On Friday, I finished Nigel Warburton’s book A Little History of Philosophy, with each of the 40 chapters covering a philosopher, their major ideas, and how they fit into philosophy’s long history starting with Socrates and Plato. I found my way to this book through a somewhat wandering path that included stops at cognitive behavior therapy, Pompeii, travel, present-day Rome, Marcus Aurelius and Ancient Rome. This book was a great introduction to a wide range of philosophers and did a good job explaining – or trying to – their beliefs. Some of these people’s ideas were very abstract. Sadly, it did not include Parmenides’ doctrine that motion is simply an illusion, the only lesson I remember from a required college philosophy course.
Still on an ancient Rome kick, I then picked up A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome. If I drew a Venn diagram of of my favorite type of book, the overlap would be history/murder/humor. Author Emma Southon ticks all these boxes, writing about Roman crime and punishment with a slightly snarky wit. It’s early days, but I’m enjoying it very much so far.
I wanted to read more fiction and more diverse authors in 2021. I took inspiration from this New York Times article about 2021 books in translations and pre-ordered a bunch of them for my Kindle. I’m halfway through one of those books now, the incredibly rich, witty and dark The Slaughterman’s Daughter: A Novel by Yaniv Iczkovits. This is one of those novels that immediately envelopes you in another time and place, one that’s filled with vivid details and mesmerizing characters in unimaginable, yet fully believable, situations. I’m reading this one very slowly in the hopes that it never ends.
I’d love to know what you’ve been reading this weekend – share in the comments, friends!