But one that has been thrust upon me is the reading of Gibbon's mammoth classic The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It was a wonderful, unexpected gift from my sister this Christmas, and I know that I must start it now, or else I will put it aside for years.
She gave me the very handsome Folio Society edition, which is solidly bound and quite compact in two slipcases. And very, very heavy.
I have decided to take it at a pace of 20 pages a day. This is realistic, as I always have some much other reading to do and I really can't dedicate my whole life to Gibbon. I think I am going to have to keep an accompanying notebook, as I would never dare write in such lovely editions, but I know I am going to have to make extensive notes f I am ever going to keep track of this project.
I plan to report back to you regularly with details of my reading, how I am going, how I am finding it and what new things I have learned. I really am tremendously excited by the whole idea.
I have wanted to read Gibbon since I first found out about him as a precocious literary teenager, but of course I had no access to a set of the books in rural North Queensland. And then, in my youth, no money to buy my own set. It is one of those incredible luxuries which you never really feel quite right about indulging in. Nancy Mitford said it made the ideal wedding gift, though I can only imagine the looks on the faces of her newly married friends. Certainly, if it were ever legal for me to get married I should have delighted in such an obscure gift.
Here's to some solid reading in 2015!