Big Books

I suppose that I've always been a bit of a sucker for the big book. War and Peace, Moby Dick, and The Brothers Karamazov made big impressions in my youth. I let myself be talked into buying The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring before heading to a remote Army post in Arizona - but I wasn't about to lay about big bucks to buy the whole series. I quickly devoured those while in the temporary barracks there when another soldier arrived fresh from Vietnam, where he had only had The Two Towers, so a trade was quickly arranged.

I still like the big books, but my tastes have changed a bit. Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Ulysses, and Atlas Shrugged dimmed my enthusiasm for modern fiction. I have, however, acquired way too many thick physics and astrophysics books.

Gravitation, AKA "The Black Hole", by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler is a familiar heavyweight at 1336 large format pages. Not one to rest on his laurels, Thorne teamed up with Blandford to write the even heftier Modern Classical Physics, at 1552 pages. I haven't totalled up the pages of the twelve or so volumes of Landau and Lifshitz, but I'm pretty sure that they surpass those others handily.

Perhaps you will shocked to learn that I'm far from having read all of the books featured in the previous paragraph. So what's my excuse for having subsequently acquired Theory of Stellar Atmospheres, by Hubeny & Mihalas (994 pages) not to mention all thirteen volumes of Princeton's Physics in a Nutshell series (don't ask)?

It's now fairly clear that I couldn't read all my books even if I had six lifetimes and 30 more IQ points. Bibliomania is a serious disease.

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