When this year began, I thought maybe I’d start chewing through some of the really big, daunting books in my library, both paper and audio. It hasn’t happened yet. Not for any lack of interest, it’s just that something keeps coming up. I have way too many projects here on the blog, I have far too many hobbies beyond that (drawing, swordfighting, movies, etc.), and now I’ve committed to writing a book on top of everything else. Good stuff, and certainly not enough hours in the day to work through it all.
With this in mind, I’ve just committed myself to the most daunting thing I can think of, scholastically speaking, just to say I’ve done it. It’s more daunting than the whole of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, which I’m also doing just because I can (if you follow the weekly chapter posts, you already know that part).
Being the history geek that I am, there’s a series of books out there that I’ve wanted to tackle for a long, long time: the award-winning 11-volume series The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant.
While it’s probably more fair to call it the story of western civilization, I’m nonetheless intrigued now as I was when I first discovered this series existed. It’s become something of a bucket list item for me over the years, in much the same way I always wanted to cover everything in Tolkien’s world. It just happens that now I feel like I’m in a place where I can finally understand and appreciate it.
I’m not really sure why, but I found myself looking them up on Audible (because listening at work is about the only time I’ll have for this). One credit each, and the narrators are good. It is time. Because I’m looking at the whole, it’ll make pretty much everything else I tackle from here on look tiny. I crunched the numbers. The total runtime on this series is 484 hours, 16 minutes. That’s 20 days, 4 hours, 16 minutes of nonstop listening, broken across maybe 4-7 hours per day, 5 days a week. And I may hit a palette cleanser between books. I’ll figure it out as I go.
When I’m done, I want to attempt to find an equivalent set for eastern history so I can complete that picture. I’ll cross that bear when I come to it.
I think maybe I’ve come to the point where if anyone needed irrefutable proof of my insanity, this might be it. Or depending on your point of view, this is merely the latest straw in an entire haystack of crazy.