Feb 21, 2016
Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
by Dan Jones
Last year was the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. To commemorate the occasion, LibriVox recorded a collection of essays — (Magna Carta Commemoration Essays, edited by Henry Elliot Malden) — which had originally been published on the 700th Anniversary in 1915. I’ve got to admit that this was some of the toughest reading I’ve ever done for LibriVox. Dry, scholarly, and littered with snatches of Latin and French. True, I did learn a lot from it, and found it edifying. But it was learning purchased at the cost of much mental sweat, rather like being back in a tough college course all over again.
Now, months later, browsing through the “new nonfiction” display at my library branch, I discovered this account of the Magna Carta by Dan Jones. This one kept me engrossed all the way through, without ever finding it a struggle. My sister Meg and I used to say that we “liked our history with the people in it” — and that pretty much explains the difference. The book we read for LibriVox last year was all analysis and no people. This new book is filled with people, their desires and activity and personality. Yes, there’s also analysis, but that follows in the wake of the human story.
Jan 2, 2016
Book Lists, Miscellaneous
This is a little game they’ve been playing every New Year over at LibriVox. The fun is to try filling in the blanks on the questionnaire using only the titles of books you’ve read in the past year.
Jan 1, 2016
Book Lists, LibriVox
Over at LibriVox, the folks have a thread going in which we are invited to keep a running list of the books we are reading. It’s a great way to keep track of titles that would probably get lost in my increasingly porous memory. Over here on my blog, I’m only writing about a random selection of books, not everything I’ve read. For my complete reading list, here’s the link to that LibriVox thread:
LibriVox 2016 Book Lists Thread (This should take you directly to my book list. By scrolling up and down the thread, you can also read other folks’ lists, which is a great way to come up with other reading suggestions.)
(Book list last updated April 1st 2016).
Jan 1, 2016
Book Lists, LibriVox, Miscellaneous
As you may have noticed, the sticky-post at the top of this blog has changed. The 2015 LibriVox Book List Thread has been updated for the last time. To avoid having to click over to the LibriVox site to see that list again, I’m posting it here for future reference:
(Meanwhile, the new sticky-post above contains the updated link to the current year’s Book List in progress.)
57 print books read in 2015 —
and 52 audio books listened to.
What I Read:
Sep 23, 2015
All the Men in the Sea
by Michael Krieger
“Could not put this down” is what I said about this book to co-workers who saw me reading it on break and asked if it was any good. It’s a gripping true story, told in a way that lets me experience events from inside the skins of the ordinary men involved in them. An anxious teenaged deck-hand, a dogged tugboat captain, a fatherly ship’s-storekeeper, an experienced deep-sea diver — one by one, they become real to me. This was an examination of an accident on a work-site, but it was never impersonally statistical. It stayed grounded in the lived experiences of individuals, and the story is always given to the reader through the eyes of human beings. That may be the reason why it grabbed me the way it did. As my sister has pointed out before, I tend to prefer my history “with the people in.”