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…

Marathon Anniversary

A couple of years ago, I read The Histories by the father of history himself, Herodotus. It is a highly entertaining book that covers the history of the Persian empire leading up to the famous Persian War between Greece and Persia. It is here that we get the stories of the Battle of Marathon, the 300 Spartans, and Plataea among many other delightful rabbit trails and anecdotes. I read the Aubrey de Selincourt translation published by Penguin Classics, but I had been coveting the Landmark Edition of Herodotus ever since I heard it was published. Having read the Landmark Thucydides, I knew that it would be a real treat to be able to read the Landmark Herodotus as well. So, when my wonderful wife got me a Barnes and Noble gift card for Valentine's Day I ordered a copy which is now sitting on my shelf as I wait with eager anticipation to get to it.

In the meantime, I'm listening to a series of lectures put on by professors from various colleges in honor of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. There is about a lecture a month given live online for free, and the mp3s are afterward uploaded to the website for download. If Greek history interests you, check out the lectures here and get a copy of Herodotus' Histories.