“Out, out, brief candle:” An English Professor and Stephen Hawking

Credit: NASA/Paul Alers

The death of Stephen Hawking struck me with an unexpected intensity. I spent an hour online, just before bed, trying to determine whether or not this was one of those “celebrity death hoax” things. And then I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling of my bedroom, listening to my husband sleeping and wondering to myself, “what now?” A literature professor devastated by the loss of a theoretical physicist. Some things really are stranger than fiction.

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.

I’ve wrestled with my emotions these last couple of days, trying to decide whether or not to write about this. I feel like an imposter. An interloper! I’m not a scientist. Still, I’ve always been fascinated with it. In high school, I took every class in the sciences that I could, from earth and planetary sciences to medical chemistry, from animal behavior to human physiology. I even started college as a biology/pre-medicine major and explored courses in geology, physics, and astronomy. But, I have never been “good” at science. I failed my first year of college chemistry because, when the professor started lecturing about “moles” and “imaginary numbers,” I got up and walked out of the room, never to return. (Okay, I retook the course a semester later and did alright). I love the word “quark,” but don’t ask me to explain what it is. I only remember that “mitosis” is a thing because it’s a word in one of my favorite songs, “Imitosis” by Andrew Bird.  

I did end up becoming a doctor, after all, but with a penchant for philosophy rather than physics; and despite my personal difficulties with the subject matter, I have always considered myself a fan of Hawking’s. I’ve read some of his books, watched the recent biopic The Theory of Everything a few times, and always found him a welcome, quirky addition to any television show where he appeared as special guest. Yet, despite my being interested in his life and work, I didn’t expect to respond as intensely to his death as I have, with this deep sense of loss. It feels like a dear colleague, even a family member, has passed, and unexpectedly at that.

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.

Of course, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in the 1960s and lived on, actively, for an incredible 55 years. He was also in his 70s when he passed away, so he lived a full life despite his disease. His death, then, should perhaps not have come as such a shock, and yet it feels shocking. Somehow, as nonsensical as this sounds, I expected him to live forever. He was Stephen Freaking Hawking, after all.

As I’ve thought about his passing over these last 48-hours, I realize that part of my shock and grief must come from a sense of severe disappointment that it has happened now. I feel we are living in a particularly dark, cynical, and mad age. Our society has fallen prey to forces that aim to discredit facts, create prejudice against science, and reject the virtue of honesty. Ignorance, bias, anti-intellectualism, and a gleeful embracing of actual “fake news,” has become a rallying cry and a way of life for much of our population.

And in the midst of these attacks on education, on invention, and on truth, we lose a man like Stephen Hawking, who devoted his life to seeking and spreading knowledge, and who did so in a way that embraced the reality that people approach science from different perspectives and backgrounds, and at varying levels of preparedness. He was a people’s scientist, a brilliant mind guided by a simply human heart, and a man whose voice and conscience we need more of now. The void he leaves behind seems impossible to fill and makes that darkness seem even more impenetrable and unavoidable.

I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

So, it is loss and sadness that I feel, yes. But more than that, it is despair. These unrelenting attacks on common sense become harder and harder to bear every day, especially to someone who devotes his life to the pursuit of truth and to equipping others with the tools they need to think for themselves, and to appreciate that ability. This is a great burden to lay upon the death of one man, I know. And in spite of my melancholy, I do want to remember Stephen Hawking for the good he has done for the world, and for me.

Hawking the Writer

I first encountered Hawking when I was a senior in high school. I had completed all four years of my diploma requirements by the time I was a junior, so I was able to take whatever extra electives I wanted in my final year. One of the classes was “Independent Reading” (shocker!) I’ve always been more of a fiction reader, but I took the opportunity in that class to read a lot of non-fiction, everything from a biography of Harry Caray (“Hooooly Cow!”) to Hoyle’s Rules of Games. Another book I remember was Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I’m sure I only understood about 34% of that book, if I’m being generous. But it blew my mind anyway, and it led me to The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time, and On the Shoulders of Giants.

