All in Life

Three Reasons I Took The GRE This Week

Earlier this week I took the GRE. I'm middle aged, not going to grad school (well, not any time soon), this is an extraordinarily busy time for me, it's several hours in the middle of the work day, so how did this make any sense? Three reasons (which may still not add up to much sense):

My Best Books of 2016

Here’s the best of what I read in 2016. All, to varying degrees, enlightening, entertaining and infuriating. It was tough to winnow down to a short list — this was a decent reading year.

I offer a line or two of commentary on, and a quote from, each work. The titles link to the Amazon Kindle page for the book. Page numbers are provided for the quotes if available and Kindle locations if not.. 

P.S. The answer to one obvious question is “on far too many long haul flights”.

The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell

I read many of the new histories published during 2014, timed to coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. These benefit from new research and greater distance from the conflict. But an older work still stands out: Paul Fussell’s critique of English writing about trench warfare, The Great War and Modern Memory. 

The thread linking this post's reviews is that each book offers a view into 19th or 20th century Europe.

My reviews are those of an intellectual dilettante, and I make limited attempts to place works or their authors in a wider context. For example, a "professional" review of Joachim Fest's memoir would certainly allude to his role in the Historikerstreit, among other things. Book titles link to the Kindle store page.

Michael Clarke and his merry unchanged-throughout-the-series men have crushed England -- 5-0 in the Tests and up 3-1 in the one-dayers as of this writing -- and it is not too early for the Australian to envision a return to some kind of leadership, if not the dominance of the Steve Waugh era. This Aussie team is an aging one, but there is something about it that suggests the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

This most recent peak follows a trough whose marker, in my view, isn't the retirements of the all-time greats at the end of the 2006-07 Ashes. Rather the buoy marking the place where Australian cricket subsided the last time has the name of Peter Roebuck emblazoned on it. For it is Roebuck who called for Australian captain Ricky Ponting's head on a platter in a famous headline. "Arrogant Ponting must be fired" was the leader. From a member of the one-eyed Australian media, this was an unprecedented volley.