- Colonization: Second Contact, Harry Turtledove
- The Winds of Change and Other Stories, Isaac Asimov
- Life in a Medieval Village, Frances and Joseph Gies
- The Art of Living, Epictetus -- trans. Sharon Leben
Next I continued reading the Gies' medieval history series with Life in a Medieval Village. The Gies' approach was similar to previous works -- using a case-studying, quoting heavily from primary sources, and weaving an enjoying and fairly interesting narrative. I didn't find this one qite as captiving as others -- like last week's Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel -- but perhaps those more excellent ones have spoiled me. We'll see.
Next I read a collection of short stories by Isaac Asimov called The Winds of Change and Other Stories. There were 21 stories in all, and I found all but one of them to be quite enjoyable. There's humor here as well as Asimov's brand of technological "thriller" stories. Quite enjoyable. Some were repeats, but I don't mind re-reading Asimov's stuff. Even if I know what is going to happen, his stories are such a delight to read for me.
Lastly I read a compilation of two works by Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher. The works were translated into modern English by Sharon Leben. The book is rather short (I finished it in two sittings) but very page is full of wisdom. The discourses are simply worded, quite frank, and exceptionally compelling to the student of philosophy. I was thrilled to read it. Epictetus advocates a life of virtue and self-control, saying that philosophy is a matter of everyday living -- not something that should be limited to religious instructors and professional philosophers. Exceptional stuff, I think.
Pick of the Week: The Art of Living, Epictetus, trans. Sharon Leben
Quotation of the Week: Anything from The Art of Living. Here's a sample: "Those who seek wisdom come to understand that even though the world may reward us for wrong or superficial reasons, such as our physical appearance, the family we come from, and so on, what really matters is who we are inside and what we are becoming. [...] The overvaluation of money, status, and compeetition poisons our personal relations. The flourishing life cannot be acheieved until we moderate our desires and see how superficial and fleeting they are. "
- Armageddon in Retrospect, Kurt Vonnegut
- Women in the Middle Ages, Frances and Joseph Gies
- Colonization: Down to Earth, Harry Turtledove