Reading Hawking also led me to Carl Sagan (thanks to a friendly librarian who understood card catalogs better than I did). I read Sagan’s Cosmos, Contact, and The Demon-Haunted World. Sagan led me to other books, such as Homer Hickam’s Rocket Boys, which led to movies like October Sky, Space Camp, and the like. So, Stephen Hawking literally opened up an entire universe to me, a kind of intellectual quest that was and continues to be nearly spiritual in its own way, and a genre that, otherwise, I may never have explored. Most recently, the road from Hawking has led to my reading books like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science. Had I not been a wandering, wondering, lost-but-eager 17-year-old kid who just happened to stumble across Hawking at that one opportune moment, I don’t even know what kind of reader, or person, I would be today.

Hawking the Human Being

Since first reading Hawking’s works, I’ve learned a lot about him as a person. According to his family, Hawking once said, “it would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” To me, this sentiment expresses the type of person Hawking was, at least as I’ve come to know him from afar. He had his human faults, like anyone else, and these have been expressed in biographies written about him, in the latest film about his life, and by Hawking himself, who despite his rare brilliance was also humble and self-aware. Still, to me, Hawking has always balanced an appreciation for the everyday human experience and human needs, with the genius required of him by his pursuits in theoretical physics. It seems to me a rare ability to be able to live with one foot in the “real” world and another planted firmly amongst the stars.

Some of the most impressive and personally meaningful things I’ve learned about Hawking include his support of women, both in the sciences and in general. He called himself a feminist and supported equal pay and opportunity for women, something the sciences and academia still struggle with despite our supposed “progressive” cultures. Hawking was also a champion for truth. He is famous for his statement that, “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” This message resonates strongly today, in an age that celebrates personal opinion above objective fact, an age that suggests we should all be free to abide by our own perceptions of truth rather than challenging us to aspire to creditable fact.

I’ve tried to recall all the times I saw him on some television show or another. I can distinctly remember him appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory, although I know that’s not even close to a complete listing of his presence in pop culture. That desire and willingness to reach out to popular audiences always impressed me, and it is something I see in upcoming scientists. I know they, too, must have been inspired by his desire and ability to bridge that sometimes ominous gap. Hawking also had a great sense of humor. He joked constantly about himself and his “grand” pursuits and gave of his time rather freely for someone who must have been incredibly busy. And finally, his philanthropy efforts, both with his own foundation and with other charitable events and organizations, are just another reason to respect him as a human being, one who cared deeply for the human race and who seemed to genuinely worry about our future together.

Hawking the Marvel

Of course, what most impresses me about Stephen Hawking is simply how impressive he was. Intellectually and physically, he was a mystery and a marvel. The more I learn about Stephen Hawking, and the more I try to decipher his work (only the mass audience stuff, as I’m not nearly capable enough of reading his academic work), the more I realize how little I know about life, the universe, and everything. That kind of thinking used to leave me feeling depressed and desperately anxious. Will I have enough time to learn everything I want to learn? To do everything I want to do? To begin living the kind of life, and being the kind of person, I want? My stoic teachings have helped me learn to stop questioning and start doing, but Hawking’s life demonstrates this philosophy in action.

I look to Hawking and other personal heroes, now, and find some of that anxiety, thankfully, has dissipated. I’ve learned to understand these women and men as human beings, too, with their own struggles and challenges. Hawking certainly lived a life filled with challenges; yet he refused to let them stop him, as many of us would. He also found time to spread positivity and passion and encouragement to the millions of people around the world who needed to hear the purest of messages: you can do it.  

Hawking once said, “my goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” I think he must have come closer than anyone else in living memory to achieving this. His appreciation for the simple facts of life, his understanding of the bigger mysteries, and his joy in the mundane, must have made the experience of life the greatest event of all. I can only hope to achieve an ounce of that kind of perspective, that kind of drive, and that kind of focused passion. An ounce of the Hawking model would be a dream to me.

So, farewell, giant. May we build upon your shoulders.

And may we prove ourselves deserving of your legacy.  


March Checkpoint! #TBR2018RBR

Greetings, Challengers!

So, here we are in our third month of the TBR Pile Challenge – 25% of the way done! I am pleased to announce that we have 60+ book reviews linked up in our Mr. Linky widget (below). Nice work! Can we get another 30 this month?

As a reminder, the winner of the first Mini-Challenge was Fanda from Fanda Classiclit! Fanda won a book of her choice ($20USD) from The Book Depository. She chose a copy of Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, in honor of Dickens’s birthday. Enjoy, Fanda! Our second mini-challenge with prize will happen in April! 

