Speaking of the Reformation, here’s a new book that just came through our library. John Spurr, The Post-Reformation: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain 1603-1714 (Harlow, England: Pearson, 2006). Publisher’s blurb:

Spurr provides a substantial account of English, Scottish and Irish history from 1603 to 1714, and a unique portrait of the century’s religious life. The Civil Wars and Revolutions of the seventeenth century are brought to life with vivid quotations and a compelling narrative. Accessibly written and presented, this book is an essential starting point for undergraduates studying seventeenth-century Britain and church history.

On a different note, you’ve read Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, now read Terry Eagleton’s How to Read a Poem (Malden, MA / Oxford: Blackwell, 2007). The publisher’s blurb:

Lucid, entertaining and full of insight, How To Read A Poem is designed to banish the intimidation that too often attends the subject of poetry, and in doing so to bring it into the personal possession of the students and the general reader.

  • Offers a detailed examination of poetic form and its relation to content.
  • Takes a wide range of poems from the Renaissance to the present day and submits them to brilliantly illuminating closes analysis.
  • Discusses the work of major poets, including John Milton, Alexander Pope, John Keats, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, W.B. Yeats, Robert Frost, W.H.Auden, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, and many more.
  • Includes a helpful glossary of poetic terms.