Thursday, April 15, 2010

Self-helpfulness, and more history.

Empire of Gold: A History of the Byzantine Empire
The Modern Scholar series

By Thomas F. Madden
Read by the same


“Eastern Roman Empire, Against All Odds!”
“Political Backstabbing in Southern Eurasia”

Summary: A series of lectures concerning the history of the Byzantine empire.

Rating: A good educational resource, if you’ve the time and interest for it.

Rating of the reader: Similar as his previous lecture series. Not a strong speaker, but does well enough in his field of expertise.

Every time I check out a Modern Scholar ‘book’, I can’t help but notice how much is skipped over in all the lectures. I mean, a great empire, condensed into 7 disks? Can’t be done.

What also irked me about this particular one is an almost-complete absence of commentary about the relationship of Russia and Eastern Orthodox church. Not sure why that is.

The Most Important Year in a Woman’s/Man’s Life
By Mark Devries, Susan Devries, Bobbie Wolgemuth, and Robert Wolgemuth

“Man, Listen to Your Woman.”
“Woman, Listen to Your Man.”

Summary: A sort of a Christian self-help/guide book on successfully managing the first year of marriage.

Rating: A must-read for a young couple, even if they’re not Christian.

Elrin’s grandparents sent us two books on marriage. Taking the hint, we’re reading them. Now, I usually rather dislike people pushing their religion onto me, but the “Most Important Year” is actually pretty mild, as far as religious tracts go, and does have a lot of good advice along the lines of different issues the couple’d have to face. It is also brutally honest about the fact that sometimes, you’re simply not going to like some things about your significant other. That’s truer than most people recognize. The trick’s in getting past the rough patches and agreeing to disagree without making the said issues a cat fight. And then there’s the concept of normality in both of the peoples’ backgrounds…

Speaking of good parenting advice, a blog that Elrin follows has had a rather good series of posts on the raising of children, with many of which I agree. Now, just to wait 6 years and keep fingers crossed about not being sterile…

Currently reading:
Staying in Love for a Lifetime
By Ed. Wheat, M.D. with Gloria Okes Perkins

As far as religious tracts go, this one is a heavy hitter. There are some parts of it that I simply disagree with (such as the absolute no-no of a divorce), which means that this will be a slow, slow read. There are some positive points within it, but they are sandwiched between Bible quotations.

Currently listening to:
Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand

A super-long commentary on socialism vs. capitalism, and one that I do not entirely agree with, either. However, the story makes it worth it.