Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Week at the Library (22 February)

Pending Reviews: The Age of Louis XIV, Will Durant; Sharpe's Regiment, Bernard Cornwell; If Walls Could Talk, Lucy Worsley. The latter is badly overdue, but I've been waiting until the publishment date drew closer. I also didn't want to post it so soon following after Bill Bryson's At Home.
Currently Reading: At the moment I'm nibbling on a variety of books but I haven't gotten into any of them. I'm re-reading John Grisham's A Time to Kill: I probably haven't read it in ten years. I had high hopes for Steam, but it focuses exclusively on the race to build the first functioning steamboat and is not a history of steamboat traffic in general, and it does not touch on railroads.
Potentials:  I have a stack of potentials: The Age of Voltaire, Will and Ariel Durant; The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; Sharpe's Siege, Bernard Cornwell;  Energy Victory by Robert Zubrin; and The Twentieth Century by Howard Zinn, which I've owned for two years now but which has just inexplicably caught my interest. (It's one of my reserve books, unread titles which I like to have in case I go into a dry spell at the library.)

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‎"I need these men, otherwise a Regiment dies. I have to do something," he paused, looking for the right word, "dramatic." 
"He means foolish, Miss," Harper said helpfully.

Sharpe's Regiment, p. 252. Bernard Cornwell.

‎"'The application of science to nature', said Fontenelle in 1702, 'will constantly grow in scope and intensity, and we shall go on from one marvel to another. The day will come when man will be able to fly by fitting on wings to keep him in the air; the art will increase, ....till one day we shall be able to fly to the moon."

From "The Scientific Quest", The Age of Louis XIV, Will Durant.

‎"History is a fragment of biology -- the human moment in the pageant of species. It is also a child of geography -- the operation of land and sea and air, and of their forms and products, upon human desire and destiny."

Durant, "The Struggle for the Baltic".

‎"Like the French dramatists, Milton indulges a passion for oratory; everyone from God to Eve makes speeches, and Satan finds hellfire no impediment to rhetoric. It is disturbing to learn that even in hell we shall have to listen to lectures."

Durant, commenting on Milton's 'Paradise Lost'.

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