Reading Classics, Chronologically Through the Ages discussion

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message 1: by Kenia (last edited Oct 11, 2017 04:30PM) (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
OK, everyone! I've started this new topic to continue the discussion we began over here in this thread.

In summary:
• Starting in 2018, we'll open up our reading to other classics that are not included in TWEM
• I'll rename the group, accordingly. I liked Sandy's idea of "Reading Through the Ages." Perhaps expand it a bit to, "Reading Classics Through the Ages"?
• Let's discuss what we shall read in 2018! :-D

I admit to not wanting to tackle Thucydides right away. I'm still working on finishing Herodotus by end of this year, and I while I definitely want to read The Peloponnesian War, I need a bit of a break from the long history tomes... :-P

Basing the plan off of Julie's awesome idea, with a couple tweaks of my own, here is what 2018 would look like:

JAN/FEB: 400 BCE: The Birds, Aristophanes; DRAMA
MAR/APR: Optional Book 1, circa 400 BC or earlier
MAY/JUN/JUL/AUG: 400 BCE; The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides; HISTORY
SEP/OCT: Optional Book 2, circa 400 BC or earlier
NOV/DEC: Optional Book 3, circa 400 BC or earlier

I wasn't sure if Thucydides would go better during the summertime (May-Aug), or during the fall/winter (Sep-Dec). I arbitrarily threw it in the summer, but we can move it. Please let me know if you have a preference.

Here are my own non-TWEM books from my own Literary Project list that I'll throw out as nominations for the Optional books:

430 BCE; Zeno’s Paradoxes, Zeno of Elea; PHILOSOPHY
400 BCE; Bhagavad Gita, Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsa; PHILOSOPHY
400 BCE; The Book of Chuang Tzu, Chuang-Tzu/Zhuangzi; PHILOSOPHY
400 BCE; Tattva-Kaumudi/Samkhya, Karika; PHILOSOPHY
(Also note that I plan to read the Rg Veda in January, but it's dated ~1500 BCE. I just know that some of you are interested in reading it too, so I thought I'd mention it here.)

But, again, please feel free to nominate other books!!! We don't have to stick with my selections.

(Another side note: Is anyone reading Hippocrates right now? Just know that I'm going to extend that read through the end of this year.)


message 2: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Hmmm...or maybe: “Reading Classics, Chronologically Through the Ages”


message 3: by Sorento62 (last edited Oct 11, 2017 07:23AM) (new)

Sorento62 | 61 comments Mod
I'll nominate The Analects. Confucius died in 479 BC, but Goodreads lists first publication as 429 BC. I'd suggest it for March/April 2018.

From Wikipedia: The Analects of Confucius is a collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been compiled and written by Confucius' followers. It is believed to have been written during the Warring States period (475–221 BC), and it achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics, but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty.

I see you have already read The Analects, Kenia. But perhaps you'd like to discuss it with others here.


message 4: by Sorento62 (new)

Sorento62 | 61 comments Mod
I'll also nominate Sappho: A New Translation, the poems and fragments of Sappho, who lived on the Greek island of Lesbos, published circa 600 BC.

I am also interested in
The Upanishads: Translations from the Sanskrit,
The Dhammapada,
and from your list:
Zeno's Paradoxes
and
Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings.

While I don't have The Bhagavad Gita on my TBR right now, I do think it would be a good one as well.


message 5: by Cleo (last edited Oct 11, 2017 08:29AM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
I'd be interested in Sappho and perhaps Zeno. I actually would interested in all of them, however it would take me off track from my classics list. I'm entering a new phase of life and with work and a new food blog I started, I'm finding that I have less time for reading. I'm determined to work that time back in, but right now it's a work-in-progress. So we'll see .... I'm hopeful .....

If we could skip over the optional pre-400 BC books, we could get to Aristotle sooner. Just sayin' 'cause he's on my list. ;-)


message 6: by Sandy (last edited Oct 11, 2017 04:01PM) (new)

Sandy  | 125 comments Kenia wrote: "Hmmm...or maybe: “Reading Classics, Chronologically Through the Ages”"

Very nice, Kenia. GREAT, in fact! You’ve covered all the bases, I think. :-)


message 7: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
ooOOOooo, I have to throw in a 3rd vote for Sappho. I purchased If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho a few months ago, but haven't read it yet.

I've renamed the group, and made slight edits to the description!

