I completely adored Aslan’s last book, Zealot, which examined the historical evidence we have for what Jesus of Nazareth, the historical Jesus, would have been like when you strip away all the modern beliefs and assumptions. It was incredibly fascinating and Aslan took us through the evidence piece by piece, drawing conclusions or best guesses along the way. Although I enjoyed God, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting the same measured look at historical evidence and then conclusions drawn from that evidence. What it really was was a look at some solid historical evidence and a […]
The number one thing I learned from How To Be A Tudor, by charming and intelligent historian Ruth Goodman, is that I’m glad I’m not a Tudor.
This book made me quite upset. Nikolai Vavilov was a man whose name deserved greater recognition. As a botanist and geneticist in the early 20th century, he characterised the origins of domestic crops, put forward the law of homologous variation (for laypeople, this is where you expect to see similar mutations in related species), and stared the earliest seed banks. And he came to a tragic end when he ran afoul of Stalin and one of his pet cranks. Under Lenin, Vavilov had managed to develop a decent career. Not only had he been granted the privilege of travelling outside […]
One of my colleagues asked me to read this book along with him to help him prepare a presentation for his religions and sociology course, and I wanted to like it, for his sake and my own, but I was hands-down the absolute worst audience for this book. This is a volume for someone who’s coming in with no prior knowledge, or knows a little bit about a lot of different religions. I unfortunately know an iceberg’s worth of information on my own religion, and about a thimbleful on everything else. And this isn’t to say the book is bad, […]
This short (115 page) treatise comprises two lectures which noted Cambridge academic and classicist Mary Beard delivered in 2014 and 2017. In these lectures, “The Public Voice of Women” and “Women in Power,” Beard examines the classical roots of the silencing of women’s voices and its effect on women in the modern Western world. Ultimately, in considering how women might truly become “voices of authority,” Beard suggests a reconsideration of “power” itself. In the first essay, Beard takes the reader back 3,000 years to demonstrate the deep roots of western culture’s silencing of the female voice. For ancient Greeks and […]
Working in an independent bookstore means you get to be exposed to many different genres, but I always go back to my favorite: children’s literature. Being a fiction gal means non-fiction is rarely fun. But Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebel is grand fun. Fifty-two women who have shaped the world by doing things “women are not supposed to do” are introduced with one page biographies. Most were women rarely (if ever) heard of. A few (such as Bessie Coleman) are in the public eye, some are in certain circles known (such as Annie Edson […]
In May 2016, a friend I met through Ravelry brought my attention to a Kickstarter for a book her friend Karie Westermann was writing called This Thing of Paper, with knitting designs inspired by Johannes Gutenberg and the printing press. Even with a planned publication date of April 2017, I knew I wanted this book. It’s a good thing I was patient because I didn’t receive it until December. Westermann divided the book into three sections, as she had layed out in her Kickstarter proposal. Story 1: Manuscript. The story of handmade manuscripts and the people who worked on making them. […]
This book goes wide (not deep) on a very important topic, and should be required reading for everyone. That phrase gets thrown around a lot when talking about “important books”, but I’m seriously for serious here. Kendi has written THE comprehensive book about the history of racism in America, tracing it all the way from its roots in the 16th century through modern day, and he covers it from top to bottom, hitting on every major point you can probably think of along the way. It’s an invaluable resource not just for scholarly purposes, but for real life ones as well. […]