October 28, 2022

#08-251: To Build a Fire

A dog in the Yukon, 1901
(Wikipedia)

Note: Like thousands of others, Jack London joined the Klondike Gold Rush looking for gold. Instead, he found experiences that contributed to his Call of the Wild and White Fang, as well as this jewel of a story.


Get Ready: What is the coldest weather you have ever been in? What did it feel like?


October 27, 2022

#08-250: King Lear

Mad King Lear and his Fool
(Wikipedia)

Note: Shakespeare's tragedy about a foolish old king who governs by whim, and ends in disaster.


Get Ready: What is the system for succession in your country? That is, how is power transferred from one national leader to another?


October 21, 2022

#08-249: Silas Marner

Silas finds Eppie
(Wikipedia)

Note: George Eliot's stirring novel tells how a child's love redeems a man who has lost everything--or so he thought.


Get Ready: Which would you prefer to have: lots of money and little love, or lots of love and little money? Why?


October 20, 2022

#08-248: Ceres, Proserpine, and Pluto; or "Why do We Have Winter?"

Pluto carries away Proserpine
(Wikipedia)

Note: Ancient peoples often created stories to "explain" various aspects of nature. here's one that explains how we got agriculture, and why we have winter.


Get Ready: Do you know what causes the seasons? Why do we have summer? and winter?


October 14, 2022

#08-247: The New England Transcendentalists

Emerson - Thoreau - Alcott
(Wikipedia)

Note: Transcendentalism was one of the first uniquely American philosophies, and has had a widespread effect.


Get Ready: Is it possible for a modern religion to give nature a central place?


October 13, 2022

#08-246: Mordred

"Then the king ran towards Sir Mordred, crying, 'Traitor, now is thy death day come.'"
(Wikipedia)

Note: Sometimes the villain of a story is more interesting than the hero. King Arthur was almost boringly good, but his enemy Mordred was fascinatingly bad.


Get Ready: Can you think of a story in which the "bad guy" is more interesting than the "good guy"?


September 30, 2022

#08-245: Johnson's Dictionary

Samuel Johnson's Folio and Abridged Dictionaries together
(Wikipedia)

Note: We often take dictionaries for granted, but they haven't been around as long as you might think.


Get Ready: Do you often use one or more dictionaries? f so, what do you use it/them for? If not, how do you find the meaning of words, their spellings, etc.