Monday, October 15, 2007

Another short book review...

Well it was a good weekend in the end. The rain finally stopped on Saturday afternoon. Until then it had rained every day since I got back from the US. A couple nights it really stormed but most of the time it was a light rain that the farmers probably loved but it was beginning to annoy the hell out of me. The photo for this blog is from me playing with the new lens in the apartment on Saturday. I was testing the depth of field. That picture was taken from way across on the other side of the apartment! Are you impressed?
Sunday I didn’t do much even though the sun was finally out. I was near the end of Travels with Herodotus (because of the previously mentioned rainy nights) so I was compelled to keep reading until it was finished. I like the book but it was a little too much about Herodotus. I wanted to read more about the author. He was a reporter born in Poland and started going overseas for his newspaper in 1955. It was fascinating to read about his impressions of going off exotic countries. His first assignment was India in 1955. You can only imagine what a different world it was in every way. Then he’s back in Poland for a while but he soon gets a new assignment in China and then after that Africa so you see what I mean about his travels. He has some incredible stories to tell but you only get a taste. But I realize now the book itself is pretty short and I guess he keeps to the point, which is comparing the East to the West from a reporter’s point without taking one side. Dare I say it, “an objective view”? Something I would love to hear more of these days. Herodotus could be considered the first “reporter” in the author’s opinion. Herodotus attempted to compare “Greeks to non-Greeks” in his book The Histories (which everyone now agrees should be translated as The Inquiries). Herodotus does so by traveling to the ends of the earth (at least the ends of the earth around 450 BC). The author admires how Herodotus wants to see for himself and relates everything in very non-bias manner, especially for his era. If you read this book then I highly recommend having the map in Wikipedia section on Herodotus handy. That way you understand where he is and why sometimes it doesn’t make sense with what we know about geography today. Overall I recommend the book, as it is an interesting read about a reporter’s duty and how little people haven't changed in 3,000 years. It always is “us verses them” from both sides.
Now I have to get back to Pliny the Elder. I left him in the middle of describing all the sea creatures he knows….

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