Note: I wrote this before the publication of Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey. My thoughts on it are here.
“You know what the ancients said…”
Growing up, I heard this phrase more times than I can count. The “ancients” referred to the ancient Greek philosophers, poets, playwrights, etc. I don’t know if this is true in all Greek families, but in mine, ancient wisdom was standard fare.
One bit I remember my dad repeating (and he still has to remind me from time to time): Πάν μέτρον Άριστον. Everything in moderation. First he’d say it in Greek, then in English. It’s an important message, so it bears repeating! I’ve also seen the Greek phrase translate to “Moderation in all things.” The basic idea is the same: Maintain a sense of proportion in life. It’s a pretty excellent motto, really. (We could you some of that these days, yes?)
When I last updated my reading activity, I was roaring through Nathan Hill’s The Nix. The image of Scotty comes to mind: “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” (Confession: I actually had to Google that Star Trek reference). I plowed through the novel and then regretted doing so because it ended too soon. And we’re talking about a 620 page book!
If you happened to visit the Internet last month, you may have noticed: December featured bags and bags and overflowing bags of “best of 2015” book pieces. And why not? It’s entirely reasonable, at the end of the year, to take stock, and if this stock-taking culminates in 3,592,743* “Best Books of 2015” articles, well, that just means the world is populated by truckloads – I’m talking huge convoys of eighteen-wheelers – of readers, doesn’t it?
As for me, I’ve been known to make a “best of” list now and again. This year, however, I’m trying something new, in part inspired by a hashtag I saw on Instagram, though it apparently originated on Twitter: #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. The brilliant idea behind this hashtag is, you know, read your own books, meaning the books you already own and that, thus, already populate your bookshelves (virtual or otherwise, one presumes). As it happens, I have quite a few of these (ahem). Continue reading “5 books I bought in 2015 and will be reading in 2016”