Running Through History

Last week, I realized I was falling behind in my reading goal, but I think I’ve caught up to where I need to be. History books have been on the agenda of late. I finished London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd, as well as The Year 1000: What Life was like at the Turn of the First Millennium, by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger. That was a quick and fairly entertaining read about Anglo-Saxon life just before the Norman conquest in 1066.

I also finished Old English Literature: Critical Essays, edited by R.M. Liuzza. This was a challenge that took me most of the summer to work through, the book is a collection of scholarly essays on the topic of the rather small collection of works that make up the sum total of surviving Anglo-Saxon literature. While I learned a lot about the literature itself, the book reveals a lot about modern scholarship from the past twenty years or so.

Gardner’s Art Through the Ages was a textbook I had for my first two semesters of art history in college, It’s been a while since I took art history, though, and there was a good deal of art we did not cover in the classes, so I decided I would read a chapter or so per week. I’m approaching the end of the first volume. Then I’ll start on the second volume.

Irish history is something I’ve had an interest in for quite some time, so I started The Oxford History of Ireland by R.F. Foster. I haven’t gotten very far into it (I’m still in the pre-Roman history), but I imagine I’ll make it through by the end of the month. The book so far contains a lot of information, but it’s more of an overview of a couple of thousand years of history.

In the realm of fiction, I started Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf recently, and have made it through about a third of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (one of my favorites).  Several of my friends are fans of The Mortal Instruments, and I’ve been considering reading them. I’m open to YA books, but love triangles are irritating, and dystopian wears on me nerves fairly quickly.  Still, I enjoyed The Hunger Games (I didn’t care for the present tense writing), since the themes were so big, I could overlook the Peeta/Katness/Gayle bit.

So what do you all think? Should I give The Mortal Instruments a try?


English: Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow. The...

I’m glad my house is nice than this. (Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow. The Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow is a recreation, on the same site, of one which existed around 420-650AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia))

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