We have over two months to finalize our picks for 2018, but right now this is what we have nominated for the 3 "Optional Book" slots:

1) The Analects
2) The Upanishads: Translations from the Sanskrit
3) The Dhammapada
4) Zeno's Paradoxes
5) The Book of Chuang Tzu
6) Sappho
7) Bhagavad Gita
8) Aristotle (Poetics or Physics??)

(Aristotle is more ~330 BCE so, to read chronologically, I think it would work to fit him into Optional Book slot #3)

Also, let me know if any of you have any preference with regards to Thucydides occurring during the summertime (May-Aug) or during the fall/winter (Sep-Dec).

Exciting!!! :-D


message 8: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrary) | 146 comments Mod
I'll put a vote in for Sappho too!

As much as I am trying to focus on TWEM books personally (I mean, I'd like to complete the list at some point) I think broadening the scope of this group is going to be good. I'ts crazy that we're already looking ahead to 2018. Man does time fly!


message 9: by Sorento62 (new)

Sorento62 | 61 comments Mod
Kendra wrote: "As much as I am trying to focus on TWEM books personally (I mean, I'd like to complete the list at some point) I think broadening the scope of this group is going to be good."

I'm very glad it seems like this will work for you too, Kendra!


message 10: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Happy New Year everyone!!!!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season? I was very busy traveling every single weekend in December (hence my absence from the group for a while). I know several of you have also been busy (Cleo, I'm looking at you and your fabulous food blog! :-D ), but I truly hope it was a busyness involving loving family & friends, holiday season joy, lots of scrumptious food, and, of course, the reading of books. :-)

Here's what we've got for 2018:

JAN/FEB: 400 BCE: The Birds, Aristophanes; DRAMA
MAR/APR: Optional Book 1: ~600 BCE: Sappho; POETRY
MAY/JUN/JUL/AUG: 400 BCE; The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides; HISTORY
SEP/OCT: Optional Book 2, circa 400 BC or earlier
NOV/DEC: Optional Book 3, circa 400 BC or earlier

I threw in Sappho for the 1st Optional book, since it received 4 votes from the above thread, and because she lived around the 600 BCE date mark.

For the remaining 2 slots, we have time. Eventually I will ask for everyone to please submit nominations.

Happy reading!!!


message 11: by Kenia (last edited Feb 08, 2018 10:08PM) (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

Firstly, I'm really looking forward to beginning Aristophanes in about a week or so. Has anyone else already begun?

Secondly, I've been feeling restless and wondering about this entire project. The full literary list I have totals 340 books at the moment. TWEM books number 189 (I have a spreadsheet that's easy to filter-ha!).
The idea has come to me multiple times over the last year, so I thought I'd finally bring it up: I keep thinking of doing a "first sweep" through the list, just TWEM books, and then going back and doing a "second sweep" to fill in history with all the other books that Bauer did not list.

I'm sorry to keep bringing up ideas on how to change things, but I can't help myself, lol.

I would appreciate responses on how people feel about all this. Shall we continue as we were, or should we switch over to only reading Susan Bauer's recommended list?
(Of course, anyone can still read other non-TWEM books, and I'm happy to create discussion folders for them all. I don't mean to imply that we will never read those other books until we're completely done with the TWEM list! We can make TWEM the official schedule, and read other "bonus" books--such as Sappho, for example--whenever we feel like it.)


Thirdly, I'm also strongly leaning towards switching to monthly instead of bi-monthly (exceptions can be made for the extra long behemoths, such as Thucydides). If we were to stick to only TWEM books:
189 - 9 we've already read (Gilgamesh through Hippocrates) = 180 books / 12 months = 15 years.

That number 15 sounds terrifying at first, but, as I like to say, "The time will pass anyway!" Plus, we're all lifelong readers here anyway. ;-)



P.S.-- Feb-Dec for 2018 would look like this:

FEB -400 The Birds Aristophanes DRAMA
MAR/APR -400 The Peloponnesian War Thucydides HISTORY
MAY -375 The Republic Plato HISTORY
JUN -330 Poetics Aristotle DRAMA
JUL -330 Physics Aristotle SCIENCE
AUG -65 Odes Horace POETRY
SEP -60 On the Nature of Things (De Rerun Natura) Lucretius SCIENCE
OCT 100 Lives Plutarch HISTORY (selections, perhaps?)
NOV 400 The Confessions Augustine AUTOBIOGRAPHY
DEC/JAN 426 The City of God Augustine HISTORY


Also, just to reiterate: discussions for all books remain open at all times! Regardless of schedule, anyone can go back to any "old" read and discuss it anytime they'd like!


message 12: by Sorento62 (new)

