Practically Human: College Professors Speak from the Heart of Humanities Education
Edited by Gary Schmidt and Matthew Walhout (Calvin College Press)

The essays gathered here, written by Calvin College professors from a wide range of disciplines, are intended for prospective students. But this book serves a larger audience by reaffirming—persuasively, without any hype—the classic values of a liberal arts education in a Christian setting. That's a message that needs to be heard, especially right now, by college administrators and faculty, parents and students, and everyone else connected with higher education.

How to Run a Country: An Ancient Guide for Modern Leaders
Marcus Tullius Cicero, selected and translated by Philip Freeman (Princeton University Press)

To make this delightful little book, a sequel of sorts to last year's How to Win an Election, Philip Freeman has selected pithy passages from Cicero's works. He begins with a comment from John Adams on a biography of Cicero: "I seem to read the history of all ages and nations in every page—and especially the history of our own country for forty years past. Change the names and every anecdote will be applicable to us." Enough said?

Monty Python's Flying Circus: Complete and Annotated … All the Bits
Annotations by Luke Dempsey (Black Dog & Leventhal)

Genius flares up unpredictably, burns brightly, fades, even as it becomes kindling in some other unexpected place. On pages 553 and 554 of this massive and lavishly illustrated compendium, you'll find the script for a masterpiece of the 20th-century British imagination: episode 29 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, "I'd Like to Have an Argument Please." All the canonical Python episodes are here, along with many others you may have forgotten or never seen. Perhaps in some classroom of the future, students will pore over these works the way we once studied T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

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