Beautiful Sentences: Kelly Link

Now that we are married, we will have the same dreams.

Kelly Link, “Shoe and Marriage.”

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Beautiful Sentences: Raymond Carver

In addition to being in love, we like each other and enjoy one another’s company. She’s easy to be with.

Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”

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Beautiful Sentences: Christian Wiman

Intellectuals and artists concerned with faith tend to underestimate the radical, inviolable innocence it requires. We read and read, write long, elaborate essays and letters, engage in endlessly inflected philosophical debates. We talk of poetry as prayer, artistic discipline as a species of religious devotion, doubt as the purest form of faith. These ideas are not inherently false. Indeed, there may be a deep truth in them. But the truth is, you might say, on the other side of innocence—permanently. That is, you don’t once pass through religious innocence into the truths of philosophy or theology or literature, any more than you pass through the wonder of childhood into the wisdom of age.

Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss.

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Dewey Decimal Project: 478.2 SHA Essential Latin: The language and life of ancient Rome

It’s been a long time Essential Latin ince I studied Latin, but I figured that it’s been long enough that a refresher will be welcome, but short enough that the refresher won’t be redundant.

Sharpley incorporates a bit of cultural background alongside the language lessons which provides a nice supplement. This is generally connected to the Latin readings that compose part of each chapter which are perhaps the most notable aspect of the text—each chapter includes a number of short Latin passages (typically 1–3 sentences) with supplementary vocabulary following each. On occasion, the passage is slightly bowdlerized to make it more accessible to the student, but it’s an opportunity to actually read classical texts. Unfortunately, there is an unspoken assumption that the student will learn that supplementary vocabulary alongside the regularly enumerated vocabulary of each chapter which meant that, since I failed to do this in the early chapters, the Latin readings in the later chapters became increasingly inscrutable. 

My only other complaint was that Sharpley has a tendency to skip over some aspects of grammar central to the lesson, choosing instead to point the student to the appendix where the appropriate declension or conjugation is completely enumerated. I can understand the urge to keep the page count from ballooning unnecessarily, but forcing the student into the back of the book like this feels a bit like a gratuitous economy.

Overall, with some minor adjustments, this would be an excellent introduction to Latin and I would love to try rebuilding my Latin from a more grammatically comprehensive text than this is.

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Beautiful Sentences: Nathan Englander

His mother sometimes looked our way as she came and went from the house. She didn’t reveal anything that we were mature enough to read—only kept on, often with a palm pressed to the small of her back.

Nathan Englander, “How We Avenged the Blums.”

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Beautiful Sentences: Christian Wiman

Sometimes God calls a person to unbelief in order that faith may find new forms.

Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss.

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Beautiful Sentences: Derek Robinson

In mid-March the sky over France was all exuberance. Ragged flotillas of cloud sailed before a brisk west wind. Sunlight sought out the gaps and flickered over the new-green fields far below, The sky was a place of awakening, of vigour, as full of life as the million seeds in the earth. Woolley hacked a long, scarlet gash in it with a burst of machine-gun fire and pulled up hard into a tight, half-rolling turn so he could look back and down.

Derek Robinson, Goshawk Squadron.

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Beautiful Sentences: Richard Dooling

His fourth day in Africa was spent deep in the interior of a remote, unmapped equatorial latrine exploring the dark incontinent.

Richard Dooling, White Man‘s Grave.

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Beautiful Sentences: Elie Wiesel

And yet only fanatics—in religion as well as politics—can find a meaning in someone else’s death. That’s what distinguishes them from mystics, or most of us, whose only concern is our own death.

Elie Wiesel, The Judges.

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Beautiful Sentences: Charles Willeford

Policemen undoubtedly had some kind of inborn perverted streak that normal men like himself didn’t have.

Charles Willeford, Miami Blues.

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