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…

This Sounds Eerily Familiar

“But Isocrates was too far-sighted to be at ease… [The Athenians] were thinking, he said, not of their duties as citizens, but of their rights. They were looking to the state to guarantee not freedom as in the old days, but privilege. Great danger lay in that course. Men bent on self-interest were always short-sighted. They could rise to long views, to where they could see the good of the whole country, only when they looked beyond their own affairs, and the state in which men did not do that is doomed. ‘You have no breadth of view,’ he told the Athenians. ‘You do not give equal attention to the men who address you, but really listen only to those who support your desires…you think those better friends of the people who dole out money to them than those who serve the state disinterestedly.’” From The Echo of Greece by Edith Hamilton

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