Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

In 1805, Walter Scott sat down to write the opening chapters of Waverley, a book that was to usher in an entirely new type of literary genre, the historical novel.In the same year Scott had published his narrative poem, The Lay of the Minstrel, which was received enthusiastically, but when he submitted the first few … Continue reading Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

Charlotte Mason Exam Week

This past week has been an exam week for Year 11, Term 2. We've followed the AmblesideOnline schedule but with quite a few changes and substitutions. These are some sample questions & answers from this week: Poetry: 1. Write 8-10 lines of poetry from memory: The Donkey by G. K. Chesterton When fishes flew and … Continue reading Charlotte Mason Exam Week

The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World was published this year (2021) and is a sequel to Prisoners of Geography which I wrote about here.In that book Tim Marshall focused on the fact that geography has played a major role in history. In this new book he explores ten … Continue reading The Power of Geography by Tim Marshall

Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium by Lucy Jane Santos takes the reader through a cultural history of radium. As she points out, radioactivity is everywhere - in the Earth’s crust, in our homes and even in us. It is ubiquitous and that troubles us; but this was not the case in the late … Continue reading Half Lives by Lucy Jane Santos

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

In Order to Live is an astonishing story of endurance, courage, and love. Yeonmi Park was thirteen years old when she and her mother escaped from North Korea. In Order to Live tells their incredible story of survival, suffering, and eventual freedom. I’ve always had a fascination with the Cold War and Communism in general, … Continue reading In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum

  So many crime novels of the Golden Age dealt with murders that involved poisons such as chloroform, arsenic and cyanide. It was the ‘weapon’ of choice in many cases back then because at that time (during the 1920’s and 1930’s) commercially made poisons were readily available and there were few tools available to detect … Continue reading The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum

In The Steps of the Master by H.V. Morton (1934)

H.V. Morton’s In the Steps of the Master is a wonderful mix of travelogue, history, archaeology, and adventure. He wrote the book in an attempt to express the thoughts and the encounters that a traveller through Palestine ‘with the New Testament in his hands’ would have experienced. At the time the book was written in … Continue reading In The Steps of the Master by H.V. Morton (1934)

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall (2015) Non-Fiction

Tim Marshall is a British journalist and author who has been on the front line in the Balkans, Syria and Afghanistan. He witnessed close hand how international conflicts and civil wars have arisen out of past decisions. He has seen how history has shaped the future events of a country and the role geography has … Continue reading Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall (2015) Non-Fiction

A Woman in Berlin (1954)

A Woman in Berlin is a firsthand account of the Red Army’s entry into Berlin during the last days of World War II. The anonymous author was a thirty-four year old female journalist who was living in the city at the time. Berlin had been bombed extensively and ninety percent of its buildings were destroyed. There … Continue reading A Woman in Berlin (1954)

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Nelson Mandela started writing his autobiography while serving a life sentence in prison for plotting to overthrow the apartheid government of South Africa. The book was written secretly and a copy was discovered by prison authorities & confiscated. The original, however, was kept by two of his friends who were able to keep it safe … Continue reading Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)