"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
I love Xenophon. He is a rare breed: philosopher, soldier, historian and mercenary. I imagine him as a 4th century BC combination of Teddy Roosevelt and William T. Vollmann. Memorabilia is a nice piece to read along with Plato's dialogues. While Plato's remembrances of Socrates are more philosophic and cerebral, Xenophon presents a slightly different and more down to earth picture of the great ethical philosopher.
The amazing thing about James is he can write with precision and humility about something so completely intrinsic and fraught with pit falls. Most writers run at the subject with some large bias of the mystical, the . You have thousand of books written every year proclaiming their strain of Christianity, Judaism, Vegetarianism, Atheism, Mormonism, Buddhism, as being the only true and living way to view the divine AND the only mirror to view and judge ourselves. James is different. He artfully and carefully presents a measured approach to religion. He picks it apart with affection. He looks at it normatively and then he tries to look at each speck and piece through a value lens.
I believe the magic of this book is James isn't selling a belief. He isn't pimping a lifestyle. He is just curious and very very smart. And it isn't a clinical curiosity either (although his precision could be called clinical). It is a joyful curiosity. A drive to discover how we work and what really makes us tick. He wants to know and explain his hypothesis. God **ahem** bless William James. He wasn't just describing the transcendental condition of mankind, he was establishing and building a framework for others to follow for over 100 years.
I haven't done much Plato since my college years. I loved the Apology, and the first 2/3 of Phaedo and I enjoyed the rest (Euthyphro, Crito, and end of Phaedo). I loved coming across phrases and quotes that I've heard again and again: "The unexamined life is not worth living... is there not one true coin, for which all things ought to exchange?--and that is wisdom... As for me, all I know is that I know nothing..." Amen.