Not my gif, as always ^^
- As always, I read a ton of books this month including Janet Fitch’s White Oleander and Alexandre Dumas’ La Dame aux Camelias. You can find the reviews for these books in the book review tag.
- I continue to review ARCs of novels that came out recently, including Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris (review) and Jennifer Close’s The Smart One (review). You can read all of the reviews of the ARCs I’ve read in this tag.
- Since I’m following a number of literary prizes this year, I decided to compile them all into one post. Well, the ones I’m following anyways =P
- Okay, I wasn’t planning on joining a reading challenge this year but I just had to sign up for the Books on France Reading Challenge. I seem to be reading a lot of books set in France or written by a French author and this reading challenge is a lot of fun. You could see what books I’ve decided to read for this challenge in this post
- I’ve also started posting about comic books! You can see what I’ve posted up so far by checking out my Comics category. Yay!
- No new movie reviews this month but I did start watching Orphan Black, the awesome and thrilling new science fiction show from BBC (and filmed here in Toronto! Canada representing =)). If you haven’t been watching this show…well, why aren’t you watching this show?! It’s crazy awesome. Anyways, I posted up my thoughts from the first three episodes over here
- Finally, two of my articles were recently published in this month’s issues of The Catholic Register. Click on the links to find out more about them:
And of course, the following are interesting links that I’ve come across over the past month:
The Catholic Register: Youth Speak News
My latest column for Youth Speak News is available on the website now! Entitled Renaissance Reveals Faith, I wrote about my recent trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario to visit the exhibit Revealing the Early Renaissance: Secrets and Stories in Florentine Art.
I really enjoyed my trip to the AGO for this exhibit, partly because I haven’t been to the art gallery in years, not since before the major renovation that pretty much revamped the entire gallery. The exhibit itself contained a myriad of art pieces, from manuscripts to triptychs (panels such as the photo on the left that were commonly used on altars), from various collections located around the world. Stepping into the exhibit, it was like stepping back to Italy again as a lot of the churches there do feature Renaissance art.
The visit was also quite a learning experience. The historian in me obviously was \o/ looking at the artwork, contemplating on how these pieces were seen by many in the 14th century in churches and chapels, how the copies of Dante’s Inferno were shelved in the family library–I was actually quite amused by those copies, they’re quite readable =) But it’s also interesting because these artists are not as well known as the common names of Michelangelo and da Vinci in the later/high period of the Renaissance. These artists paved the way, so to speak, trying new techniques and bringing art out of the medieval forms and towards the humanistic, Renaissance style. I also learned a lot about what triptychs are, what the Laudario di Sant’Agnese was, what confraternities do and about the art community located just outside of Florence.
All in all, it was a fun excursion to the gallery; I also took the time to check out the European collection, which was lovely. It was quite a dizzying experience in that there’s so much to see and the new layout of the gallery left me sort of trying to navigate my way around. Anyways, let me know what you think of the column (in which I contemplated more about the presence of faith and the communal culture of the Catholic church) and if you’re in town, I’d recommend checking it out at some point *thumbs up*
The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain 1649 – 1815
By: R.A.M. Rodger
First of all, if you see this book in the bookshelves of the British History section, do not be alarmed. It’s a thick book, granted, but a lot of that stuff is actually maps, portraits, appendicies filled with rates and statistics and so forth. I saw this book for the first time a few months ago and I was immediately enthralled; it certainly looked like a comprehensive book about the British Navy, even though it only covered around two centuries (this is the second book in his series; the first book is entitled Safeguard of the Sea, which I have yet to get). And after slowly getting through my reading list and finally getting around to it, it is definitely a comprehensive history of the British Navy. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of the Navy: Operations (the hardcore, traditional bit that talks about what the navy did when, the battles it faced, etc.), Administration (the organizational aspects of it, often linked with what was going on politically in Britain), Social History (later subdivided to the seamen and the officers; discusses where these navy officers were coming from, their lives aboard these shipsm etc.) and Ships (the actual ships themselves, the design and engineering of them). It reads like a textbook essentially but it’s not boring to go through. Rodger has really done an amazing job in researching and bringing together all these strands to present a clear and concise history of the navy and its impact on British History and its success in the world. He is correct to say that you can’t study British History without understanding the navy’s role in contributing to this rich history, just as you can’t study navy history by itself; both are intwined in this case and the stories and the events he brings forward in this book prove that this premise is certainly the case. What is also amazing about this book is that he not only discusses British History but he also brings in Russian, French, Dutch and other histories into the book, comparing Navy Admiralty systems and ship designs, which is certainly useful to draw an idea of how the British Navy was in the late 17th century and into the beginning of the 19th century. If you’re interested in the British Navy (as I am), then this book is an essential read.
Visit Professor Rodger’s page at the Department of History in the University of Exeter || Order this book from the Book Depository