Tag Archives: the Great Books

the Iliad of Homer: first epic of the West

The Iliad by Homer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Western literature kicks off with the clash of civilizations. Crafting an epic of my own, I got the idea of exploring the great epics of Western literature in more detail. … Continue reading

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how astrology works, part 3: don’t do your own thing

In my last post I said that it was my study of the art of storytelling that eventually brought me to an understanding of why astrology works. Science might be able to show that astrology works—this is what Carl Jung attempted … Continue reading

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The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli: it’s a jungle out there

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli My rating: 4 of 5 stars This short textbook on how to rule a state is still the playbook for politics. Looking in my Webster’s, I see the following definition of Machiavellianism: the political theory … Continue reading

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Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville My rating: 4 of 5 stars An erudite adventure story whose progress is slowed by digressions on the art and science of whaling. I first read this book in 1980. Conscious of reading a classic, and … Continue reading

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Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s long, it’s comic, and it’s fictional, but beyond that, this work defies categorization. As I recall, the first I ever heard of … Continue reading

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what I’m up to: reading The Republic again

How time slips away. When I launched this website 2 years ago, I intended to post often; indeed I intended it to be a kind of online record of the thoughts that right now I still keep mostly in word-processing … Continue reading

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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra My rating: 4 of 5 stars This long, loose, playful series of adventures poses a challenge to idealists, whatever their time or place. I bought and read my Penguin Classics paperback of Don … Continue reading

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Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais

Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais My rating: 3 of 5 stars An oversized book about oversized men overindulging in larger-than-life adventures. I first read this book in 1980 or 1981 when a roommate had a copy. I had already … Continue reading

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The Histories by Herodotus

The Histories by Herodotus My rating: 3 of 5 stars This chatty account of the first great clash of East and West demands an interest in, and preferably a knowledge of, the people and places of that time. I acquired … Continue reading

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The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky My rating: 3 of 5 stars Too much of Dostoyevsky’s “greatest work” is protracted melodrama. As I type these words there are 4,116 reviews of this book on Goodreads. I’m writing this one to … Continue reading

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