Friday, February 17, 2012

History in the Making

Have you ever collected books by an author that look so upstanding and proper on your bookshelves that just seeing them makes you feel smarter? Books that are full of adventure and historical heroes and biographical tidbits? Those that promise to swoop you away to other places and eras? And, volumes that are so well-written and well-researched that two of them have won the Pulitzer Prize?

Well, the author of those esteemed books would be David McCullough, something of a National Treasure in the United States. Mr. McCullough has written books about Presidents Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Adams. He has given the world a recounting of the Johnstown Flood and the American Revolution. He has introduced readers to the rigors of  building the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge. And, most recently, has written of the American artists, writers, doctors and architects who set off to study in Paris in the 1820s and '30s.

On my shelves I happen to have four of Mr. McCullough's books. What's that you ask? How many have I read? I will admit it...I haven't read a one.

How is it that I keep these books? Do I think that one day in my dotage I will sit down and read all about Harry Truman and John Adams? That the year 1776 will hold a fascination for me? That Americans in Paris in the Victorian era will appeal to me?

I don't know, but in my bookcase they stay. Just today I picked off the shelf The Greater Journey. I settled into my comfy reading chair full of resolve and was ready to be carried across the Atlantic to the French capital. I lasted a total of 19 pages before I closed my eyes and took a nap.

Perhaps I should admit to myself that I am just not a Person Interested in History. That that Person is a fantasy reader I could let go of. I don't know. We shall see. I will keep at The Greater Journey a wee bit more and will report in again.

Do you have a fantasy Reader in you that continues to buy books that you want to have but don't read?

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