Reading books is one of only two ways to learn anything serious or important about the past or present world and human cultures. The other way is intensive travel. Travel plus reading books is optimal. I'll write about travel later, but I'm going to start a new "Book of the Week" feature for the blog today. Each book will be one that I've actually read or listened to on CD in its unabridged entirety.
Today I feature a fun and useful book: "The Secret Life of France" by Lucy Wadham. This book was just published. Here is the "Publisher's Description" from www.amazon.com - "In this candid and funny account of her escape from English boys and her love affair with a Frenchman, Lucy Wadham describes the mutual bafflement and fascination that characterised both their subsequent marriage and her unfolding relationship with France. Using her own personal experiences over 25 years, Lucy offers a rare, insider's view of a nation that may be deeply incompatible with ours but is also, she thinks, chronically misunderstood. In "The Secret Life of France", Lucy leads us on a journey through the French moral maze, and examines French attitudes to a range of subjects from marriage and adultery to work and race relations. By taking apart the cliches she helps us gain a better understanding of this nearest and most alien of neighbours, and suggests that on some matters we have much to learn from them. "
I concur. And two reviews in Financial Times concur as well - that's where I discovered it. The book was a very enjoyable read. I learned a lot about France and French culture. The author's perspective is British, but the American perspective is rather easy to extract as she makes British cultural comparisons explicit. France and the US have a mutual love-hate relationship going back 350 years to colonial times. Modern cliches really do France and the French a disservice. Reading this book helps one understand both much better.
By the way, since I read only about one book per 2-3 weeks as I spend lots of time learning languages and listening to lectures, many of my books covered here will be past reads. I have a 700 square foot library full of books, many that I've read.
I checked Krypto Fund over the weekend; it's doing very well. Some asset classes are probing re-allocation checkpoints, but not quite there. I'll wait.
Otherwise: Je ne fais rien ... Ich machte nichts ... Nic nie robię ... Estoy haciendo nada ... Non faccio nulla ... Nihil facio ... I am doing nothing.
Word of the Day
"Epigone" - noun [$10]; also "Epigonous" - adjective [$10] and "Epigonic" - adjective [$10]
Epigone means an imitiative follower especially an inferior imitation of a creative thinker or artist.
Sentence: For serious learning, the Internet is a mere epigone to books and travel. In a more complete sense, it's analogous to a visual, searchable card catalog that can help one find where to obtain reliable knowledge, but not actually obtain it directly.