Thursday, February 6, 2014

John Adams

I'm finally reading John Adams by David McCullough. It's been sitting on our shelf for years and I've kept meaning to start it, but (1) it's long; (2) it's nonfiction, not that I don't like nonfiction, but at the end of a long day it's not what I normally choose to relax with; (3) it's David McCullough, so the writing is intelligent and complex, so see (2) on relaxing.

A few weeks ago I decided it would be good for my character if I did something about this vague intention. I raised the stakes by setting a deadline and inviting others on a productivity website to join me (not necessarily in reading John Adams, but any challenging book). I even started reading, though I wasn't enjoying it very much. But then things got busy and before I knew it, there were two weeks left and I was only on page 78.

Math time. I figured out how many pages I'd need to read per day to meet my goal. It sounded difficult but possible, so I decided I'd go for it.

Here's the interesting part. Now that I'm reading around 40 pages per day instead of 4 or 5, the story has been easier to get into and the writing is easier to read. I'm also remembering a lot more since I'm getting whole chapters in a day instead of spreading them out over a week.

Mostly, though, I'm learning to appreciate John Adams and what an amazing person he was. I've read a little about him before, but this book is showing me how little I knew about how important he was to the United States. I've only gotten up to the part where he's helping with the treaty negotiations to end the Revolutionary War, and already he's done enough to be remembered forever, and there's still plenty of book left. When I finish -- before the deadline! -- I'll post some thoughts.

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