world is against you, and your hope is gone? You retreat to lick your wounds, rest for a bit, then re-group to decide whether it’s worth doing battle again.

This is the condition at the beginning of “The Eye Of Moloch”. Six months have passed since the end of “The Overton Window”. The band of Founders’ Keepers is a defeated group. The fire seems to have gone out. But from the ashes of despair comes a small spark that re-ignites the flame. They become convinced that no matter how outnumbered they are, they just can’t quit.

The book is full of action, impossible situations, heroic characters, and government oppression. The story introduces another group of people who say they want to restore America, but are brutal and violent. They want to merge with the Founders’ Keepers group, which wants no part of them. Although the battle seems impossible to win, you will feel hope rising in you by the end of the book.



The Overton Window – by Glenn Beck (2010)

The Overton Window


Meet Noah Gardner, a young man who is living a comfortable life as a PR executive in his wealthy father’s Wall Street company. He knows many of the company secrets, and is savvy enough to know that there are a handful of individuals who control the American economy and the government.

When he meets Molly Ross, he has to re-think what he knows and believes. Ms. Ross is part of a movement of citizens who are trying to expose the corruption in the government and advocate that more power be returned to the people.

As the story progresses, you may find yourself going back and forth on whether various characters are the good guys or the enemies. When you see the truth, what’s the best thing to do? Do you join radicals in trying to overthrow the government, try to enlighten the general public in the hopes that an outcry will bring change, or continue with the flow because you believe society couldn’t handle the truth?

Although it sounds as if the story could be a put-down of one or the other major political party, the author never mentions either one as the cause of the problem. In fact, you aren’t even given information about whether there is a Democrat or a Republican president in the White House, or which party controls Congress. The book is fiction, but it certainly mirrors reality.

The Prize Winner Of Defiance, Ohio – by Terri Ryan (2001)

The Prize Winner Of Defiance Ohio

Evelyn Ryan was a woman married to an alcoholic with a bad temper. More often than not, a large portion of his paycheck was spent on booze before he even got it home. The Ryans had ten children, a large number even for the 1950s. What was a woman to do?

Evelyn’s options were limited, as their church didn’t permit divorce, and abusiveness was acceptable in those times. She did have a flair for writing, and she used it to enter contests for product jingles. Over the years, she won an astonishing amount of cash and prizes, which she used to feed the family and help pay the bills. This biographical tale, written by one of her daughters, is nothing short of amazing.

The story of the Ryan family was made into a movie in 2005. It was very well-done, and did not deviate from the book, although obviously there was much more detail in the book.


By the age of five, I had grown used to seeing Mom, pencil behind her right ear, spend hours each day at the ironing board. She often said that she did her best work while ironing, her hands working on one chore, her head on another. On the squared end of the board, where the iron stood upright, Mom kept an open notebook of current contest jingles and entries in various stages of completion…

Each evening after the last supper dish had been washed and put away – never an easy task since we used every plate in the house – Mom would grab her notebook and sit down at the end of the couch to produce more entries. Inevitably she fell asleep after a few minutes, notebook on her lap, postage stamps and other effluvia on contesting slipping out of the pages and onto the floor. Each new year, Mom started a new notebook to fill with entries that might go nowhere or all the way to the top.

Brain On Fire – by Susannah Cahalan (2012)

Brain On Fire

Susannah was a totally normal 24-year-old woman. She had a job she loved at the New York Post, a boyfriend that adored her, and an apartment of her own. Life was great. Then she noticed odd dots on her arm, and numbness on one side of her body. Despite efforts to conceal her condition, new symptoms began to appear – inability to concentrate, wild mood swings, paranoia, and finally seizures, which put her in the hospital.

The book title is a bit misleading, as it gives the impression that everything occurred in just one month. The “month of madness” refers to the month that she has no memory of – the month she was hospitalized while specialists tried to diagnose her. Susannah was able to piece together that month from her doctors, medical records, her parents’ journal, her boyfriend’s recollections, and the hospital surveillance camera pictures. The tale is almost too bizarre to be believed. Recovery was slow, and stretched out for more than a year. Reading this book will make you thankful for a normally functioning brain.

[Kristy said] “How are you?”

I struggled to conjure the loquaciousness that had once been a primary aspect of my personality, but in its place found a deep blankness. My inner life was so jumbled and remote that I couldn’t possibly summon up breezy conversation; instead, I found myself focusing on how flushed my face had become and the pool of sweat forming in my armpits. I realized then how great a skill it is to be social.

“Gooooooood.” I drawled out the word like I had enough marbles in my mouth for a game of mancala. My mind continued to circle around that great emptiness. Say something! I screamed inside, but nothing came. In the silence, I felt the sun beat down on my shoulders. Kristy stared at me with concern. After an awkward moment, she waved her hand and explained that she was running late.

Promises To Keep – by Ann Tatlock (2011)

Promises To Keep


We all make promises, and then try to keep them. In this story by Ann Tatlock, a mother promises to protect her children from harm, and ends up fleeing to another town to get away from her abusive husband. The story is told from the viewpoint of her 11-year-old daughter Roz.

There are multiple story lines in the novel:
Roz finds an old lady sitting on their front porch, insisting that this is her house. The woman (Tillie) ends up becoming a huge part of Roz’s life, and teaches her about God.
Roz’s mom has to adjust to being a single parent, something she has never had to do before.
Roz’s dad will do anything to get his family back, and Roz is torn in her feelings for him.
Roz befriends a black girl about her age, even though it not socially acceptable.

This is not only a good book to read, it is also a good one to listen to on audio. The reader is an older woman, who sounds just like what you think Tillie should sound like. Either way, this story is a winner.

The President Is A Sick Man – by Matthew Algeo (2011)

The President Is A Sick Man


How far does your right to medical privacy go? If you are seriously ill, who has the right to know? Does that right depend on who you are? In current times, HIPAA promises us that our medical conditions will be kept confidential, and information will only be released if we give consent.

Back in 1893,Grover Cleveland was the president, and he had a growth on the roof of his mouth. His personal doctor believed it to be a cancerous growth, and assembled a team of surgeons to remove it in a secret operation. The president didn’t want to alarm the public. Also, he wanted to be able to push for a return to the gold standard of currency, and feared he would appear weak if it was known he had cancer.

Newspaper reporters held the opposite view. They felt that since the president was leading the nation, citizens had the right to know if he was too ill to do his job. The entire book is basically the struggle between President Cleveland’s doctors trying to keep the surgery a secret, and the press trying to reveal the truth.



Among The Hidden – by Margaret Peterson Haddix (1998)

Among The Hidden

What would life be like if no one but your family could know of your existence? Luke has to remain hidden at home, and has never known anyone other than his parents and older brothers. His whole world consists of the house he lives in, and what he can see through ventilation slits in the attic. Luke desperately wants to be able to go outside, meet people, have friends, and do what everyone else can do, but the government has outlawed having more than two children in any family.

This book reminds me of the Old Testament story of Moses being hidden by his parents to spare him from the Pharaoh’s decree that male Hebrew babies be killed by throwing them in the river. Although this book is short and labeled as children’s literature, I would disagree. The main character is a child, but the themes of totalitarian government, free will, repression of speech, and infanticide are more suited to teens and adults.

“Among The Hidden” quickly pulls you into the storyline, and makes you feel tremendous compassion for young Luke. The book ends in uncertainty, but six more books follow, meandering here and there, but eventually giving a satisfying ending to Luke’s story.