I’m finishing reading a great book, by Sertillanges. It is a classic “manual” for intellectual pursuits: how to organize one’s time, how to become a specialist without losing the wider perspective, etc. A.G. Sertillanges, O.P., (the O.P. abbreviates Order of Preachers, Ordo Praedicatorum, Dominicans, in England also called “Blackfriars”) wrote this book a century ago, and in some ways it is a bit old fashioned – he didn’t experience today’s deluge of information – but it is still an extremely useful work for anyone who wants an intellectual life, what we now call “life-long-learning”.
I am unfortunately nearing the end of Roger Scruton’s Notes from Underground. It is a fantastic novel, set in Prague of the 1980s. I am astounded how well Scruton, who is English, understands the climate of Central Europe, east of the Berlin Wall, in the twilight years of Soviet occupation.
Scruton must know enough of the Czech language to be able to quote it freely; and he is attuned to the Slavic melancholy, and thus able to create believable characters and dialogues.
His descriptions of the city remind me of my hometown Kraków, very near Prague, and very similar in its experiences of oppression and desire for freedom.
Fantastic history of philosophy by Luc Ferry