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Chapter 13 - Harvard Classics Update


The other day a friend asked how my daily reading of the Harvard Classics is going so I will be brutally honest here - some good, some bad.

When I started this challenge I expected to be elucidated in classics, many of which I had never read before. I prepared for times I'd be away by downloading the whole Harvard Classics series onto my e-reader (gasp, yes I have one of those). I diligently read daily and played catch up for days when I was not able to read for some reason.

Here is what I have found. The Reading Guide indicates that each selected daily reading will take 15 minutes to read. I say bullhockey! I am a fast reader (2 to 4 books a week) and some of the selections are 20 pages long, so even I can't read complicated, antiquated language and ideas in the time estimated.

I have also learned that I don't like epic poems and I read them quickly to get through them. I have enjoyed some of the readings of famous men's autobiographies - Ben Franklin, Benvenuto Cellini (a Florentine goldsmith and sculptor in the 1500's), and William Penn, for example. Samples of fairy tales from other countries and Aesop's fables have also been fun to read as I haven't read many of them since I was a child.

The most disheartening, but not surprising, thing I've observed during my 2 1/2 month sojourn into the classics is that so far, there have been no selected readings written by women. I am hopeful that as I go forward I will find that Dr. Eliot, the compiler of these readings, even in the 1930's, had the intelligence to include some women's writing in the collection but we shall see.

So that's it, some days I zoom through the readings, some days I slog through them but I am committed to continue the process and will update you as I go.

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