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Lord Reading: Rufus Isaacs, First Marquess of Reading, Lord Chief Justice and Viceroy of India, 1860-1935
Denis Judd
Progress: 90/316 pages
Charlotte Lennox: An Independent Mind
Susan Carlile
Progress: 137/528 pages
Operation Don's Main Attack: The Soviet Southern Front's Advance on Rostov, January-February 1943
David M. Glantz
Progress: 382/952 pages

My problem laid bare

DIderot - Arthur McCandless Wilson

Today I was asked about interviewing the author of a forthcoming biography of Denis Diderot. It was hinted (in a way that even I could understand) that this one would be good for the site, so I agreed to do it. Plus, I've never read a biography of Diderot, and given how regularly I mention him when covering the Enlightenment it was probably time to read one.


As I was doing the sort of preliminary work in advance of receiving the book, however, I discovered this book: a 900+ page biography of Diderot, written almost a half-century ago. It's the standard academic work on the man, one that was the life's work of a longtime scholar who received awards for it. All these reasons make it virtually irresistible for me.

The problem is, I have exactly zero need for it. Soon a package will be arriving on my doorstep containing a brand-new Diderot biography, one that I'm required to read within the next couple of months. It should by any measure offer me everything I need to learn about Diderot. And it's not as though I don't already have plenty of other massive tomes weighing down my shelves, ones that will all be a greater priority after I read someone else's book on the exact same subject.


And yet it's over 900 pages! Through! Praised! Available in good condition at an affordable price! How can I not pas this up?

Such is my problem. Admittedly it's small and very much of a FWP, but at least it prevents me from thinking about the ugly shit going on right now.