Sorento62 | 61 comments Mod
Hi Kenia-
What you are saying does make a lot of sense, just in order to get through history in a manageable number of years, rather than being stuck in ancient history for a whole decade. That is probably part of why Bauer divided the chronologies by genre, so that the reader can make multiple sweeps through history, presumably with more insight accumulating each time through.
I think we have established that this group is not going to follow the one genre at a time model as that can also be limiting, especially for the adults of wide intellectual curiosity who most of us are. But you are right that it will take FOREVER to get through all of history if we keep the extra books in and also continue a relatively slow pace.
So it comes down to whether people want to focus on depth and staying in one time period for years at a time — or to focus on cycling through history in an actual feasible amount of time with the TWEM books as the core group curriculum.
Geez... The *idea* of including lots of books and really seeing a diverse mix of literature, philosophy , etc. chronologically through history is so appealing... But doing the math, the number of years to get through it all (with extra books included) is staggering, and frankly probably unrealistic for some of us who are older, or perhaps even for anyone who realizes life expectancy is not a guarantee. Even with just all the TWEM books, as you say, it is a long time. But at least it is a realistic and feasible time, even if long.
So as much as I hate to admit it, I think the answer has to be to focus on the TWEM books. (Ouch, I really do have a hard time with that.) Otherwise, we aren’t gonna read chronologically through history, but only through *ancient* history.
I need to reassess my own long term reading plans and see how I would adjust to that more realistic, if not so ambitious and elegant, method.
Julie
P.S. I have been ill for over a month (from one of my prescriptions, actually). Finally got it diagnosed and changed medications and am starting to feel more alert again. But I have been reading very little so far this year up til now —which doesn’t help either.


message 13: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
That's terrible, Julie, I'm so sorry! There are so many prescription reactions nowadays and it's rather appalling. I hope that you're feeling better soon. Sending healing thoughts your way!


message 14: by Cleo (last edited Feb 09, 2018 10:09AM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
Kenia, I really love this new idea! I was focusing on the main WEM books because I feel they really will give you a base and then you can slot other books in from there. I'm having struggles reading at all at the moment because I've started working and I'm trying to keep my new food blog going. I should have time to at least be slightly consistent but other intermittent things have come up to take up that time so I haven't been very successful. I would like to start the Birds in February. I've finished Thucydides and am part way through Plato and I've also started both Plutarch and City of God. Don't ask how it became such a mess but I really need something focussed to pull me through and a schedule and buddy readers would be the way to do it. So yay! for your new plan!


message 15: by Sorento62 (new)

Sorento62 | 61 comments Mod
Thanks, Cleo. I got a kidney transplant almost 13 years ago. My aunt Susie gave me one of hers, bless her. So I am pretty much bought into the world of modern medicine, with all its benefits and side effects. I’m just glad at this point there is an alternative drug that can also work to suppress my system rejecting the transplanted kidney.


message 16: by Sandy (new)

Sandy  | 125 comments Julie, I'm sorry to hear that you have been having health issues. Yours sound particularly complex. I hope things improve steadily for you. You'll be in my thoughts.


message 17: by Sandy (new)

Sandy  | 125 comments Kenia et al. -- Much to my chagrin, I haven't been as involved here as I would like but life has had other plans for me in recent months. TWEM is a huge commitment, both for the young and healthy who are trying to juggle careers and families and for those who are facing the many challenges of aging. My interest has not waned, but my energy level has. I still remain hopeful that I will be able to join in here now and again. Be assured that I remain with you in spirit. :-)


message 18: by Kenia (last edited Feb 09, 2018 08:41PM) (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Sorento62 wrote: "...I have been ill for over a month..."

Julie, I am SO sorry to hear you've not been feeling well. I'm very happy to hear that they have found an alternative to help your body remain a welcome home for your kidney. Modern medicine has some drawbacks, but overall it is truly wondrous.

Sorento62 wrote: "...Geez... The *idea* of including lots of books and really seeing a diverse mix of literature, philosophy , etc. chronologically through history is so appealing...
...
So as much as I hate to admit it, I think the answer has to be to focus on the TWEM books. (Ouch, I really do have a hard time with that.)..."


I know! I have a hard time with it too. I look over my preciously curated list of so many wondrous adventures and things to learn from all over the world, and it's hard. But as I said before, it doesn't mean we can't decide to discuss other books outside of our TWEM schedule! We should create discussions for any books we'd like to talk about.


message 19: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Cleo wrote: "Kenia, I really love this new idea! I was focusing on the main WEM books because I feel they really will give you a base and then you can slot other books in from there..."

