Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Reading Update: The Platypus Reads Part CCLXVIII

This is the first summer in three years where I'm not live-blogging a read through one or more of the Shannara books.  Nonetheless, I am disposed to be communicative, but without a ready-made excuse for a post what shall I say?  Let's start with where the Summer Reading has gone thus far.

I've handily dispatched Paul Cartledge's two popular-level books on Sparta's role in the Persian Wars, Thermopylae and After Thermopylae.  Cartledge comes out swinging for his side here and no mistake.  When push comes to shove, he thinks that the Spartans decisively won the Persian Wars and that the Athenians stole the glory.  That's controversial, to say the least.  The Athenian victory at Salamis cut the Persians' supply lines and also kept them from using the fleet to raid the Spartan coast or lend superior maneuver to the Persian army.  I also have to wonder, given what Herodotus account, if the Spartans could have won at Plataea without the support of the battle-hardened Athenian army.  That said, I'm currently taking a break from Ancient Greece and tending to a long-neglected interest with Fairbank and Goldman's China: A New History.

The Calvin and Hobbes reading continues with The Days are Just Packed.  Here, Watterson has fully come in to his own daring layout, dynamic drawing, and stories that revel in exploring a rich and delicate world that was several years in the making.  This is Calvin and Hobbes as it lives in the minds of those who grew up with it.

As in any summer reading program, there are always the curve balls.  This summer's current curve ball is The Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier.  I'm not through with it yet, so I can't render any final verdict.  Did anyone else read this one?  If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Polish all this off with occasional dips into an Oxford anthology of English ghost stories and you've got the last few weeks.  At any rate, July is coming and I may mix things up a bit.  There are no rules to summer reading, and that's the fun of it.    

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