“OF MAKING MANY books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh”, as the writer of Ecclesiastes wisely said, at a time when you could probably have fit every book in the world into the space where you parked your camel overnight.
It’s worse now, of course, after hundreds of years of printing, and a decade or more of Amazon. There are just too many of the damn things. My pile of books to read is high enough, and I frequently have a dozen on the go at one time. Sometimes it will take me a couple of years to get through a particular title. I read the first half of Proust’s A la Recherche in six months (in English, with occasional forays into the French), but it’s taken me six years to get half way through the second. That’s the part, from “Cities of the Plain” onward, where Proust has obviously gone mad and is just writing anything that comes into his head[…]
Capital is nearly 700 pages, which is far too long, especially for a book on economics, and especially for one written by a Frenchman. As with Finnegan’s Wake, I don’t believe that most of the people who talk about it have actually read it. Reports suggest it goes on about inequality, which is one of the fashionable worrying points of the day, a good reason to ignore it. I don’t care about inequality because I don’t think it’s important, and I’m a heartless bastard.
Source: The Fortnightly Review.