Sunday, August 30, 2015

Five Years Ago

In August of 2010, I had an illness that kept me in bed for three weeks. After about a week, I felt energetic, but I still couldn’t leave bed. (You don’t want to know.) So I got bored. Really bored. My wife and I had just seen Julie & Julia, and so she told me I should start a blog. That’s what I did, and the last two weeks of that illness went much more quickly. But I didn’t stop when I got better: five years later, I’m still at it, today publishing post no. 524.

But my blog on reading hasn’t taken off like Julie Powell’s blog: I’ll ignore the possibility that my literary skills may not be up to snuff and just point out that musty philosophy and medieval poetry aren’t as popular as cooking. I see that one year ago, I reported that exlibrismagnis received about 1000 hits per month then; it’s averaged about 1300 a month lately, but Russian spambots seem to have found me, so I don’t know how many of those increased hits represent human readers. But for those of you who are human (and you know who you are!), thanks!

These last twelve months have made up the first full year in our new Tennessee home. I’ve had new time schedules to work out. I had to find the closest Wendy’s to my new campus for lunchtime reading. And I’ve had to find new places to walk both at work and around home so I can keep up my habit of exercising body and mind at the same time. During this first year in Tennessee, I’ve taken a tour of Renaissance Europe with Will Durant, watched the sun set in Trollope’s Barsetshire, followed the friendship of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt through a world war, witnessed Christianity gaining an unsteady footing in Gibbon’s declining and falling Roman Empire, finished Malory’s epic tale of the greatest knights in the world, and reread Cervantes’s moving account of the ridiculous modern man who tried to mimic them. These wonderful books traveled with me through my first year in a new job, on a long road trip to Newfoundland, and during a ten-month ordeal of discovering, fighting, and getting cured of cancer.

Here are links to a handful of my favorite posts from this last year:
A Bird’s Eye View
Serenity in Barsetshire
The Song
One Small Corner of Earth
Whose Stuff?
Mute Inglorious Miltons, Arise!
Looking Forward to 2015
Grim Expectations
Here I Can Grovel

About a year from now, my ten-year reading plan and my blog will be nearing their close. But keep with me until then, human readers. Russian spambots, on the other hand, please go away! I’m interested in old books, not whatever it is that you’re trying to lure me into.

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