When I read Digital Minimalism last summer and blogged about it, I knew I wanted to read more books by Cal Newport. As a computer scientist, he thinks very logically and presents information in a way that makes sense. Maybe I have missed my profession. Maybe I should have been a computer science major in college, because, I tell you, Newport’s mind presents information just the way I like to receive it.
Deep Work Paperback Cover
Deep Work by Cal Newport is tremendous. If you do not read any other book this year, read Deep Work. It is not just about productivity. It is about changing who you are by the activities you engage in. Stop the shallow habits of thought and become intentional about the way you interact with the technology available to us today. Continue reading »
Sun Tzu wrote this classic, The Art of War, thousands of years ago, yet military academies still study it today. In fact, the translator placed notes throughout to show how Hanibal, Napoleon, Hitler and others followed the advice in this book, as well.
The Art of War cover
I read this book to the kids over two days – two sessions of read-aloud fun, about one hour each. It is a short book and very straightforward. Continue reading »
I read The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty to the children for over two months. We did a lot of driving to Science Olympiad practices, co-op, and music lessons, which reduced our reading time to a minimum. But we persevered. They liked it a lot.
The Cat of Bubastes
Set in Ancient Egypt about the time when Moses was an adult prince there, this book will teach your children a lot about that culture. The clothing, architecture, worship, societal hierarchy, fishing, hunting, agriculture etc from Ancient Egypt feature on every page. Continue reading »
Sam Watkins fought as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. Twenty years after the war, Watkins wrote this memoir, Co. Aytch about his experience. His stories about surviving enemy fire border the surreal.
Co. Aytch book cover
His company was named “H.” Back then, they spelled words they way they sounded – hence the title. Sam’s regiment hailed from Tennessee. Since I live in Tennessee, I recognized a lot of the places he mentions. Continue reading »
It just so happened that I had to wait on the kids almost the entire day at co-op and at orchestra rehearsal. That gave me time to read this book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, in one day – to be precise, in about four hours. The book is only 78 pages long and the plot moves fast.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – the first of his three autobiographies
I knew what to expect – shocking portrayals of slavery during the 19th century. That is why I hesitated before reading it. Violence in a book or a movie never appeals to me. In fact, I avoid it as much as possible. It was hard to read the four or five passages in which Douglass describes horrible acts of violence against African Americans. Continue reading »
One of the funniest books you will ever read, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett is his autobiography. Talk about Southern charm. The voice of David Crockett rings honest and funny. His quaint language tickled me from the first page.
David Crockett’s autobiography
It did not take me long to read this book because the stories move fast and keep one’s interest. Crocket got bullied in school and decided not to attend anymore. When his father found out, two weeks later, he chased David “at top speed” for over a mile. Hold it right there. How fit were these people? Continue reading »
Of course, thank God, we do not have to face the kind of tribulations as the newspaper editor Twain worked for while in Tennessee. The humor came not only from the description of the violence Twain had to face alongside his boss. It especially stemmed from the edits the boss made to Twain’s reporting. Continue reading »
C. S. Lewis gave three lectures at Cambridge about the philosophy of education as he understood it. These lectures became The Abolition of Man. Many commentators put this book on a short list of books that can save Western Civilization.
Lewis starts out by criticing an English high school textbook of his time. From there, he builds a case for education in morality and absolute values. Honestly, at times, I had no idea what he was saying. He lost me about the middle of the first chapter, Men Without Chests. I got the main idea, but when he got into the details of The Way (which he calls the Tao), my poor mind did not comprehend him anymore. Continue reading »