Slowly has been one of the most enjoyable apps I've ever used.
If you enjoy the idea of being pen-pals with someone, I think this is the app for you. Not only that, but to mimic the letter-sending experience even further, the messages sent are quite slow, so since I'm messaging somebody from Taiwan, it'll take upwards of 28+ hours for that message to be delivered.
I just finished the Shahnameh, or the 'Book of Kings' as it would be called in English, by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. As an epic, the fact that it's multi-generational, tracing a line all the way from the mythical Kuyamurs to Yazdegerd III, makes it quite different to other epics like the Iliad.
As a story, I enjoyed it immensely, but my enjoyment began to dip after the assumption of Kay Khosrow, and then even more so after the death of Rostam, being to the Shahnameh as Odysseus is to the Odyssey. Before Kay Khosrow's passing, the story felt rather connected, with the narrative of Iran and Turan being a very important point. Afterwards, as it begins to approach the more 'historical' era, we see the waxing and waning of Iranian history, with the conquest of Alexander, after who's death the Ashkanians (Parthians) establish themselves and thereafter the Sassanids, the last pre-Islamic dynasty of Iran.
As a book, and for the importance it has for Persianate culture, it was well worth the read.
I just finished Incarnations: A History of Indian in 50 Lives there today and I tell ya, it was a delight to read! I only had a barebones idea of Indian history before reading, with names like the Buddha, Ashoka and Gandhi being the only ones readily known to me.
But, Sunil Khilnani did an excellent job of conveying the lives of numerous people, ranging from emperors to artists, economics to cinematographers, all with such vibrant personalities and opinions. Throughout it, there was always a question, perhaps a tension, of what it means to be Indian, most especially in the years before and after Independence, and in the light of more recent history.
I plan to buy The Idea of India sometime in the future, which was written by the same author, so if you're going to pick up this book, I recommend buying that one as well.
For these of ye that are thinking of doing weights, learn to engage you core properly whilst doing so: the benefits are manifold. Don't be a donkey like me and only find out how to do it at all properly after 4/5 months of exercise!
I just finished Iran: Empire of the Mind by Michael Axworthy and it was an absolutely amazing read! As a person who would have only known the country through the Achaemenid Empire and from modern-day news, it was an engaging, educative and thoroughly enjoying experience. Going from the distant days of Zoroaster all the way up to the ponderous nature of Iran's nuclear programme in the esrly/mid 2000's, I learned so much of military, intellectual and poetic figures that have come to typify Iran's unique culture and the country's consciousness of it.
Though, my enjoyment is tinged with sadness, since it was only through getting thr book that I learned of Mr. Axworthy's passing two years ago.
So, wherever you are Mr. Axworthy, I would like to thank you for opening my eyes and making me more knowledgeable of the world around us.
I got my second dose of vaccine today, so it's great to be as fully protected as I can be from COVID! Though we should still mind ourselves with wearing masks, especially in situations where it may compromise the 2 metre rule. I hope you're all keeping safe everyone!
I've been reading the Iliad the past few days, and it's made quite appreciative of the work of scholars throughout the centuries, if not millenias, who have been able to preserve this near 3,000 year-old work to such an extent, that I'm now able to read it today. Given the fate of vast amounts of works from antiquity, it is truly a blessing.