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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-01-06 09:21
A Mapmaker’s Dream by James Cowan
A Mapmaker's Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice - James Cowan

TITLE:  A Mapmaker’s Dream: The Meditations of Fra Mauro, Cartographer to the Court of Venice


AUTHOR:  James Cowan



"In sixteenth-century Venice, in an island monastery, a cloistered monk experiences the adventure of a lifetime—all within the confines of his cell.

Part historical fiction, part philosophical mystery, A Mapmaker’s Dream tells the story of Fra Mauro and his struggle to realize his life’s work: to make a perfect map—one that represents the full breadth of Creation.

News of Mauro’s projects attracts explorers, pilgrims, travelers, and merchants, all eager to contribute their accounts of faraway people and places. As he listens to the tales of the strange and fantastic things they’ve seen, Mauro comes to regard the world as much more than continents and kingdoms: that it is also made up of a vast and equally real interior landscape of beliefs, aspirations, and dreams. Mauro’s map grows and takes shape, becoming both more complete and incomprehensible. In the process, the boundaries of Mauro’s world are pushed to the extreme, raising questions about the relationship between representation, imagination, and the nature of reality itself.




Interesting but a bit bland.



DATE FINISHED:  5 January 2020



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-07 10:08
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Meditations (Hardcover Classics) - Coralie Bickford-Smith,Marcus Aurelius,Diskin Clay,Martin Hammond,Martin Hammond

TITLE:  Meditations


AUTHOR:  Marcus Aurelius


DATE PUBLISHED:  2014  [First published 180]




FORMAT:  Hardcover [Penguin Pocket Hardbacks]


ISBN-13:  9780141395869



"Originally written only for his personal consumption, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations has become a key text in the understanding of Roman Stoic philosophy. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes by Martin Hammond and an introduction by Diskin Clay.

Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius's own emotions. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.

Martin Hammond's new translation fully expresses the intimacy and eloquence of the original work, with detailed notes elucidating the text. This edition also includes an introduction by Diskin Clay, exploring the nature and development of the Meditations, a chronology, further reading and full indexes.

Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus (121-80) was adopted by the emperor Antoninus Pius and succeeded him in 161, (as joint emperor with adoptive brother Lucius Verus). He ruled alone from 169, and spent much of his reign in putting down various rebellions, and was a persecutor of Christians. His fame rest, above all, on his Meditations, a series of reflections, strongly influenced by Epictetus, which represent a Stoic outlook on life. He was succeeded by his natural son, thus ending the period of the adoptive emperors.




This is a complilation of the private musings of a Roman emperor.  A great deal of these musings and pithy observations are still relevant today.  Some observations are profound and others provide inspiration.  The writing is direct with none of the obscurity of The Art of War by Sun Tzu.  Interesting and something to chew on, over a lenth of time.




"Do not waste the remaining part of your life in thoughts about other people, when you are not htinking with reference to some aspect of the common good.  Why deprive yourself of the time for some other task?  I mean, thinking about what so-and-so is doing, and why, what he is saying or contemplating or plotting, and all that line of thought, makes you stray from the close watch on your own directing mind."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 3, Section 4]


"Think always of the universe as one living creature, comprising one substance and one soul:  how all is absorbed into this one consciousness; how a single impulse governs all its actions; how all things collaborate in all that happens; the very web and mesh of it all."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 4, Section 40]


"Think constantly how many doctors have died, after knitting their brows oer their own patients; how many astrologers, after predicting the deaths of others, as if death were something important; how many philosophers, after endless deliberation on death or immortality; how many heroes, after the many others they killed; how many tyrants, after using their power over men's lives with monstrous insolence, as if they themselves were immortal.  Think too how many whole cities have 'died' - Helice, Pompeii, Herculaneium, innumerable others.  Go over now all those you have known yourself, one after the other:  one man follows a friend's funteral and is then laid out himself, then another follows him - and all in a brief space of time.  The conclusion of this?  You should always look on human life as short and cheap.  Yesterday sperm:  tomorrow a mummy or ashes.

