In Common is my (mostly) weekly Commonplace roundup – notable quotes from the previous week, and current reading list.
I’ve been slowly working through The Well-educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. While there is a lot in this book that reminds me of How to Read a Book – and in fact SWB not only mentions Adler’s book on several occasions but does go into the different levels of reading – I love how she devotes a chapter each for several book genres.
In each chapter, she goes into some detail about the genre itself, and then specific suggestions on how to read books in the genre. Finally there is an extensive annotated book list.
I am currently working through Chapter 7, which covers History books.
“The overall task of the historian isn’t just to tell you what happened, but to explain why: not just to construct a bare outline of facts, but to tell a story about them.” The Well-educated Mind
SWB gives a thorough overview of periods of History writing, covering Medieval and Renaissance history, Enlightenment, as well as so many -isms that have always tripped me up, such as Relativism, Positivism, Progressivism, Post-modernism, and others. I feel better equiped to tackle History titles having read her introduction.
“History was not meant to serve any sort of ideological end. It was meant to find the truth.” The Well-educated Mind
SWB’s annotated list is extensive – she lists in order of time period written, earliest to most recent, starting with Herodotus’s Histories and wrapping up with Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man.
I am finishing up Math and Magic in Camelot this week, so look for a review soon. I am really enjoying the story as well as all the additional activities and information included.