• Conceived in Liberty, Volume 4 — The Revolutionary War, 1775-1784, by Murray Rothbard, read by Dr. Floy Lilley. — The last book of the series. It was very interesting to see how English politics affected the process and outcome of the war. Mr. Rothbard presents a perspective on George Washington which I don’t think is often heard. This series left me wanting more. I wish there was a volume on the writing and ratification of the Constitution and George Washington’s presidency. Indeed, I would have liked to continue through the presidents and had his perspective on the Civil War, an issue which was briefly addressed in this volume, but that must have comprised many more volumes.
• Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, with Lisa M. Ross — The introduction and first two chapters of this book were very slow going. The language was flowery (rather at odds with the subject matter of the book!) and extremely repetitive. It eventually picked up about chapter 3, though, where the author started actually saying something — fortunately, as I think he had much of value to say.
• The Warden, by Anthony Trollope, read by David Shaw-Parker — A short novel, the first of Anthony Trollope’s six Barsetshire novels. It is an amusing little book, full of church politics of the period.
• Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, by Whit Stillman — From the clips I’ve seen of Whit Stillman’s new movie Love & Friendship (based on Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan), I’d say this book is basically the screenplay, with elaborations by a character not in the movie. This new character, Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca, is amusing, however. After his piece is said in attempting to defend his aunt (he is supposedly the nephew of Sir James Martin), the original text of Lady Susan is included in the back, accompanied by further observations (or protests) from the said Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca.
• The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets, by William Shakespeare, read by Kathleen Turner and others (Airplay, 1999) — I listened to these to fill up the gap between finishing The Warden and getting ahold of an audiobook of Barchester Towers. Having the 154 sonnets read by a variety of narrators kept them from running into each other. Shakespeare’s sonnets are beautiful, romantic, and often humorous. Many of the themes are familiar from his plays: love, acting, and so on.
“To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold,
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d,
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv’d:
For fear of which, hear this thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.” — Sonnet 104
Painting: A Favourite Author, by John Arthur Lomax (1857-1923).