From my diary

We all know the Amazon.com book ordering process — you register an account, choose the book, hit the button, enter the delivery address, hit the button, choose a credit card, hit the button, display the order, and hit go.

I’d always thought of that as pretty streamlined, until today when I ordered a copy of the Loeb edition of Aulus Gellius’ Attic Nights from Book Depository.  They didn’t make me create an account, or do most of that.  I clicked to add the book to the basket.  I clicked to check out, entered my address and card details on one spartan screen, pressed one click and it was all done.

Very nice!

I’ve decided that I must read the Attic Nights.  Bill Thayer at Lacus Curtius has the Latin and part of the English online, which I was looking at this lunchtime.  But I can’t read this sort of book on-screen, useful as it is. 

In book 1, I read the first story, about how the Greeks calculated the shoe-size of Hercules, as measured from the length of the race-track at Olympia. 

Another anecdote related how Demosthenes secretly approached the whore Lais, who demanded an enormous sum.  Demosthenes replied that he would not purchase shame for 10,000 drachmas.

A quotation from Metellus Numidicus on marriage followed:

If we could get on without a wife, Romans, we would all avoid that annoyance; but since nature has ordained that we can neither live very comfortably with them nor at all without them, we must take thought for our lasting well-being rather than for the pleasure of the moment.

It seems like it might be a good book to read on the sofa in front of the TV on these wintry nights.

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