Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Too much Western Civilization

Almost 5 years ago, I scored big at a library used book sale:
I was out on the Motorcycle, and while waiting in traffic saw a hand lettered sign "Used Book Sale".  Well, I'm constitutionally incapable of passing that sort of thing up, and so pulled into the parking lot.  It was the Milton (GA) Library raising money.  It was late in their display time, and so most of the selection was pretty well picked over.

Fortunately, my tastes are a little (ahem) eclectic.  I cruised over to the history section, and saw this:

That's The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant.  10,000 pages of Pulitzer Prize winningoverview of Western Civilization.
Got them for $1 a book.  Yes, I am a nerd.

I've gotten through volume IX, The Age Of Voltaire.  Nine down, and two to go.  Unexpectedly, I've started to run down.  I cruised through the first four with relish, and Volume 3 saw me through the convalescence from the motorcycle accident.  The nurses thought I was a little unusual bringing a book like this to the daily hour long antibiotic infusions, but you can make some progress when you're stuck in a chair.  Unless you forget the damn book.  The volume on the Renaissance surprised me at how interesting it was, but that was sort of peak interest.

Since then, it's been slower going, and it's been harder to keep myself focused.  I found myself skipping over a fair amount in volume IX.  I think that it's because the earlier books covered a lot more time, and so were more of a survey - and this is why I got them.  The more recent the time period, the more detail there is.  Quite frankly, a lot of the detail isn't particularly interesting.

I guess this means that I've taken the measure of my nerdiness, and have found my limits.  I think I'm going to take a hiatus on the last two volumes for a bit.  Just not up to wading through 800 pages on Rousseau.


HA HA HA said...

Even Rousseau couldn’t stay awake through 800 pages about himself, and he was no mean connoisseur of the smell of his own farts.

Anonymous said...

Something my parents were smart enough to acquire. Wish I had been smart enough to hang onto it when my mom passed. Good for you. One of those heirlooms which will only appreciate in value, given the speed at which our civ is collapsing.

wheels said...

I'm currently reading Volume 1 to my girlfriend, who has vision problems. We're on China now, almost 3/4 through the volume, having started in January. I don't read every night. No doubt, I'd go faster on my own, but it's a nice thing to do together.

I enjoyed the section on India more than she did, but we're both enjoying it, and having good discussions on side topics that come up. For example, I was surprised that the famous Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII - I'd never heard of any others.

B said...

Read 'em when I was a kid. My dad had a set. While not the most entertaining, they are chock-full of knowledge and understanding.

Ken said...

As the noted philosopher Crush once said, "RIGHTEOUS! RIGHTEOUS!"