Question of the Month

This month’s question is simple: what’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? (It could be from this challenge, but it doesn’t need to be). If you feel so inclined, you might also share which has been your worst read of the year (any DNFs?) 

My Progress: 4 of 12 Completed / 3 of 12 Reviewed

So far, I’ve read 4 of my 12 required books. At the moment, I’m confident that I will be able to read and review all 14 books on my TBR Pile Challenge list this year! I’m excited about that because I’m usually playing catch-up at the end of the year. What has been more challenging, though, is getting my reviews written in a reasonable timeframe. I have four books sitting in a pile to be reviewed, a couple of recent ones but a couple from weeks ago. This becomes a real challenge because the more time goes by, the less I can remember about what I meant to say about the book in the first place! Uh oh. I guess I have a new goal for myself… write my reviews within a few days of finishing the book(s)? 

Books Read So Far:

How are you doing?


Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be re-posted every month so that we can compile a large list of all that we’re reading and reviewing together this year.

Each review that is linked-up on this widget throughout the year may also earn you entries into future related giveaways, so don’t forget to keep this updated!


Deuteronomy 17-Joshua 4 #2018BibleRBR

‘The Children of Israel Crossing the Jordan” (Gustave Dore)

Reading the Bible as Literature

Week Ten: Deuteronomy 17–Joshua 4

Deuteronomy closes with Moses reminding his people of all the good god has done for them and of all the laws that must be kept if the people are to honor god and stay in his favor. Failure to keep god’s laws could result in anything from plagues to banishment to total annihilation, so the last few chapters are, much like the last couple of books, reiterations of all the laws and customs, as well as who is responsible for what (such as the priests acting as leaders, doctors, judges, etc.). At the very end of the book, after Moses has shared his final wisdom with the Israelites and prophecies blessings and curses, god tells him to go up on Mount Nebo, where he can see all the land that will become Israel. Here, Moses dies alone with god, who buries him. God raises up Joshua to replace Moses as leader, and Joshua begins the work of preparing his people to cross the river Jordan and invade Jericho.

One God: As in the previous chapters of Deuteronomy, one of the most prominent messages is that the people of Israel must commit to serving and worshiping only one god. As such, anyone who worships other gods or idols, such as the sun and moon, must be put to death. The priests who are compiling this part of the bible are clearly struggling to deal with some continued interest in polytheism; including strict laws and severe punishments for such dual-beliefs, along with assimilating important traditions into this new faith, is a surer way to gain full compliance with the laws of Yahvism (monotheism – Abrahamic). On the bright side, it takes 3 witnesses to prove someone is guilty of worshiping other gods, so at least a single spiteful neighbor would be somewhat prevented from easily settling a grudge (or stealing his neighbor’s wife/land/cattle/daughter, etc.)

Good Laws, Bad Laws: Deuteronomy reinforces some of the laws pertaining to gender constructs, family obedience, clothing, and sexual encounters. For example, Deuteronomy 21:11-13 tells us that a woman taken captive can be taken as a wife after thirty days, but she cannot be enslaved or made a prostitute. That’s pretty cool. In addition, Deuteronomy 22:25-26 explains that rapists will be put to death. Hoorah! On the other hand, Deuteronomy 21:21 notes that “stubborn” or disobedient children should be stoned to death by the city, and that “cross-dressing” is an abomination (22:5). There are a whole bunch of other new laws outlined in this part of the book, as well as reminders about old standards. Some are logical and some are, well, weird.

Song of Moses: Deuteronomy 32:1-43 is written as a poem, often referred to as “Song of Moses.” Just before Moses is to die, god tells him that he should translate their history and laws into song, which he would then share with his people, who could then teach it to their children and grandchildren, etc. In many ways, this is perhaps the earliest iteration of a didactic “hymn,” a song that praises god while incorporating instructions from god. The Song of Moses relays the entire history of the Israelites, including their escape from Egypt and their 40-years’ wandering in the desert. There are reminders of faithfulness and faithlessness, as well as promises of blessings to the future faithful and curses to those who lapse.


