January’s missteps

For as many books as I read each year, I’ve become a bit more persnickety than even four or five years ago. Put another way, I’m finding it increasingly common that while I will generally give a book a good chance, there often comes a point where it’s clear it and I weren’t intended for each other. I know there were a number of such books last year. So this year I decided to keep track of them. I’ll be posting my “missteps” each month that has one or more .

Nostradamus: How an Obscure Renaissance Astrologer Became the Modern Prophet of Doom by Stéphane Gerson has the dubious honor of being the trailblazer in this “Did Not Finish” department. It isn’t that Garson, an NYU professor in French civilization and cultural history, wasn’t qualified to write the book. It perhaps just wasn’t what I anticipated.

I thought it would be a blend of in-depth biography and subsequent history and analysis that would place Nostradamus in his times and examine why his Prophecies had so much impact over the centuries. Although Garson was attempting to tell the latter, it seemed there were a more words than forward movement. And I did give it a shot. I didn’t give up until 111 pages in, close to a third of its total.

Ultimately, though, it’s that old saw, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Never read a book through merely because you have begun it.

John Witherspoon

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