Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Lot To Chew

I'm currently reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I picked this up in hardback very cheap from somewhere. It is a loooooonnnngggg book, over 900 pages. Last August I put this at this point in my reading pile, after Burnt Sienna by David Morrell, wanting to alternate between non-fiction and fiction. As I built my pile from books purchased in the first half of 2008, I didn't worry about every other book being fiction, non-fiction, fiction, etc., just so long as I was getting a mixture between them. I also wanted to spread out books on history, or biography, by Christian writers and secular writers, on writing helps and other things.

So Team of Rivals came up next. I love history. I love Lincoln. I love things that appear as if they will be scholarly. This is a perfect book for me, and following the easy read I just finished, and the easy one before that, it is time to read something a little harder. But over 900 pages? Of fairly small text, with few illustrations and not a whole lot of white space?

I flipped through the book on Saturday and Sunday, and read the Introduction. It turns out much of the end of the book is index and notes. In fact, the epilogue of the book ends at page 754. So I figured twelve pages a day average will make this a two-month read. And, if I can find a bit more time on the weekends, perhaps a mere seven weeks.

This is complicated by my coming up on a busy time at work, some additional travel to see the kids or for them to come and see us, and the need to spend some more time on things around the house. So I may be optimistic on averaging twelve pages a day.

In fact, after three days of reading I know I'm optimistic. I'm at page 34, but the actual text started on page 5. The subject matter is such that I'll have to have complete quiet; I won't be able to read it while Lynda has the television on, at least not read it for true comprehension. And I don't see any point in reading for half comprehension.

So I eat this elephant one bite at a time. I may find I have to put it aside for a while, read something simpler, then come back to it. Next in the pile is a harmony of the gospels, which might aid in my current writing. After that is East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Both of those promise to be easier reading, so I may read them in parallel with Team of Rivals and see how that goes. Perhaps all three by the end of the summer.

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