Managing the diminishing days requires the exercise of moral courage. Some possible approaches:
1. Tackle the Caesars. I could feel Suetonius chuntering at one shoulder, and Robert Graves smiling ironically at the other. Tom Holland has the same problem as historians writing about mediaeval England: once we have read their stuff, Graves and Shakespeare will always compel our view of Augustus and Richard III (and the rest), whatever the historical evidence. Lots of goodies in the book though, and very good contextual stuff to help one understand the familiar-yet-totally-alien principles of Romans as they negotiated the huge changes of their times.
3. Tackle theology. Sitting in the window ‘like the picture of somebody reading’, I frequently found myself sleeping like a baby. This was due not so much to boredom as to the physical relaxation caused by heavy duty thinking. Must have something to be said for it – the book is now full of pink notes-to-self.
Actually don’t bother with this one. It’s just as bad as I thought, even with lashings of butter and seasoning. Should you have the facilities to do so, just give Fluffers some exercise by throwing breadcrumbs up and down the kitchen floor, and put Bagpuss on the television. The Bony King of Nowhere comes up as fresh as paint.