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Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Latest Treasures of a Bibliophilist

Posted by Hello

Here are the latest addition to my book collection. Except for A History of Writing which I bought sometime late last year, these books I was able to acquire online through Chapters bookstore's Web site.

Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God consists of four volumes; I am yet to buy volumes 3 (Occidental Mythology) and 4 (Creative Mythology) to complete the tetralogy.

As regards Steven Roger Fischer's "A History" trilogy, the final volume, A History of Reading, is all I need to buy (when budget permits) to complete the collection.

1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (2005, Shambhala Publications) – I've long been familiar with this popular classic book, but only now did I have the chance to acquire a copy of it. The Art of War is regarded as one of, if not the most influential book of strategy in the world. It is believed to have been authored by Sun Tzu, a mysterious Chinese warrior/philosopher who lived in sixth century BC; although, some scholars conclude that Sun Tzu's work was actually authored by unknown Chinese philosophers and that Sun Tzu was just a semimythical figure who—in fairness though—might have at least been based on a real Chinese warrior. Regardless, The Art of War is doubtlessly a rich source of military strategies and principles which the reader may apply to all the challenges and conflicts of life. Despite having been written centuries ago, the wisdom of The Art of War is timeless; many contemporary books about management and leadership would pale in comparison.

I am yet to finish reading half of The Art of War, but I've already picked something worth remembering: "An unreliable ally is more dangerous than a clever opponent."

2. The Masks of God Volume 1: Primitive Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this volume, Campbell discusses the primitive roots of mythology, examining these in light of the most recent discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, and psychology.

3. The Masks of God Volume 2: Oriental Mythology by Joseph Campbell (1992, Penguin Books) – In this second installment to The Masks of God, the author offers an explanation of Eastern mythology as it developed into the distinctive religions of Egypt, India, China, Japan, and Tibet.

4. Selected Poems by John Milton (1993, Dover Publications) – So far, I've already amassed around 25 poetry books published by Dover Publications; primarily because these are thrift editions, economically priced—C$1.50 to C$5—yet they are unabridged.

John Milton (1608–1674) is the English poet who wrote: "A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured upon purpose to a life beyond life."

5. A History of Language by Steven Roger Fischer (2003, Reaktion Books Ltd.) – After I've finished reading A History of Writing, I was compelled to own as well the remaining volumes of the trilogy. As a lover of languages and writing systems, I found A History of Writing very useful and enlightening; thus, I'm already looking forward to reading this second installment.

A History of Language charts the history of language from the time of Homo erectus to the nineteenth century, analyzing the emergence of linguistics as a science and the development of language as a written form. It also investigates the rise of pidgin, jargon, slang, and dialectology, as well as the relationship of literature and literacy to language. Finally, it demonstrates the effect of media on language today.


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