The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance

A well written, insightful and smart read.

Jim Al-Khalili is obviously proud of his roots. And i like that.

Without being to missionary about it, he makes a good point in the fact that the Mideastern knowledge that started in Mesopotamian times and evolved all the way through our dark ages until the renaissance, was very influential on the Occident’s development of not only medicine, or architecture but also poetry, astronomy and art.

The questions of how and why the Islamic knowledge is suddenly regarded as threat from some circles, even within its own culture, is worth being elaborated in a book on itself.

I can highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to open his horizon a bit, in regard of where our cultural background was forged and how humanity evolved: By sharing its science and exchanging thoughts. Arabic was then what Latin became later to the literate elite. Scientists were Christians, Jews and Persians.

And as John Noble Wilford said in his (as usual) brilliant review “The Muslim Art of Science” in the NYT: Jim Al-Khalili also reminds readers that in early Islam there was no bitter conflict between religion and science and that the Koran encouraged the close study of all God’s works.

John Noble Wilford’s (much better than mine) review can be followed here:


Floods, Droughts Are ‘New Normal’ Of Extreme U.S. Weather Fueled By Climate Change, Scientists Say

In Switzerland there was a major concern in the late 1970s up to the 90s about not enough living-and­/or building space being available. So the government allowed houses/farms/factories to be built in locations, where none of our ancestors would ever have built, let alone lived. Now these houses start crumbling, get flooded and so on. Lot of the elders give us the “told you so, but you didn’t listen” look. What if they (the natives) where right, and we weren’t? What if nature is getting back at us, for invading more and more of its place? Is there still time for us to retrieve? And do we even want to?


The Tragedy of Arthur by William Shakespeare: The First Modern Edition of His Lost Play, with an Introduction and Notes by Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur is an emotional and elaborately constructed “tour de force” from bestselling and critically acclaimed novelist Arthur Phillips, “one of the best writers in America” (The Washington Post)

I very much liked the fictional biography, or is it fictography?

I love that mind-boggling idea of not just inventing a (remarkably well done) lost Shakespearean play, but the whole family history to go along with it. Or, is it all true? To furphy or not to furphy, that is the question…

And so, fooling the readership into not knowing what to believe anymore! Great, base for a long night with friends discussing it in your book club… Or any English teacher seeking inspirational books for their classes.

So much fun to read, talk and think about… Go ahead and buy it, worth every penny…