Reader Submission: Title and Redesign by Megan Pallante.
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings
Happy Birthday, Tolkien!
One does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character. We can’t criticize it, because it is criticizing us. As I wrote once: It is a Household Book; a book which everybody in the household loves, and quotes continually; a book which is read aloud to every new guest and is regarded as the touchstone of his worth. But I must give you one word of warning. When you sit down to it, don’t be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worthy: I don’t know. But it is you who are on trial.— A. A. Milne in an introduction to The Wind in the Willows.
Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl from Better Book Titles!
(thanks to CusCus the Cat for two of these submissions!)
In the deathly hush that hung over the gardens, Gareth’s descent from the wall sounded like the mating of oxen in dry brush.— Dragonsbane (160). What a great line.
Somebody voted this book for the list of “intellectually satisfying Christian books.”
Kill me now.
Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.—
Rat, The Wind in the Willows
There are no words to fully communicate how much I truly love this book.
Just started reading this book. Absolutely fascinating.
This is a difficult book to classify, and thus to review. It’s not a book of economics, but rather about economics, particularly the modern focus on mathematics to the exclusion of ethics. It’s pretty abstract and philosophical. I almost gave up a number of times in the first 150 pages, as I slogged through Sedlacek picking out and commenting on the economic bread crumbs found in the most ancient of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh, followed by Greek thought, Stoicism, historic Christianity, and the Enlightenment thought of Hume, Descartes, and Adam Smith.
One of most interesting chapters was on Adam Smith: for example, the views he is famous for advocating (the “invisible hand,” among other things) are not actually his own, and his economic ethics are more complex than commonly understood. The other fascinating section was his short discussion on how the contemporary Keynesian approach to the business cycle is anything by Keynesian—what he dubs “Bastardized Keynesianism”—i.e. that deficits are okay in time of decline as long as they are paid back out of surpluses. Obviously, that second half of the equation has been totally ignored by modern national economies, as we in the West continue to spend ourselves into oblivion.
Sedlacek calls out modern economists for their arrogance in attempting to explain virtually everything using exclusively mathematical economic models, arguing that have become just as dogmatic and unscientific as many religious people (supposedly) are. He calls for more ethics and more epistemological humility in his field, and what a welcome call it is. This book is a slow burn, and not too terribly exciting, but ultimately intellectually stimulating and satisfying.
Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!