      So one should pass through this tiny gragment of time in tune with nature, and leave it gladly, as an olive might fall when ripe, blessing the earth which bore it and grateful to the tree which gave ti growth."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 4, Section 48]


"The best revenge is not to be like your enemy."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 6, Section 6]


"Dig inside yourself.  Inside there is a spring of goodness ready to gush at any moment, if you keep digging."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 7, Section 59]


 "Constantly reflect that ll the things which happen now have happened before:  reflect too that they will happen again in the future.  Have in your mind's eye whole dramas with similar settings, all that you know of from your own experience or earlier history - for example, the whole court of Hadrian, the whole court of Antoninus, the whole court of Philip, Alexander, Croesus.  All the same as now:  just a different cast."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 10, Section 27]


"Practise even what you have despaired of mastering.  For lack of practice the left hand is awkward for most tasks, but has a stronger grip on the bridle than the right - it is practised in this."

- Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations [Book 12, Section 6]





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review 2018-06-02 11:42
Wearing Mismatched Socks at Work is Empowering: "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius, Gregory Hays (trans.)
Meditations - Marcus Aurelius

“Concentrate every minute like a Roman— like a man— on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered , irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.”

In “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

“Para ser grande, sê inteiro: nada
Teu exagera ou exclui.
Sê todo em cada coisa. Põe quanto és
No mínimo que fazes.
Assim em cada lago a lua toda
Brilha, porque alta vive.”

In “Odes de Ricardo Reis” by Fernando Pessoa

Word of caution: this "review" is going to be all over the place.

I translated this into German a long time ago. I’m not sure I’m up to the task of translating this into English this time around…

Let’s give it a go:

“To be great, be whole: nothing
Of yours exaggerate or exclude.
Be all in everything. Put all you are
In everything you do.
Be like the moon that
Shines whole in every lake
Because it lives up high.”



If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2017-02-17 00:00
A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand
A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food ... A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand - Jim Harrison https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/157352621033/a-really-big-lunch-meditations-on-food-and-life

…Hundreds warned me I was going to die young from smoking and drinking but I disappointed them…

I was thirty-one when I first discovered Harrison’s best writer friend [a:Thomas McGuane|29066|Thomas McGuane|http://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1335586633p2/29066.jpg] back in 1984. There was an article in the Detroit Free Press magazine that dealt with McGuane’s recovery from alcohol addiction and the publication of his new book [b:Something to Be Desired|497111|Something to Be Desired|Thomas McGuane|http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320404008s/497111.jpg|1966090]. The next year would find me as well beginning my own recovery from addiction. Religious and obsessive reading of Thomas McGuane led me to naturally segue into Harrison. Both writers were from Michigan which also piqued my interest.

…Then again, I’ve always been a Luddite, much saddened by the invention of the auto. Many people think a Ferrari is beautiful, but it isn’t if you compare it to a horse.

Regardless of Jim Harrison’s periodic poetic dirges of drivel, he is an American treasure. An iconic figure cut of gluttonous gourmet and storytelling of the first rank. That is, when his writing centers on food, friends, hunting, and fishing. A sad day indeed when it was reported he had died. But we who read him for over forty years knew it was coming. He drank too much and lived too heartily to have lasted even as long as he did. And this fascinating and rewarding book proves it.

…A number of doctors have been amazed that I am still alive…

Developing Type II diabetes is no laughing matter. But for Harrison to continue his gouty ways, and in spite of his unhealthy dietetic preponderance, only furthered his quickened demise. But I am not so sure he would have had it any other way. Seems his eating and drinking habits started at a very young age and were modeled religiously beginning in northern Michigan, a land of excess too evolved to attempt an honest explanation on this page. Suffice to say I grew up there as well, and as luck would have it I escaped with my life by chasing a more healthy and vacationing filly down and into the bluegrass of Kentucky.

