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Friday, November 04, 2005
Unfinished Business

Ross Douthat, citing Terry Teachout, writes on not finishing books. It happens to me all the time. Just yesterday, for example, I stopped reading Christopher Bayly's Birth of the Modern World after the first chapter; I just couldn't get a sense of where the book was going, despite re-reading the Introduction twice. Maybe it was the post-lunch drowsiness: I do tend to read better at night, for some reason.

Other notable books which I've started but not finished include Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (I stopped at the chapter on Gnosticism); Don Quixote; Jonathan Spence's Search for Modern China; War and Peace; The Silmarillion (after only a few pages!); the first volume of Fernand Braudel's Mediterranean; and Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism.