I had nearly five thousand volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with one hundred and fifty well-chosen books a man possesses, if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know. I devoted three years of my life to reading and studying these one hundred and fifty volumes, till I knew them nearly by heart; so that since I have been in prison, a very slight effort of memory has enabled me to recall their contents as readily as though the pages were open before me.Now, I pride myself on being a nerd and trying to know a little about many things and much about a few, but this guy may be the King of the Nerds. I can imagine choosing 150 books to read over three years, but to learn them by heart? Okay, well, I can repeat passages of Pride and Prejudice and stuff, but this guy is well out of my league.
Tangent – my friend Mike suggested that I “translate” a portion of the original French into English. You see, we have a friend from Montreal whose English is a bit spotty, but at least she knows two languages. Having never taken a French class, occasionally I try to “translate” her written messages into English. So here goes –
Oui, certainement, reprit Monte-Cristo; mais Lord Wilmore ne m'a pas laissé ignorer, cher monsieur Andrea, que vous aviez eu une jeunesse quelque peu orageuse. Oh! dit le comte en voyant le mouvement que faisait Andrea, je ne vous demande pas de confession; d'ailleurs, c'est pour que vous n'ayez besoin de personne que l'on a fait venir de Lucques M. le marquis Cavalcanti, votre père.Translation -
Yes, certainly, repeats Monte-Cristo; mad Lord Wilmore is not a lazy ignorer, like Mr. Andrea, and I bring you the special June orange juice. Oh! And let’s go on a voyage to move the fair Andrea, and demand the confession; dilly dally around and he’ll act besotted with a person from Venice, Lucquest, Monsieur the Marquis Cavalcanti, who voted for his father.