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May 2011 - The Renaissance
The Borgias and Their Enemies - Christopher Hibbert
April 2011 - Religion
A Letter Concerning Toleration - John Locke
The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare
March 2011 - 1940s
Blackout - Connie Willis
February 2011 - Love and Marriage
The Four Loves - C. S. Lewis
Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
You've got a great month of reading ahead! Emma is my favorite Austen, and Can You Forgive Her was my first Trollope.
It will be my first Trollope as well. I'm just waiting for the ice to clear out so I can get to the library. Although I think there may be a mass market copy of Emma with obscenely small print down in the basement somewhere.
The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis
A perfect book for the love theme. I'd started this book several times before and never finished it (I was in middle school and found the chapter on Eros a bit awkward, even though it really has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with romance.) Being as this is C. S. Lewis, the book is, of course, brilliantly written and well worth reading again and again.
What else can I really say? A brilliant exposition of what it means to love.
I haven't thought about The Four Loves in a long time. I love the way C.S. Lewis writes.
The Four Loves is amazing. I've read several of Lewis' nonfiction works, but I'm pretty sure this one is my favorite. :)
Romeo and Juliet by C. S. Lewis
How did I ever make it this far in life without reading this play? I suspect it's because it's almost impossible not to become familiar with the plot. Anyway, I don't think this is one of Shakespeare's best plays, but that's probably partly because I already knew how it was going to end up.
Blackout by Connie Willis
I absolutely loved this book. It's set in England (mostly London) during World War II and features some of Willis' time-traveling Oxford historians (best job description ever!). I read To Say Nothing of the Dog last year, and although Blackout isn't nearly as funny, its equally worth reading. The only frustrating aspect of the book is the way each chapter focuses on a different one of the three main characters. Essentially, this gives each chapter a cliffhanger ending.
Up next is the sequel, All Clear, as soon as I finish One of Our Thursdays is Missing (which has an earlier library due date). Hooray for alternate histories and time travel! :)
To Say Nothing of the Dog was wonderfully funny! Be sure to read All Clear, the conclusion to Blackout.
I'm thinking for April I'll finish up God in the Dock (got through ~1/3 of it in March) and read The Merchant of Venice. Looking over my bookshelves, A History of the Church in England would be a logical choice, and I could get it off my shelf if I didn't like it, but when I had to read it for a class, I found the few chapters assigned so boring that I've never gotten back to it. Maybe I should start it, just so I can officially not like it and add it to my "Deaccession and Ship off to Half Price Books so I Can Get Money to Buy More Books" pile.
A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke
This books was just okay. I'm glad it was short. I like Locke's philosophy, but he tends to ramble too much.
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
Although not directly related to religion, this did provide some insight into Christian-Jew relations during the English Renaissance (despite being set in Italy). The attitudes of the Christian characters were particularly interesting - they assumed that all Jews were inferior merely because they weren't Christian and that one could make someone a Christian as part of their punishment for a crime. And then they can't understand why Shylock is so bitter towards them...
The Borgias and Their Enemies by Christopher Hibbert
A well-written and interesting book about the Borgia family, with a focus on Rodrigo (Pope Alexander VI) and his son Cesare. Although this is a very good book, I didn't really enjoy it, as the Borgias were horrid and revolting people who grossly abused their wealth and influence to gain political power, all while leading a faith whose tenets they didn't seem to espouse.
Yeah, I didn't really like them at all. But the book was good.
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