Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

No Sticks-in-the-Mud Allowed

This is an interesting excerpt from an article by Gilbert Highet in the Spring 1969 issue of Horizon magazine entitled Greeks and Romans at their Ease.

As far as I know, the Jews were the first people to introduce, not simply seasonal festivals, but regular periods of leisure for everybody, rich and poor alike. Once every seven days, on the Sabbath, "thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter," and the commandment goes on through the servants and the livestock and even the visitors from outside. This is real leisure: a blessed day of rest. Later the rule was extended, and the Jews were commanded not only to do no work on the Sabbath, but to enjoy it: wear their best clothes, eat three meals, and rejoice. It is a great gift, the Sabbath.