Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Never was into history

I only took one history course in college, because I had to have one. Otherwise, it never interested me much.

However, as I approached retirement I started getting fascinated with old - as in, The Enlightenment-era - scientific instruments. They are beautiful. Such exquisite workmanship and details. I thought maybe I could center a post-retirement hobby around those. I started reading up on the history of science -- which almost immediately plunged me into the arts, religion, economy, social structures and politics of those times. It was all interwoven. Go figure. My personal non-fiction library started to grow, and I've checked many books on those topics out of the library (AND returned them, in case you were wondering!)

Following are many of my non-fiction books:

My bedside TBR. Only the Habit book is not related to my interests in history. (Note the four library books - not due yet!)

Only the Chesterton here isn't history, though this little bunch is surrounded with other fiction books. The Walkable City, surprisingly, fits right in with my general interest; the author refers often to European cities and how they've developed over the centuries.

I haven't read all the books in these pictures yet, but I aim to. (Side note: I liked that book The Swerve, but I actively loathe its title. Unfortunately it seems to have caught on in the history academic circles. Bleagh.) The one on the far left is Islam, Science, and the Challenge of History by Dr. Ahmad Dallal, of Yale. I tried to crack that one when I bought it but it turned out to be rather dry and dense. I'll have another go at it sooner or later; the incredibly rich scientific history of the Islamic world is (or should be) fascinating.

These aren't nearly my whole non-fiction collection. I have TONS of books on France, and the French language, and many many books in my favorite subject of biology and other sciences.  Every once in awhile I do a thorough comb-through and purge some but it's getting down to the ones I really want to keep now. Books comprise one of my two big vices. Not sure if that's grammatically correct...

I could never sit in a classroom and read this stuff and have to study it and take notes, pass tests, ugh ugh ugh. But very slowly, my reading is accruing layers. It's always fun when something in a book on astronomy clicks with one I read earlier about painting in 15th Century France, and like that.

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