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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Week 4’s book: What about Hitler?

Book: What about Hitler? Wrestling with Jesus’s Call to Nonviolence in an Evil World, by Robert W. Brimlow Grade: B- Disclaimer: This may be an unfair grade, since this is my first venture into the theology of pacifism. I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the practice and philosophy of nonviolence as I’ve worked my way through […]

Yep, it’s Charlemagne.

You guys are good. The painting is by Jules Laure (1806-1861). It shows Charlemagne receiving manuscripts from his tutor, the monk Alcuin, around 781. Charlemagne is a good choice for the cover of the History of the Medieval World; he represents one of the main themes of the book, the growing tendency of kings to […]

And since this is actually supposed to be a blog about the History of the (Whole) World…

I should probably update you on the progress of the second book in the series. My editor has sent back the first 200 pages with his comments written in. It’s sitting on my desk…I have to nerve myself to tackle it this week… I’m working on the maps for the middle section of the book […]

Now on the Kindle. All 800 pages of it.

As of this week, you can plan on reading the History of the Ancient World on the Kindle. It’s a lot of pages for an ebook, isn’t it? I have a Kindle but haven’t used it as much as I expected to (mostly I take it when I’m flying, since it’s light). It drives me […]

Week 3…the chick lit days

Books: Various Collective Grade: Hmmm… I’m actually a chapter or so into next week’s book, a set of theological essays on God and genocide called Show Them No Mercy, and I’m finding it enlightening. But I started it last week and then, for various reasons, needed a week of just plain fun reading. So instead […]

Seven degrees in the morning

Seven degrees. That was the temperature this morning. Seven degrees. And this is tidewater Virginia. Seven degrees. Yesterday it didn’t get above freezing, and everything is ice this morning; all the outdoor faucets are frozen up. The younger children hauled hot water from the house to the chickens and the dogs and the rabbits, and […]

Week 2, the second book: The Man in the High Castle

Book: The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick Grade: A- Why: The first fully successful alternative history. Japan and Germany triumph in World War II, but a novelist living in Japan-controlled Cheyenne has written a bestselling alternative history in which Germany lost. Fearing German reprisals, the writer has retreated to a guarded […]

The harrow and me

This past week, we finished off the old year by finally having Christmas with my parents, who have been in Seattle with my brother and his family. We kept their presents under the tree until they got back. A multigenerational household has its difficulties–my parents have to put up with noise overhead, messes in the […]

Week 1, the first book: How Fiction Works

Book: How Fiction Works, by James Wood Grade: C Why: Too much micro-analysis, too little attention to the whole; too much scorn for the “popular,” too much delight in his own prose (“Nearly all of Muriel Spark’s novels are fiercely composed and devoutly starved”), way too much jargon (“Characterological relativity”? Really?). Wood is intensely interested […]

The new year’s tasks

Today was my first back-at-work day since the holidays; we took the week of New Year’s as a holiday, and Monday is our family day, so Tuesday is my Monday as far as work goes. So I thought I’d start the year out right by sharing part of my to-do list with you. Along with […]