My formal education was abysmal. Without knowing it, my parents gave me a lovely home education with nature walks, plenty of crafts, family traditions around the liturgical year, and stacks of books. However I managed to avoid reading most of the great writers.
I decided to remedy that recently. Just for fun I'm going through the alphabet of authors.
A is for Austen. Like any romantic girl I had read Pride and Prejudice but I expanded by reading Sense and Sensibility. No problem, very enjoyable. Next, poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I am not really a poetry person, much too pragmatic, but I felt quite virtuous tackling poems and it was actually fun and moving.
C's. Chesterton. The only Chesterton our library has is The Everlasting Man. Good grief! You have to be able to hold on to point 1, points 1a,1b and 1c, then point 2 and so on before you can put it all together for G.K.'s main point. In one paragraph! AND. I have to look up words in the dictionary as I go along. How humbling.
Then you get paragraphs like this. "... In one sense it is a true paradox that there was history before history. But it is not the irrational paradox implied in prehistoric history; for it is history we do not know. Very probably it was exceedingly like the history we do know, except in the one detail we do not know. It is thus the very opposite of the pretentious prehistoric history, which professes to trace everything in a consistent course from the amoeba to the anthropoid to the agnostic...."
It's not that I can't understand or dissect complex writing . But it's slow going since the mental gymnastics required from my poor brain must operate constantly while reading. Surely I am bright enough to grasp some of what this brilliant man said if I just keep plugging away.
I'm sure it's good preparation for Dostoevsky who will be next. If I'm too far out of my league with him, hopefully I can find someone to read in the E's who will be less taxing. If not, I can fall back on reading the children's author, Marie Hall Ets to my little kids. Thats good writing too.