I have begun to see things your way Cleo! :-) I'm glad you like the idea. Seems so much more straightforward than what we were trying to do before.

Cleo wrote: "I would like to start the Birds in February. I've finished Thucydides and am part way through Plato and I've also started both Plutarch and City of God. Don't ask how it became such a mess but I really need something focussed to pull me through and a schedule and buddy readers would be the way to do it. So yay! for your new plan!..."

LOL! That all just makes me laugh. Your excitement in all of it is infectious. I don't know that I would call it a mess, as I'm sure you have your own system that works for you in place, but I'm glad to hear that we'll be on the same page with focusing on several TWEM books that you are already tackling. Plus, I do remember you wanted to get to Aristotle soon! ;-)


message 20: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Sandy (CA) wrote: "Kenia et al. -- Much to my chagrin, I haven't been as involved here as I would like but life has had other plans for me in recent months. TWEM is a huge commitment, both for the young and healthy w..."

Sandy, please know that I enjoy your company. Just read with us according to your interests and what your energy allows, and know you'll always have more than willing book conversation partners here. :-)


message 21: by Sandy (new)

Sandy  | 125 comments Kenia wrote: "Sandy, please know that I enjoy your company. Just read with us according to your interests and what your energy allows, and know you'll always have more than willing book conversation partners here."

Thanks so very much, Kenia. xo


message 22: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
Sorento62 wrote: "Thanks, Cleo. I got a kidney transplant almost 13 years ago. My aunt Susie gave me one of hers, bless her. So I am pretty much bought into the world of modern medicine, with all its benefits and si..."

My friend's son had a number of liver transplants so I have an idea of how complex these transplants can be. Take care of yourself and I'm glad to hear things are looking up!


message 23: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
Sandy (CA) wrote: "Kenia et al. -- Much to my chagrin, I haven't been as involved here as I would like but life has had other plans for me in recent months. TWEM is a huge commitment, both for the young and healthy w..."

That's too bad to hear about your energy levels, Sandy. I hope you can join us for a few, but I also know these complex books demand alot of mental energy, so I understand. At the moment, I'm looking after my blind mother while my horribly difficult father has a knee replacement and I have very little energy left now. I can't wait to get back home and back to normal (whatever that is!) Take care!


message 24: by Cleo (last edited Feb 10, 2018 11:02AM) (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
Kenia wrote: "LOL! That all just makes me laugh. Your excitement in all of it is infectious. I don't know that I would call it a mess, as I'm sure you have your own system that works for you in place,..."

Under my previous circumstances, my system was working but since I've added some work AND I'm trying to keep my food blog going, the system is REALLY a mess! I used to be able to read many books at once but now I need to switch it up and concentrate on one or two, or three at the very most. No more 8 books at one time. That's just crazy! It makes me feel overwhelmed and I end up reading nothing. However, I have a problem with book distraction so there's always something popping up that I want to read. I have to put on blinders, lol! Looking forward to starting the new system!


message 25: by Kendra (new)

Kendra (kendrary) | 146 comments Mod
I'm glad we're going full steam ahead! Which reminds me that I need to keep going on Herodotus so I can catch up!


message 26: by Sandy (last edited Feb 10, 2018 02:08PM) (new)

Sandy  | 125 comments Cleo wrote: "At the moment, I'm looking after my blind mother while my horribly difficult father has a knee replacement and I have very little energy left now. "

It sure is nice to see you dropping in here again, Cleo. There was a long spell when we didn't see you very often (and I do understand why -- this is not a guilt-trip, just a comment!). You have a LOT on your plate again though, don't you? No wonder you're feeling depleted (probably emotionally as well as physically?) Do you have any idea when you'll be able to return home?

I can't wait to get back home and back to normal (whatever that is!).

Haha! I hear you! I left "normal" behind a long time ago. :-D


message 27: by Cleo (new)

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
Sandy wrote: "Cleo wrote: "At the moment, I'm looking after my blind mother while my horribly difficult father has a knee replacement and I have very little energy left now. "

It sure is nice to see you droppin..."


Oh heavens, I've been so busy I didn't even see your comment until now, Sandy. I'm home but I'm now working about 6-7 days per week. And loooong days! Yesterday I didn't finish until 9 pm. So needless to say I've had very limited reading time still. And the end isn't in sight yet. So I will endure in hopes that fairer reading times are somewhere in my future, hopefully sooner rather than later. I hope you are doing well. I do get a jolt of happiness and nostalgia when I see my book friend's books pop up on my GR feed!


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