(On Some More Randomly Selected Books Reviewed)
Last issue, I started reviewing books selected randomly from my vast collection. Here are my short reviews of some more books in that collection.
1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (2005, Shambhala Publications) – I’ve been familiar with this popular classic book since my university days, but only in the recent years when I had the chance to acquire a copy of it. The Art of War is regarded as one of the most influential books of strategy in the world. It is believed to have been authored by Sun Tzu, a mysterious Chinese warrior/philosopher who lived in sixth century BC; although, some scholars surmise that unknown Chinese philosophers had authored Sun Tzu’s work and that Sun Tzu was a semimythical figure who—in fairness though—might have at least been based on a real Chinese warrior. Regardless, The Art of War is doubtlessly a rich source of military strategies and principles which the reader may apply to all the challenges and conflicts of life. Despite having been written centuries ago, the wisdom of The Art of War is timeless; many contemporary books about management and leadership would pale in comparison.
“An unreliable ally is more dangerous than a clever opponent.”
2. The Masks of God Volume 1: Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this volume, Campbell discusses the primitive roots of mythology, examining these in light of the most recent discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, and psychology.
3. The Masks of God Volume 2: Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this second installment to The Masks of God, the author offers an explanation of Eastern mythology as it developed into the distinctive religions of Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Tibet.
4. Selected Poems by John Milton (1993, Dover Publications) – So far, I’ve already amassed more than a hundred poetry books published by Dover Publications; primarily because these are thrift editions, economically priced—ranging from C$1.50 to C$5—yet they are unabridged.
5. A History of Language by Steven Roger Fischer (2003, Reaktion Books Ltd.) – After I’ve finished reading A History of Writing, I was compelled to own as well the remaining volumes of the trilogy. As a lover of languages and writing systems, I found A History of Writing useful and enlightening. The second installment, A History of Language charts the history of language from the time of Homo erectus to the nineteenth century, analyzing the emergence of linguistics as a science and the development of language as a written form. It also investigates the rise of pidgin, jargon, slang, and dialectology, as well as the relationship of literature and literacy to language. Finally, it demonstrates the effect of media on language today.
The Last Leaf
The English poet John Milton (1608–1674) wrote: “A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured upon purpose to a life beyond life.”