Equal Punishment: Deuteronomy 19:21 gives us the famous passage about punishing people for transgressions. “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” This chapter also outlines some caveats, however, including the difference in punishing someone who accidentally kills another versus the punishment for intentional murder. One interesting element is the punishment for bearing false witness. Essentially, whatever the person bearing false witness hoped to accomplish, so shall be his punishment (e.g. If someone falsely claimed that a neighbor stole his goat in hopes that he himself would get a free goat or the cost of it returned to him, that man would instead have to pay up the same to the person he falsely accused.)

12 Stones: Early in the book of Joshua, 12 priests are called to stand in the river Jordan and hold back the waters while the Israelites cross it (similar to the parting of the Red Sea). These priests then each take a stone and place them in a “circle of stones.” This is a tradition older and more diverse than is represented in the story, here. Like the stones of Stonehenge, the practice was used by many cultures and for thousands of years before Joshua’s time, usually as a way of depicting the calendar (one stone for each month). It is likely that the circle of 12 stones described here was already in place in this location (Jericho was an ancient city, probably established around 5,000BC, well before the Israelites got there) but reframed by the priests to suit this story. Yahvism would have otherwise rejected the practice as repugnant to their monotheism.

Hexateuch: Although many treat Joshua as the beginning of the second division of the Bible, which contains 21 books that make up “The Prophets,” others consider Joshua the sixth book in the “Hexateuch.” It is likely that the source material for Joshua is the same as the material for the first five books, known as the “Pentateuch,” and that it was written/compiled by the priests at the same time; thus, treating Joshua as the end of the first section rather than the beginning of the second section, makes a whole lot of sense.     


On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century is an interesting and frightening review of some of the most troubling moments in world history. What makes it especially disturbing is that Snyder connects each of these moments with a current event or situation, articulating the similarities in clear detail and noting why we should all be concerned about what is happening in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China. Ultimately, each lesson is a rule for how to resist tyranny, and these rules come together to create a kind of resistance ethos. The historical moments connected to current events make the problems clear, and Snyder’s lessons remind us that, in the end, power rests with the people, even when all seems lost.

The twenty “rules” laid out in this book are as follows:

  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend institutions.
  3. Beware the one-party state.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language.
  10. Believe in truth.
  11. Investigate.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries.
  17. Listen for dangerous words.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  19. Be a patriot.
  20. Be as courageous as you can.

Even a cursory look at this list gives one an idea of how to go about the process of resisting authoritarianism, as well as subtle reminders of when and how fascism has manifested itself in the past. Of these rules and reminders, all of which are crucial, a few stood out to me.

First, “do not obey in advance.” Snyder recounts an experiment that was conducted to determine how willing individuals would be in causing pain to others if an authority figured (like a doctor) deemed it safe and necessary. The results were not encouraging, to say the least. Snyder reminds us to trust our own instincts and morals, and to put them into deep consideration against the instructions of any authority figure. Just because someone says “temporary pain is necessary for” whatever, doesn’t make it true. Should we ever inflict pain or hardship on anyone else? Really?

Another remarkable moment for me, in reading this short guide, is the call-to-action for defending democratic institutions. “We need paper ballots,” Snyder writes, and he is right. After what Russia did in the most recent election cycles, including in France and the United States, we must rise up at the local and state levels and demand that our representatives ensure the integrity of our electoral process. That probably means eliminating electronic polling machines, at this point, and returning to the paper process. It might take longer, but isn’t the effort and patience worth it, if it means rebuilding confidence in our process?

Snyder also asks us to “be kind to our language,” by which he means, don’t succumb to hyperbole and double-speak. Read books. Learn history (real history), and avoid the twenty-four-hour news cycle that treats everything like “breaking news” and conditions us to be always on the lookout for the next tragedy or event. This particular presidential administration seems masterful in its use of “breaking news” as devices of distraction. I hope that what we are seeing out of the Parkland students’ reactions is the beginning of a new mode of thinking, one which encourages long-term engagement and attentiveness.

“Believe in truth” is a particularly powerful idea right now. A long-feared problem has manifested itself in these last few years, one which has been predicted for a half-century by luminaries such as Isaac Asimov and George Orwell: the destruction of truth and fact; the creation of an environment wherein everything is true and false at the same time, and where opinions are treated as equally valid to fact. This has caused quite the nightmare for those of us who do deal in truth, but I think is even more damaging to those who haven’t yet recognized what is happening. We have to vocally and vehemently re-assert our right to truth and speak up in support of it whenever possible. Truth does exist. Not all opinions are valid. At some point, this is more important than hurting someone’s feelings.

