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A HISTORICAL 2019 What’s After the Year of Poetry?
As 2018 comes to a close and we look to the new year, I have a very important decision to make: What am I going to read in 2019? You may remember 2018 was my Year of Poetry. I read a lot of wonderful poems, some from famous poets and others found in paperback collections I picked up at local coffee shops. As usual, I didn’t read nearly as much poetry as I had intended, but that’s par for the course. When I choose a theme for the year, I’m setting myself up to tackle some of the highlights and build a habit that carries into the future. I still read some Greeks throughout 2018 even though 2017 was my Year of the Greeks. I expect to continue reading poetry through 2019, too.
jump into Shakespeare. But turning to the Bard of Avon right after a year reading poetry felt almost redundant. I will do Shakespeare in the future — maybe in 2020 — but the reason I am focusing on a certain area each year isn’t just to add a theme to my reading plan. I am trying to fill the holes in my education. This undertaking should be diverse and balanced. For this reason, I’ve decided 2019 will be the year I read “The Story of Civilization” by Will and Ariel Durant. The Durants were very famous historians, and their 11-volume set of books covers the history of civilization spanning the course of millennia. It largely focuses on Western history, though the first volume gives an overview of civilizations in Asia and the Middle East. I have dabbled in this massive series before, but I’m going to dedicate a lot more time in 2019 to really learning world history. Will I read them all before next December? Probably not. Each volume is around 900 pages long! But like with poetry or Greek literature, I plan on reading more even after 2019 is over. I look forward to starting “The Story of Civilization.” In poetry, you go very deep, exploring the nature of the universe and the meanings of words themselves. History is almost the complete opposite, especially the history the Durants compiled. Even with over 100,000 pages, you can only scratch the surface. You could write 11 volumes about a single nation
and still have to rush over some areas! But it’s a great foundation to build on. When you read history, especially history that covers so much of the world, you start to see trends. Empires rise and fall with the same patterns, and it really makes you think about current events in a different way. History also adds flavor and texture to the rest of art and culture. One of the most impactful poems I read in 2018 was Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” The poem itself really speaks to human nature, but when you study history and learn what was going on in 14th century Italy when Dante wrote his poem, it adds new layers of understanding. I am excited to spend 2019 reading something interesting and expanding my knowledge. This will be my third year with a theme, and I cannot overstate how enjoyable it has made my years. If you aren’t sure how you’ll spend 2019, I highly recommend picking an area of interest to focus on. For me, this means reading, but you could also get active by starting a new hobby, watching classic movies, or visiting different restaurants around your city. There are plenty of opportunities to broaden your horizons and make your year memorable.
When I sat down to decide what my main focus in 2019 would be, my first inclination was to
When you read history, especially history that covers so much of the world, you start to see trends.
Here’s to a historical 2019!
Call today – 205-705-3590 1. –Matt Dunaway
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