Friday, April 25, 2008

At the halfway point in a Very Long Book



Reading Plutarch, a great Roman writer of the first century AD, for all these months, leaves me with a full storehouse of knowledge.

But just as dining only on Porterhouse steaks, as tasty as they are, would soon grow tiresome, I am tired of Plutarch. I am tired of Rome in general.

I want to explore the rise of Islam and the Middle Ages, and begin to pair my reading with the art and music of each era, immersing myself as deeply as is possible in the world of each writer. That has been rather difficult with Ancient Rome.

Last night, I reached the halfway point in Plutarch’s "Lives," page 460-something. It is not a good sign when one notices something like that, even worse when one is relieved to finally reach such a point.

Why not just do the sensible thing and stop reading the book? First of all, I never
made any claims to be a sensible person. Secondly, having taken notes on what I have read, I now have a wealth of information to which I can refer back, on what this man wrote. I can access these notes for the rest of my life. His wisdom belongs to me – I have earned it. Since I am a writer, too, that is important to me.

Thirdly, I am finally reaching a point in the book where Plutarch leaves off discussion of obscure and petty ancient dudes and starts talking about luminaries such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

3 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

One could study Rome a whole lifetime and still only know about half its history. It was an enormous empire but like all things bound to fall apart someday. Hope you make it through the other 400 pages :)

the walking man said...

Gleaning knowledge for future reference is good, applying that knowledge is another thing all together; no?

Peace

mark

Trisia said...

It's so great that you have the patience to take notes.