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December 02, 2009


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I think you're the only person that would interpret that as lame and lazy. Congrats on further realizing that reading is all about learning and pleasure, and not checking off a "look how smart I am box" (they'd probably call it erudite, or worldly, or some other word people who have read the complete works of Shakespeare use). You've already got your Ivy League diploma to prove that anyway, to anyone keeping track of such things.

I enjoy my Complete Works of Shakespeare not because I've ever read the whole thing (nor do I plan to) but because sometimes I do like flipping through my favorite plays like "Merchant of Venice" or reading some sonnets. I keep a King James version of the Bible (a significant work of English literature from the same period) for the same reason.

I think Shakespeare a little bit at a time is the way to do it. Maybe just shoot for reading him at the pace he wrote -- he appears to have been active for about 30 years and died at 52, which you're almost certain to outlive.

'failure' is a bit strong. vita brevis and work is exhausting, sometimes recreational reading amounts to a necessity.

I gallop through the sonnets from time to time by way of exercise, but have not attempted to read a play in some time. My son was Bottom in the school production last year, and Touchstone this year; so I've been practicing lines with him. That's a good way to reread..

No, no, no.

You're failure was having an unimaginative, time-consuming goal.

Memorizing one sonnet per month would have been more fruitful.

Put away the checklist and go for depth over breadth.

And look at it this way: say you had read all of Shakespeare--wouldn't telling people about that have been more off-putting than the whiff of solipsism emanating from this post?

If all of this sounds unnecessarily cynical, it's because my own experience is that I forget 95% of what I read anyway, and am left of shards of quotes, half-remembered characters and plotlines, etc...

Plus memorized poetry is always a party hit.

In re the definitive cure: that is not easy. Small steps might be easier? I got really into the high fat/low carb way of life (painstakingly defended in Gary Taubes' book) to combat what I thought was minor digestive stuff (I have had two roommates/friends with severe IBS, so I thought I knew that mine was minor).
Since then I read blogs that similarly question the cholesterol hypothesis, use of statins, etc. I saw this and thought it might spark some interest for you:

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Rhubarb Pie

  • a little bit sweet, a little bit tart...

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