I will read about a dozen or so books this year.
And I’m a little embarrassed about that, because some of my friends read much more than that, like triple. And yes, I believe them.
Regardless of how many books I read, I always get a feeling of accomplishment when I finish one. Of course, I don’t finish every book I start. In the sixth grade, I actually bought a copy of Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” I’m pretty sure I got to page 3, but maybe I’m just embellishing my achievement.
Books on Captain Cook and Benjamin Franklin
About five years ago, I got a copy of The Life and Times of Captain James Cook by J. C Beaglehole. I got to page 40, found it too tedious for my taste, and bagged it. Then a few weeks later, I picked it back up and started over. I muddled through the first 40 pages again then continued. Either I got used to the tedium or Beaglehole got into the swing of things. I finished the entire book of 700+ pages.
I had a similar situation occur a few months ago. I purchased a copy of Dr. HW Brands’ “The First American, the Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin.” Now maybe you are familiar with Dr. Brands. He’s a University of Texas history professor who is frequently seen on the History Channel, maybe most notably on the mini-series, The Men Who Built America.
I was enjoying the book, especially how Franklin recognized early in life that he had been blessed with exceptional talents. And he traveled a lot, especially for the day.
But around page 270, I got distracted. I read two other books, and put down Franklin.
Well, I finished the other two books and finally returned to it.
Beginning at page 270, I couldn’t remember where he was, or how or why he was there.
I tried, but I couldn’t intelligently continue, hoping to pick up all the missing scenes. But I was at page 270. And like the Beaglehole, book, it was longer than 700 pages.
But I had to start over.
Sticking With It
It took a while, but last week, I finally finished it. If you credit me with the first 270 twice, it came to just under 1,000 pages.
But it was worth it. Not only did I learn a lot about maybe our most important founding father, but there was that great sense of satisfaction of reading it from the beginning so I could get a greater sense of the identity of this great man.
Now, on to the biography of Bob Hope, and even though it’s only about 500 pages, I’ve vowed to stay focused.