…When he reached the gate to Paloma Canyon on a friend’s ranch it was a few minutes before he could remember the lock’s combination because his mind had drifted back to a girl he had seen in a Key West dress shop exactly twenty-seven years before. She had been stooping before shelves of blouses in her white shorts and her butt was a perfect Anjou pear.

The last quarter of this amazing book presents the most humble and loving mind and heart to be found in such a grizzled veteran who squandered the vast majority of his lifetime on the word. And predictably, the penning of all of his work in fiction and nonfiction was based on personal experience. Harrison’s pleasures in his life alone could fill several volumes of autobiography. But these essays provide enough occasion to know the man in sufficient measure to recognize his quality of being, especially as he writes about nearing the end of his long and fruitful life.

…A friend, the novelist Tom McGuane, once said to me, “You can lecture a group of us on nutritional health while chain smoking and drinking a couple bottles of…

In his many resulting infirmities, severely wracked by pain, his sadness seeping through his writing feels in some ways like an apology or an act of forgiveness for not being a better man than most of us generally perceive ourselves. Harrison certainly knows who he is and what he is. And makes no bones about it. Even in his immense and punishing pain he never once complains and accepts his last trial as his personal and distinct cross to bear. And maybe it is my own sadness coming through his writing, but I have watched previously strong and robust individuals slowly lose their vitality and witnessed first hand their sad acceptance of it.

Camus maintained that the critical decision was whether or not to commit suicide and that once you assent to your own survival you must commit to life...

Harrison has always interested me. He is cut from a rougher cloth, but his mind and tastes are refined in ways unimaginable upon first look and rare sighting of this menacing man. And his words are often bitingly direct and presented as tease in order to entertain us as he gooses the less inquisitive minds who live among us. Harrison’s readers being somewhat a sort of privileged society looking down on the powers actually controlling our world these days. I liken Harrison’s work (his fiction and essays) as a treatise against stupidity, even in light of the disparaging of himself and his own mistakes in the process. In other words, Harrison makes reading fun, and for me at least, extremely rewarding and satisfying.

…Everywhere we are witness to the extreme confidence some people have in their stupidities…

Mr. Harrison was definitely a gifted writer. In this book he religiously celebrates the indulgences of over-eating and drinking too much. He not only makes his anecdotal bouts of gluttony interesting but actually champions it. And though his work is interesting to read there is a more responsible and informed part of me who believes his excesses not only killed him, but were sadly used as a way to cover up something. In my own case the villain would have been my many disappointments throughout my life. My frustrations as well as my not getting what I wanted. But learning to deal with these harsh realities has actually been quite freeing for me. Knowing that a richer life is made of frustration and the not getting of what I want has enabled me to learn more about accepting what is. John Steinbeck and his pal Ricketts called this non-teleological thinking. But perhaps I am wrong about Jim Harrison. Maybe over-eating and drinking exorbitant bottles of good wine is the way to true happiness and satisfaction. And living a life of moderation is something I am not expert in either. But I do follow my doctor’s orders and attempt to eat right and exercise to stay healthy. In contrast, Harrison’s explicit reason for taking a two hour walk was so he could drink an entire bottle of wine. For him, perhaps, there was no other way. And because of seemingly undying conviction we have here a pretty fantastic book about food, drink, and friends that only Jim Harrison himself could have written.

…My prodigious napping is caused more by my love of unconsciousness than fatigue…
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review 2016-10-15 13:20
The Wisdom of Avalon by Walter William Melnyk
The Wisdom of Avalon: Meditations on the Thirteen Marsh Tales - Walter William Melnyk
The Wisdom of Avalon is a collection of thirteen short stories, complete with questions and mediation after each one. Told from a time long ago, you learn more about the Marsh folk, Atlantis, and even one story about a mermaid. Each story is different, ranging from sad to humorous. 
Well written, with no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt the reading flow, this book flows along from one story to the next. Whether you take them as just a short story, or look deeper for more meaning, this is a wonderful collection and definitely recommended by me.
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!



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Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2016/10/review-by-merissa-wisdom-of-avalon-by.html
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