What We Call Progress

We are plugging away at the stuff.  Having undertaken the family archives and sent some documents on their way to historical institutions, universities and libraries, we are more and more confronting the books. What to do with these companions that we have read, savored and held onto over the years?

Well, for my part, much of the problem was hoarding. I’ve read about it and experienced it first hand in others. I just can’t seem to let go of something that gave pleasure.  Another part of the problem is that I fool myself that I will return to read them once again. Well,  I am at that point of life when there is not sufficient time to re-read all of them and still read the other books on my life list. I think I’m finally growing up here.

We are becoming more  critical, more discerning regarding those tomes that we want to retain and will actually read or reference again. We have agreed that the paperback Shakespeare plays can go. We can borrow them from the library should need arise or Google particular questions that we might have. We will keep our hardback copies of the ancient classics. They speak to us still.

Then there are the books that have been formative in our thinking. Those we will keep for sure. What are some of them, you might ask? Well, here’s a sample.

The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

1491 by Charles C. Mann

Machiavelli, A Portrait by Christopher S. Celenza

Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills

Growing Up by Russell Baker

Dante by Barbara Reynolds

Someone quotable once opined that you can tell much about a man [person] by the books he/she keeps. Draw your own conclusions.

So, (a word that linguists and folks of their ilk voted to retire a year ago) what are we left with (oops, a dangling preposition?) Right, and now where does the question mark go? Yikes!

We’ll tell you more shortly.





1 thought on “What We Call Progress

  1. Dorothy Williams

    Hi Donna – Speaking of books, at present I am into the brand new biography entitled American Ulysses A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C White (don’t know how to underline book titles on this site). It is a fascinating read that includes little details like how grateful Americans sent Grant boxes of cigars after newspaper reports depicted him smoking cigars on the battlefield. Grant had 11,000 cigars on hand almost immediately. Imagine assembling 22,528 mules and 29,945 horses needed for convoys as Grant started commanding the Virginia Theater in 1864! I am enjoying the exciting descriptions in this book, and recommend it to your blog readers who love history. It might be one of the books I decide to keep on a shelf along with a couple of other favorites like Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, or River of Doubt:Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, both by Candice Millard.



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