Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Puff, puff, puff

I've found the depths of my nerdiness, and am running down trying to finish what I started.  It was this:
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. 
A year ago, I was already running down:
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.
Well, I did take a hiatus for a while, and then got back into it.  I only have around 100 pages left in volume X which really should only be a week (or two, max) and then the final slog.  But it's a real slog.  And we have the Reign of Terror and Napoleon coming up inn the final volume and it's quite frankly hard to get myself motivated.  If I can finish by August then I will have read the whole set (for fun, at least allegedly) in six years.

Bah.  Everything interesting ended around 1600 AD.  1660, tops.  Take it to the bank, kids.


Lawrence Person said...

Still on Volume 2, The Life of Greece. Fiction tends to get my priority.

And I do not lack for things to read...

libertyman said...

Quite a slog, I am still working on Chernow's Grant. "Only" 900 pages.

HMS Defiant said...

I read the Political History of England in 12 Volumes written back in the 20's. Much of it was fascinating but it ended long ago. Still, it introduced me to Charles Oman. Top that for nerditood!

waepnedmann said...

No, I have not read entire The History of Civilization, but page 88 (if memory serves) of Vol. III "Caesar to Christ" stuck in my mind.
It is the account of Hastrubal's wife understanding the perfidious nature of her fat husband that led to tens of thousands dying from starvation and then negotiating for his own safety while Scipio sold the survivors into slavery.
As the last of the city burned Hastrubal's wife killed her two children and then ran back into the burning temple to her own death.
There is a lesson in there somewhere.