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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Orientalism
Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It - Arthur Herman Fascinating book about the impact Scotland has had on the world.

Most Scottish people are familiar with the poem, Wha's Like Us, which lists many Scottish inventions and innovations. Link here : http://www.aboutaberdeen.com/whaslikeus.php


Reading this book made me appreciate even more how much the Scots have impacted the world with the little they had and with the tragedies they experienced. I learned a few interesting facts:

- One thing that the Scottish, Irish and English could agree on was their hatred of Oliver Cromwell.

- Scotland was the first modern literary society in Europe

- Scotland had the world's first lending library (made me love the Scots even more).

It wasn't just inventions that the Scottish brought to the world, but ideas too. Some were even radical. For example, in 1777, slavery was already banned in Scotland; an African slave who had escaped from his English master was set free by the Scottish courts who stated "no man is by nature the property of another." I was impressed greatly by the fact that the Scottish did not believe race determined culture, mainly because their own history was viewed as savage and barbaric by others. It's amazing that they realized that nurture, not nature ,was to blame for human behaviour( as opposed to skin colour). I think the olden-day Scots could teach us a thing or two about that.

This book also tells the negative parts of Scottish history; the revolutions, uprisings, famines etc.

To me, it's still amazing that such a small country affected the world so greatly.

A great book to read for all history lovers.