Finally, taking personal action in the form of making friends, creating a private life where you surround yourself with like-minded people, and looking people in the eye, your neighbors and colleagues, is another important reminder. When tyranny rises, as it did in Nazi Germany and as it did during the “Red Scare” in the United States, it becomes only too easy for people to turn on their friends, co-workers, and neighbors. But we can make it harder by getting to know the people around us and building trust with them. There’s no easier prey for the state than a person with no friends or support. This also means, get active in one’s community and support the causes that one believes in. Chances are, when you are there for others, others may be more likely to show up for you, if and when you really need them.

These are just a few reactions to the twenty very important lessons Snyder details in his short but powerful book. I think fans of history and politics will enjoy this one for its blend of past and present, and the clear parallels Snyder draws between “then” and “now.” But I also think it’s a must-read for anyone who cares about the survival of democracy and the rule of law over the rise of tyranny and authoritarianism that encroaches more and more each day.


Numbers 35-Deuteronomy 16 #2018BibleRBR

Gustave Dore, “Moses Descending Mount Sinai”

Reading the Bible as Literature

Week Nine: Numbers 35-Deuteronomy 16

We have reached the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch – and the last of the books of Moses. Numbers closes with the Israelites reaching the promised land and the borders of the new nation being described. There is also a description of how the land will be divided (by lots) and in the differences between city-dwellers and suburbanites. Laws of marriage (intermarriage), inheritance, and the jubilee are reiterated. Deuteronomy picks up where numbers leaves off. I honestly have little to write, this week, because most of what happens in this section is a recounting of all that has happened so far, from the perspective of Moses. He is essentially on his deathbed, reminding the people about where they’ve been, what they have gone through, and what has been promised to them, so long as they remain faithful and obedient to their god and his commandments.

One God: Up until this point, the Israelite god is described as the true or supreme god, but there are quite a few concessions to the beliefs of others. The lingering cultural beliefs in multiple gods, and respect for the many nearby nations who do still hold those beliefs, had been begrudgingly tolerated while the Israelites were encouraged to focus on their own god, learn the new ways of this religion, and establish new laws and customs that would define them in contrast to the nations surrounding them. At this point, however, Moses firmly establishes that there is one god, and that all other beliefs in other gods are wrong, even an abomination worthy of death. The people are charged with teaching their children this most important law and are warned that the worship of other gods or idols, even be it a family member, will be punished severely. If anyone tries to turn your faith, god says, they shall be put to death.  

Poor Moses: Listen, Moses (and his brother, Aaron, before he died) has a lot to deal with. He has spent decades leading these poor, tired, sometimes cowed and sometimes rebellious people through the deserts. From land to land, to place to place, Moses must keep control, keep god’s temper in check, and punish his people severely when they go too far. And now, as the people finally reach Canaan and begin preparing to settle themselves in a homeland, Moses finds himself a breath away from death. God certainly has a twisted sense of humor! Instead of spending his last days in a restful retirement, though, Moses “lectures” to his people, restating the important historical events of their time and reminding them about the key laws that he brought down from Sinai. A leader and a servant to the very end.  

Deuteronomy: This is the first book in the Old Testament that comes not from the J, E, or P sources, but from a fourth source altogether. Legend has it that the book was found in a Temple sometime around 621 BC (2 Kings 22:8). The book was bound and presented to the young king, Josiah, who was so impressed by it that he treated it as prime law. This reinvigorated Yahvism, which was on the cusp of extinction; instead, this minority sect ascended to become the official religion of the land, named so by King Josiah himself. From thence, Yahvism would become Judaism, and would then disseminate further into Christianity and Islam. Quite the lucky find!  


Lebanon: Since this book and the end of Numbers spends time outlining the borders of what would become the physical land of Israel, it is interesting to consider what this land actually was. It seems Lebanon was the area of Canaan contained within two mountain regions. It remains, to this day, one of two nations (the other being Israel) that is not primarily Muslim. In the description is also the city of Azzah, which scholars believe is now Gaza. It turns out that this area was probably Greek by ethnicity, and its ancestors likely came from either Crete or Cyprus (which became Caphtor). The evidence for this includes a description of its people as uncircumcised as well as “People of the Sea,” which is how the Greeks were described.

