Perhaps the best of retirement is the ability to read without requirement, any subject, or any author at any time. I have always been a prolific consumer of written material, in my working years I had to read technical works and business classics plus the current faddish management dissertation. I studied more than I read, trying to stay current with my chosen trade, now I read purely for enjoyment. Time being a limited resource forced me to place many desirable opuses on the bucket list. I am not currently compelled to read the latest treatise on Productive Quality Manufacturing, I can return to my bucket list of selected works I have long wished to peruse.
One scholarly historical compendium I have purchased is Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Complete 6 volumes (Kindle Edition), 4,187 pages for $3.99. The preface of my digital copy is signed by Mr. Gibbon on May 1, 1788. Earlier books from my wish list include Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, published 1776, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species published 1859, Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population published 1798, and Johan Huizinga’s The Autumn of the Middle Ages, English translation published 1919.
I greatly struggled to apprehend the writing style, with each successive title my comfort with the prose increased, I now find 250 year old publications a cerebral succor. I fear not the contingency of undue influence on my writing style. Thou may take surcease in the veracity of my report.
These few great works are the intellectual foundation of modern civilization. Collectively, and uniquely, each referenced in turn by modern scholars and insensible pundits. Modern scholars became the primary source for creating my classic reading list, as I have used the web to enhance my understanding of archaic English and reviewed the more recent pick and shovel work by archeological researchers to satiate my histological addition.
The scholars are quite and hidden, I have to seek their work. Another class of reviewers is the insensible pundits polluting the cable channels, those self important arbiters cashing in on the superstitious beliefs of the insensible. Listening to the disciples of untruth is akin to finger nails across a chalk board.
It is quickly apparent these communicators have never read any of the books they are quoting. Not only do they misinterpret the context, they often misquote their highly selective words. These intellectually pusillanimous actors are intent on personal wealth, not mass education, for they live, and work, in an unchallenged vacuum, devoid of personal accountability, honor or even an iota of honesty.
Would I do the same for 30 million US dollars per year? You bet.