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Uncle Tom's Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ann Douglas
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Modern Europe, 1789-Present
Patricia Clavin, Asa Briggs
Progress: 333/478 pages

Spur to learn, or am I just kidding myself?

Felipe II: La BiografĂ­a Definitiva  - Geoffrey Parker

As part of my recent entertainment-inspired commitment to reading more Spanish history, I have been  researching titles for my book list. I've identified about a half-dozen or so that I hope to get to over the next year or two. Over the past few days, though, I've been contemplating taking it to another level altogether and try to learn how to read Spanish.

As is so often the circumstance with us bibliophiles, this was inspired by a book -- in this case, Geoffrey Parker's Spanish-language biography of the Spanish king Philip II. It's a doorstop of a book, and one with a curious history; written by one of the foremost American scholars of early modern Europe, it was translated into Spanish in 2010, but published in its original English four years later, albeit only in an "abridged" edition. I have the English-language edition, but my weakness for weighty tomes (especially of subjects as important as Philip) has made this a ridiculously appealing addition to my library.


Now my Spanish history project has renewed my interest with the added idea that I would do so in order to learn the language. The idea would be to purchase a copy (which, while not cheap, is affordable enough) and then over time work my way through its nearly 1500 pages. I'd like to think that as I go along my command of Spanish would grow, but then that presumes that I would even read it in the first place, especially when I have no shortage of books awaiting my attention (including the English-language version plus a second book that Parker write about Philip's grand strategy). So what I'm trying to figure out is this: should I get this, or is the whole idea just an excuse to enable an entirely unnecessary purchase?