God the Father: This part of the text (Deuteronomy 8) suggests explicitly for the first time that followers should think of god as a “father,” and to be reminded that he both fed and watered the people, as well as punished them when they acted wrongly. This is also a lesson for the future, or a promise that those who remain righteous will be rewarded but those who do not will be destroyed.

More Laws: Not really. A number of laws and customs are reiterated, but they have been shared many times and in many places up to this point. Rules for which foods can and cannot be eaten are restated, laws about the 7-year release of debts are given again. Reminders about the body (e.g. do not tattoo yourself or cut your hair), about tithing and sacrifice, and about offerings are given again. The most prominent new message, though, seems to be the one about monotheism and god’s wrath. It is stated many times in this part of Deuteronomy that followers of other religions should be destroyed without pity. This is an important departure from the way rival religions had been treated in the previous books.    


The Classics Spin #17! #ccspin

Even though I am one of the founders and moderators of The Classics Club, it has been quite some time since I’ve participated in a Classics Club Spin, one of the fun events we do a few times per year.  I thought I would jump back in, this time, since I’m ahead of schedule on my own TBR Pile Challenge but way behind schedule in my Classics Club challenge list?

What is the Classics Spin? Essentially, clubbers choose twenty books from their classics club reading list and post them by the due date.Then, on “spin day,” a number between 1-20 is revealed, and that is the book you have to read before the deadline (usually the end of the following month). You can choose your books randomly, divide them by categories, or whatever. Part of the challenge, though, is to choose at least a few that you know you’re dreading, just in case this is the opportunity to nudge you toward it. 

So, I went mostly with a “random” sort this time, but I did choose at least one book from each of the “centuries” represented on my main club list. Here are the twenty I’ve pulled to play with:

  1. The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish
  2. At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill
  3. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  4. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
  5. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  6. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (re-read)
  7. Eugénie Grandet – Honoré de Balzac
  8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  9. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  10. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  11. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  12. Dead Souls by Nikolay Gogol
  13. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  14. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  15. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  16. So Big by Edna Ferber
  17. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
  18. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  19. Metamorphoses by Ovid
  20. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

I guess I’m hoping for Number 3, Number 5, or Number 8 and probably most worried about Number 20, Number 19, and Number 13 – mostly because of how long they all are; but whatever happens, I’m ready to read! Let’s spin! 



#2018BibleRBR Daily Reading Plan: March

Here is my daily reading schedule for March. As mentioned in the original post, this month the reading plan is Deuteronomy 5 through 1 Samuel 17. As always, feel free to read ahead, fall behind, or jump around.

I’ll be back again every Sunday with my thoughts on that week’s reading. On March 31, I’ll post a wrap-up for the month plus the reading plan for March.

The Reading Plan for March:

  • March 1: Deuteronomy 5-7
  • March 2: Deuteronomy 8-10
  • March 3: Deuteronomy 11-13
  • March 4: Deuteronomy 14-16
  • March 5: Deuteronomy 17-20
  • March 6: Deuteronomy 21-23
  • March 7: Deuteronomy 24-27
  • March 8: Deuteronomy 28-29
  • March 9: Deuteronomy 30-31
  • March 10: Deuteronomy 32-34
  • March 11: Joshua 1-4
  • March 12: Joshua 5-8
  • March 13: Joshua 9-11
  • March 14: Joshua 12-15
  • March 15: Joshua 16-18
  • March 16: Joshua 19-21
  • March 17: Joshua 22-24
  • March 18: Judges 1-2
  • March 19: Judges 3-5
  • March 20: Judges 6-7
  • March 21: Judges 8-9
  • March 22: Judges 10-12
  • March 23: Judges 13-15
  • March 24: Judges 16-18
  • March 25: Judges 19-21
  • March 26: Ruth 1-4
  • March 27: 1 Samuel 1-3
  • March 28: 1 Samuel 4-8
  • March 29: 1 Samuel 9-12
  • March 30: 1 Samuel 13-14
  • March 31: 1 Samuel 15-17

I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the stories and literary elements of the Bible, as I see them, and I am especially eager to hear what you all find in your own explorations. As a reminder, this is a secular reading of the bible as literature, so any/all respectful thoughts and opinions are welcome. In my opinion, the more perspectives we have, the better!

To share on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, etc, please use: #2018BibleRBR