Essays

e’ve posted essays here on the site, but we’ve never taken the time to define what separates an essay from a generic blog post.  Is this post itself an essay?  How is an essay different from an article?  Are my book reviews essays?  The context will have some influence on what constitutes an essay, but these days I consider an essay to be a long-form, written analysis or reflection on a particular topic that can be primarily expository, but should have an element of persuasion or assertion.  It need not have five paragraphs, it need not have a precisely formatted first paragraph with a thesis as the last sentence, and it need not have all of the points the essay will cover neatly laid out therein.

Thoughts on Losing the War

Perhaps I could have made this into a “book review” – the essay is certainly lengthy enough to justify it – but I rarely have trouble keeping up with book reviews, while writing Tuesday’s blog posts can be more of a challenge.  More pertinently, I don’t so much want to review Losing the War for you, as I do want to share my thoughts on this peculiar, rambling essay.  It was something my dad first found and shared with me several years ago, and it somehow came up in recent conversation, so I decided to revisit it.  If you haven’t read it before, you can find it here: Losing the War.

Blood Magic S2:E9: Bread and Steel Release

knew, beyond a doubt, that it was going to be one of the most exciting and interesting episodes to write, because Vere is such a fascinating character, and we would finally get to spend a significant amount of time in his viewpoint. We've had brief snippets in his viewpoint, like in All Cooped Up and No Place to Go, and Fallen Angel, but we've never had an episode where the main events of the story revolved around the Guardcaptain. Bread and Steel was going to change that, with a story leveraging his particular talents and traits in service to the peculiar setup of Merolate's military.

The Popol Vuh Review

In my literary tour of the ancient world, I've visited Iceland, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean, and I have plans to visit China (that will be next week's review, sort of). The perhaps obvious gaping holes in this journey are Africa and the Americas, which simply do not have the same ancient literary traditions as the other locations I've mentioned. I could be reading ancient Greek literature for the rest of the year at least, but even finding a single title authentic to the Americas (as opposed to a history of the region) was a challenge. Eventually, I stumbled across something called the Popol Vuh.

Intergalactic Update 2021

established a social media presence.  Granted, that’s only through GoodReads, for the moment, but it’s a (painful) start.  If you’re tired of reading my book reviews here on the site, you can also find them posted on GoodReads, along with a list of books I’m intending to read, and a progress bar for books I’m currently reading.

Einstein’s Fridge Review

This is as much a history book as it is a science book, so it strongly appealed to my polymath tendencies (I should really write a post about the polymath/Renaissance Man concept). In fact, if I were going to teach an introductory course on thermodynamics, or wanted to introduce someone to the topic, I would highly recommend this book, rather than using a more traditional textbook.

Minor Treatises Reviews

I finally finished reading the collected works of Xenophon! It's true I don't use very many exclamation points, but considering that the first time I picked this up was more than five years ago, and finally sitting down and reading it took me almost a whole month, I think I'm allowed to make an exception to my own rule. Since I've already subjected you to a month and a half worth of Xenophon book reviews, I'm not going to include another overall review; that content will be included in this post, along with my reviews for the various minor treatises included in the Complete Works.

Memorabilia Review

We wrapped up the last of Xenophon's historical works last week; this week we get to move into his Socratic works, the first of which is Memorabilia. Xenophon wrote this piece as a posthumous defense of his mentor and friend, to exculpate him of the crimes of which he was accused, and to generally exhibit his good character. While Plato's Dialogues get the most attention, Socrates had many other students and inspired many others, including Xenophon, to record vignettes and other writings pertaining to him, and I actually find Xenophon's Socratic writings preferable to the more famous Plato's.