Reading List:February

O great tragedy that is TIME. Methodical and unthinking in its passage, without care nor regard of the moments it swallows in its incessant wake! Mighty did the LORD fashion Time, that it should yet point to His ceaselessness in its own guileless manner.

Now, upon the close of February, let me count the days and pages I have, myself, swallowed with enthusiasm likened unto that of a succulent feast – though many of the words and ideas would often catch in my throat.

Thus follows the chronicle of this month`s well-read texts:

How Children Learn by John Holt

Given to me by a colleague, I was told that this book had a huge impact on how she approached the educating of children – and I concede that there is certainly some helpful insights contained within. However, I feel that much of what is covered could be just as easily learned with any amount of “on the job” experience – so long as the individual had even a modicum of observational adaptation.

Nevertheless, sometimes it is helpful to have an “expert” validate what could pass for good old common sense. With respect to my colleague, it is not always easy to be sure that one is following the best course of action – especially when your occupation concerns other people`s children. I can see how the author`s explanations and reasoning would be helpful in this sense.

The Exploits of Xenophon by Prof. Geoffrey Household

A fantastic primer of the great “warrior-historian” of Antiquity: Xenophon, compiled by Oxford professor Geoffrey Household.

Organized in an efficient and easy-to-read manner, this book`s primary weakness is also, in another sense, one of its main strengths. While by no means exhaustive, it skips around a lot and attempts to give the reader a smooth overall picture without treading too deeply into the copious details – which leaves a lover of history (and all things Classical) like myself panting for more.

However, it makes for quick and pleasant reading; and can be quite helpful in introducing the initiated to one of the great luminaries of ancient civilization.

The Near East: 10,000 Years of History by Isaac Asimov

Though not as well known as his science fiction works. Asimov published several volumes on Ancient and Biblical history, the both of which overlap in this tight and engaging work. While not terribly in-depth nor entirely cursory, Asimov does an excellent job at tracing the span of the last ten (or so) millennia of civilized history.

While his Atheistic presuppositions are impossible to disguise, he nevertheless refers to the Biblical record (both Old and New Testaments) in an obliging tone which betrays the amount of credence he invests in their historical reliability – insofar as they document particular events of socio-political/cultural significance. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, to be sure, but, considering the parties involved, it was refreshing.

I cannot say that I discovered anything new or was introduced to information or proceedings that I was not previously familiar, but the author`s evident enthusiasm for the material is contagious and I much enjoyed going back over it all.

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

One of my single favorite works of Literature. The story of Prospero, a great and powerful wizard banished to a distant island. Miranda, his naive and tenderhearted daughter. A storm and a shipwreck. Treachery and Justice and ultimate redemption. The “three unities” of classical Drama as well as a curious allegory of the implications of a burgeoning colonial empire.

I have never discussed the distinct personal identification I feel towards the character Prospero, and I will not do so now – except to say that I empathize and identify with him in a way that is almost unrivaled by any other.

Apostle Paul`s Epistle to the Romans

A gigantic work, the magnum opus of Apostle Paul. Moreover, I would echo Martin Luther`s sentiment that it is well worth ones while to not only memorize the Epistle to the Romans but to occupy oneself with it as a “daily bread” of the Soul.

Most of what I know and understand about the Christian faith has come courtesy of reading this lovely work, and never have I drank deep of its words without coming away refreshed in wisdom.

While the days of this month were yet fewer, I was still quite able to match the intake of the previous month – even as much of the material was comparatively dense.

Perhaps I have incidentally stumbled upon some logic that enables me to read more with less time?! Only perhaps…

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