09 November 2014

Clemen's bookshelf

Too often my bookshelf includes every flat surface in the house, including desks, tables, and floor. Too much that I want to read.

I have read a great many books as part of my job in the last few months. Probably the best was Robin Fleming's Britain After Rome. It tells us what it can soley from material remains about the disappearance of the urban lifestyle, the coming of the Anglo Saxons, the Vikings, and the Normans. Excellent, though I missed a discussion of DNA and language.

Then there ere several books for my History of Spain til 1492 class. Right now I am reading The Poem of the Cid for the seventh or eighth time. It's still fun, especially trying to puzzle out the medieval Castilian text. It is always better than The Song of Roland which is proof that even in the twelfth century the French were already French.

Best new book I have, and am almost finished with, is The Race for Paradise by Paul Cobb , the Islamic view of the Crusades, a concept they did not have btw. For them the First Crusade was just part of a broader counter attack by the Christians that had started in Spain and Sicily.

Halfway through The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History, and nearly done with Europe Before Rome by T. Douglas Price. Both excellent and worth reading.

On my Kindle I am finishing up Prescott's classic on Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. It is still hard to believe that a half blind Bostonian who had to learn Spanish and never went to Spain could have written this in the 1830s. As dated as it is, I am not sure it has been totally replaced, at least in English. And I keep chipping away at the Bible - after what seems like months if not years, I have reached the 50% marker. As far as I can tell, despite many difficulties, it has never been replaced either.

As for what I have been listening to, I can't even remember, though right now I am working on Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fisher. It is a fascinating look at where "American" culture came from and why it is so varied region by region.  Just finished Furies: War in Europe 1450-1700. It is one depressing read. Apparently war in those years was as destructive of the civil population as World War II, they just did it the old fashioned way, helped out by plague, starvation, and general all around human beastliness.

So you might say I have a few things to keep me occupied.


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