The quest to get through classics has taken over my existence, although in an indirect way. Certainly it has slowed down my reading to the point where I’ve had to find new ways to get my book fix. It has also led me to branch off to related topics to find out more information about the classic at hand. In essence, I’ve created a complex Liberal Arts program for myself.
The first selection is the Bible, and it’s going slowly. I figured I had to start with this text, as millions have read it and even more refer to it. It must be the most referenced book in history. This of course has led elsewhere, to a volume on comparative Middle Eastern mythologies, and documentaries about the Israelites. Since I’ve only managed to get through the five books of Moses, who knows what else it will inspire. I’ve learned weird random tidbits too, like the fact that grasshoppers and locusts are sanctioned by God to be eaten (Leviticus 11:20 if you want proof). I must find out more about the Babylonians, who are fascinating.
Given my penchant for quantity with regards to books, I uncharacteristically started listening to not one but two audio courses simultaneously, one on famous Greeks, and the other, on ancient Rome. Despite their length, neither of these will count in the number of books read this year, meaning that by the end of the month, I’ll have read peanuts. Both of them, however, are really informative and quite suitable to this year’s project. Ultimately, despite the anal need to fill lists within given timeframes, the purpose of this classics enterprise is Knowledge, so there will be no more complaining from self-inflicted rules (promise!).
The problem is the other books, as in, when can I find the time to read them? Well, before bed I allow myself to read whatever I want (in this case a book about the French language). I also started a great ritual in the mornings when I get to work. Instead of shuffling through papers, for the first half-hour or so after I arrive I sit with my tea and read in my office. This has had the amazing effect of focusing my concentration. After I put the book away, I am wildly productive. Exercise has also proven helpful in that I can listen to a regular audiobook while doing it.
I think that my 50 classics is a pipe-dream for a single year, but by the time I get to the last one, I’ll know a whole lot more than I did. This multi-pronged approach will prove very educational, and allow for the pursuit of curiosity.
I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.