Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolution

[Image: Warriors, Prometheus Painter, 570-565 BC, photo by: Bibi Saint-Pol, 2007, Public Domain]

I have a New Year's resolution.

I'm going try to read more European history. I'd also really like to read some of the classics of European literature, starting with the Illiad. First, though, I need to understand the context it was all written in.

So I picked up a copy of Robin Lane Fox's The Classical World in Bologna last week, and I'm sort of "wiki-reading" it. I go through each chapter with a highlighter, picking out anything I don't understand (or anything I would like to know more about), then I hop onto Wikipedia and look up everything I've highlighted. It's like a DIY York Notes.

But "wiki-reading" works best online. This article from Portfolio magazine about the sub-prime mortage crisis is the best explanation of the crisis I have ever read, and I gained a much deeper understanding of it because every time I didn't "get" a concept I stopped reading and opened up Google or Wikipedia.

I wish that there was some way to have a "Wikipedia" button on my laptop's keyboard. When reading an article, it would be great to be able to click on text and link straight through to a Wikipedia article, rather than having to highlight the text, copy it and paste it into the Wikipedia search bar. Ah, well... maybe in Linux!

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