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Review: The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn

Naming things is a powerful activity—it was man’s first task in Genesis—and this power is explored in Richard Hamblyn’s brilliant book The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies. I do not think I have ever read such a satisfying, lyrical, information-packed science history book before, although I have […]

Review: Of Dikes and Windmills by Peter Spier

In the southern Netherlands many years ago, my father commuted to school on a little ferry.   He experienced the terrible flood of 1953. Eventually his family moved to one of the modern polders which had just been reclaimed from the sea.  His life, like that of many Dutch people, was defined by the sea. In […]

Review: The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman

In 17th century Europe, young Maria Merian was fascinated by butterflies. ‘Summer birds’, they were called, and no one really knew where they came from. Raised first in an engraver’s house and then an illustrator’s, Maria learned both the technical details of her craft and how to observe nature. She combined the two to become […]

Review: Made for the Journey by Elisabeth Elliot

As a young woman, Elisabeth Elliot worked hard to prepare for her first missionary experience, learning and reducing to writing the Colorado’s language in the jungles of Ecuador.  Because she was doing what God called her to do, she fully expected God’s blessing on her work.  After all, that’s the way the world works, right? […]

Medieval Europe: Power and Splendor

Those two words, ‘medieval Europe’, conjure up images of splendor and power, knights and castles, monasteries and missionaries, plague and privation. Recently, however, when we visited the Medieval Europe Exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History, I came away with a completely different feeling.  Among the armour, jewellery, tapestry, and everyday utensils, many artifacts pointed […]

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