Montaillou – Life in a Medieval Village

I just finished Montaillou by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie.  This took me over half a year to finish not because it wasn’t great, but because I have two young boys and thus free time is non-existent.

I learned of this book in a Reddit post and quickly bought it as it is right up my alley.  Montaillou is simply a study of medieval life in a small mountain town (Montaillou) in southern France around the year 1300.  The records are drawn from the Inquisition which was very active in the region trying to put a stamp on the Cathar beliefs which were spreading.  The Inquisitor, Jacques Fournier kept excellent records and thus have given us a peek into the normal, everyday life of the residents of this small village.

Lapham’s Quarterly – Fear

I don’t believe ‘enjoyed’ is the right adjective to describe how I felt reading Lapham’s Quarterly – Fear.  What is the right word if you continually want to do something yet it causes anxiety and fear while you do it?

It is not that reading this edition made me afraid; it is that it called attention to the abundant anxiety in my own life which was exacerbated in reading about the anxiety and fear of others in this edition.

Dhammapada

Finished the Dhammapada today.

Here are my highlights:

For hatred does not cease by hatred at any time:  hatred ceases by love, this is an old rule.

If a traveller does not meet with one who is his better, or his equal, let him firmly keep to his solitary journey; there is no companionship wtih a fool.

It is good to tame the mind, which is difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness

Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman Quotes

I recently finished ‘Leaves of Grass’ by Walt Whitman.  Below are some of the quotes I like:

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand…nor look through the eyes of the dead….nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, 

You shall listen to all sides and filter them for yourself.  

A Child said, What is grass?  fetching it to me with full hands; 
How could I answer the child?….I do not know what it is any more than he.

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

I just finished Meditations and have written down quotes from it that I wish to remember.  As I’ve described in this post, I’m absolutely astounded at the knowledge of the Ancient World and just now realize what a disaster the fall of the Roman Empire was for the progress of human understanding about the universe.  I’m fascinated by this knowledge and this is the first of many books I will be reading.

Failure to observe what is in the mind of another has seldom made a man unhappy; but those who do not observe the movements of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy.