Monday, January 2, 2012

Back for a New Year

I've been travelling for the last two weeks with few opportunities to blog - which means I've got a backlog of things to write about. Those long flights are good for reading too. 

For now, though, I've just been reading an old book about ancient civilization this evening as a diversion, Will Durant's Our Oriental Heritage (The Story of Civilization, Vol.1), especially the sections on ancient Assyria and Persia. We picked the set up for free at a book exchange and this volume dates back to the 1930s, but it repays the effort. 

The fall of Nineveh and the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, the conquests of Ashurbanipal and the cruelty of Cambyses - it's all quite satisfying as a distant reflection of how people lived. And a nice break from Italian sovereign bond yields and real estate troubles in Shanghai.

I'm endlessly fascinated by the history of daily life and culture. In the end, what I am interested in is how we live daily life in a fuller way.

I'm also almost finished Steven Pinker's massive  The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, which is a good read.

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