Category Archive: Al

Jan 01 2015

Theogony / Works and Days / Shield by Hesiod

Hesiod’s poems, along with Homer’s epics, can be considered the bible of the ancient Greeks, but Hesiod’s works are far more religious in nature than Homer’s, both in theology and in moral doctrine. Theogony describes the origin of the gods and the world. I am not sure if Hesiod is simply recounting basic accepted beliefs …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/01/01/theogony-works-and-days-shield-by-hesiod/

Dec 31 2014

A History of Britain Volume II: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 by Simon Schama

The first half of this book, on the English Civil War, the Commonwealth, and the early Restoration, was rather difficult to get through. The book really takes off in the final chapter, in which Schama explores the problems and contradictions of Britain’s imperial destiny. With consummate irony he describes the way in which British orators …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/31/a-history-of-britain-volume-ii-the-wars-of-the-british-1603-1776-by-simon-schama/

Dec 28 2014

The Republic by Plato

Plato covers a range of subjects in this rambling work, but the chief one is the problem of what constitutes the best society. Naturally, Plato thinks that in any ideal society, the philosophers will be in charge. His Republic resembles Thomas More’s Utopia in that it would be a place where the citizens were incomparably …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/28/the-republic-by-plato/

Dec 27 2014

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

This play was much more serious than I remembered it being. It is certainly not a play about nothing. The verbal fencing between Benedick and Beatrice is priceless, but there is much more to the play than that, and there is more dark subject matter than light comedy in it. Thankfully the evil is thwarted …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/27/much-ado-about-nothing-by-william-shakespeare/

Dec 27 2014

The Epic of Gilgamesh

This is the third time I have read this story, and it never fails to amaze me with its power and its timelessness. Gilgamesh is the first legendary hero known to history, and like a true legendary hero his story is tragic. He achieves great things, but loses his best friend, and is haunted by …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/27/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/

Dec 25 2014

The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power by Robert Caro

This is a fascinating story, in a way that only a true story can be. It is the story of a young man for whom ambition was the guiding force in his life from earliest boyhood. To hear Caro tell it, Johnson was planning to be president when he was just a boy growing up …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/25/the-years-of-lyndon-johnson-the-path-to-power-by-robert-caro/

Dec 24 2014

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

I always thought this play was pretty silly, but this time around I appreciated what good fun it is. “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” The seeming randomness of the direction love’s arrows take works mayhem in a way that is all too real even with the element of magic thrown in, but since this …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/24/a-midsummer-nights-dream-by-william-shakespeare/

Dec 23 2014

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

This book seriously freaked me out. It is a reminder, as only a science fiction novel can be, of what a tenuous thing subjective reality is. I have never done acid, but based on the testimony of others I would say that this book resembles an acid trip in that it is both mind-altering and …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/23/the-lathe-of-heaven-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

Dec 19 2014

Persian Fire by Tom Holland

I have read other books on the Greco-Persian wars, but this was the most readable account I have come across, and the rendering of the battle of Thermopylae was the best I have ever read. The courage and resourcefulness of the Greeks is well documented, but the author also gives the Persians their due, arguing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/19/persian-fire-by-tom-holland/

Dec 16 2014

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

I just finished this book, and now I am almost speechless. I laughed out loud through the first half of it, which now seems irreverent and almost blasphemous considering the way it turned out, but about halfway through it I perceived that it was heading toward some kind of mysterious and profound resolution, and after …

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