Friday, November 11, 2011


Well judging by the response to Monday's post, history is definitely not a thing of the past.

You all had a lot to say about this.

I liked Anthony's story about hearing his dad's war stories and thinking they were from a long time ago and then finding out later they were just a few years before he was born. How long ago does something have to happen before it's history? I might get to that next week.

I also appreciated that he still had the energy to comment at half past three in the morning

Prudence had memories of her dad's stories too, and most people agreed - it's stories that keep us interested enough to learn. Karen though sent me to the corner (not the first time I've been there!) for saying the H word. She loved history - but maybe she had a better teacher than mine.

Or maybe the teacher had a better student?

Martin learned to love history through the old novels at his secondary school - White Fang, King Solomon's Mines and Prester John. Kevin found real two hundred year old letters were his inspiration.

Debra pointed out what a difference a great teacher makes. I agree - the really good teachers of this world are rare gifts in anyone's life. Though John pointed out that history teachers face an uphill battle, because there's a lot more history now than when he was born! How do they keep up?

Geri mentioned what a great job the BBC in England did in teaching history to its audiences, citing those two classic pieces of TV drama, The Wives Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. If you want a taste of it, and Keith Michell's brilliant performance as Henry, here's an excerpt:

And then there was VS Naipaul. 

Some of you felt that luck plays a large part in success while Debra felt that the approach from the literary gatekeepers as to what is good and what is bad is too rigid.

Anthony had actually read A Free State back in 1984. He wondered if sometimes we're all a bit too lazy to put the work in on the tough books.

I still find the story about the violin virtuoso fascinating. If you'd like to read the whole story from the Washington Post, you'll find the link below.

It's just a wonderful, thoughtful piece of writing and deservedly won Gene Weingarten the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 2008. It's a gem of itself. It's called 'Pearls Before Breakfast.'


But it's a long read, so if you're pushed for time, just close your eyes, sit back and find out what those people at the train station were missing. Here is Joshuah Bell playing Chopin's Nocturne in C minor. Take three minutes and forty five seconds out of your busy day to listen to true beauty. 

It won't cost you a cent.  

Thank you all for your comments and your thoughts. Havagoodweekend Mister Walker!

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