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…

The Direction of God's Story

I've often said that people who think the world is getting worse as time goes by should just read a few history books. Apparently Jacob Abbott agrees. Writing of the Ptolemies in his biography of Cleopatra he states:

"We shall have something to say in the next chapter in respect to the internal condition of the country while these violent men were upon the throne. In the mean time, we will here only add, that whoever is inclined, in observing the ambition, the selfishness, the party spirit, the unworthy intrigues, and the irregularities of moral conduct, which modern rulers and statesmen sometimes exhibit to mankind in their personal and political career, to believe in a retrogression and degeneracy of national character as the world advances in age, will be very effectually undeceived by reading attentively a full history of this celebrated dynasty, and reflecting, as he reads, that the narrative presents, on the whole, a fair and honest exhibition of the general character of the men by whom, in ancient times, the world was governed."

(Jacob Abbott, Cleopatra)

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