Alfred King: “An Avid Reader All My Life”

This post is part of our Guest Picks series, featuring members of our library community sharing their favorite books and movies.

Alfred King is an excellent choice to be this month’s Guest Picks columnist, as he also reviews books for The Free Lance-Star newspaper, where he often writes on new non-fiction, including politics, sports, and history, as well as thrillers. “An avid reader all my life,” is how he describes himself, and he has helped Central Rappahannock Regional Library in turn by serving on its board.

Community and Family Involvement

He and his wife Mary Jane moved to Fawn Lake subdivision in Spotsylvania about 20 years ago. The couple soon became active in their new community, working with a Civil War group to save land near the Chancellorsville Battlefield from development. Mr. King served on Spotsylvania’s Board of Equalization, as well as holding the position of chairman of the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee. Although he took up golfing at one time, he has found he is better at bowling and also attends a weekly men’s Bible study at Fawn Lake. Mary Jane became involved with the local garden club, and they enjoy contract bridge, as well as spending time with their daughters and son and their families, particularly in the Outer Banks.

His Love of Learning Started Early

As a child growing up in Chicago, Mr. King visited their regional library frequently, earning a gold star in their summer program as a 5th grader. As he grew older, leisure reading favorites included Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as Mickey Spillane’s crime novels, featuring P.I. Mike Hammer, which he particularly enjoyed for their action and excellent descriptions.

As a “strong believer in a liberal education,” rather than study a trade in college, Mr. King taught himself accounting, eventually going on to Harvard Business School. One of the courses he enjoyed most as an undergraduate was Byzantine History.

Working Days

During his career, Mr. and Mrs. King migrated to Racine, Wisconsin, and Saddle River, New Jersey. Among his other positions, he worked for an accounting trade association and was responsible for producing its magazine, as well as reviewing manuscripts and writing book reviews. Mr. King became a business appraiser, which is to say, he determined the value of businesses as a professional service. Over his career, he estimates he valued over $100 billion dollars of assets. He has occasionally taught accounting courses as an adjunct and enjoyed doing so. An author of six technical books on cash management and valuation, he has also written more than 100 articles for professional publications.

Still Reading and Learning

Mr. King continues to be an avid reader. He finds the staff at our Salem Church Branch are extremely helpful and listens to The Teaching Company’s series of college-level educational CDs—an excellent way to keep learning while on the go.

Below are Mr. King’s personal reading recommendations for CRRL customers:

"No comment necessary." Also available online, in large print, and in other versions.

"Keeping current on business." Mr. King also likes Forbes and Fortune magazines.

"Modern history is fascinating to me."

"How my favorite team finally won the World Series after 108 years."

"What’s happening in global markets." In this category, Mr. King also enjoys reading Spectator magazine. Available in print, as well.

"Latest thriller is always welcome." Also available on audio CD.

"Benefits and perils of modern medical research."

"Keeps me informed of new, good books to read." Mr. King also enjoys the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books.

 

"Handling grief after the death of a loved one."

"Excellent summary of Roman history." Also available as an eBook and to download on audio.

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