I have begun to notice that those of us who read have very little to say. Conversing recently with a friend who had watched just a handful of videos on Al-Andalus, I found that he could give a far better narrative account of Muslim Spain, its rise to power, the reasons for its dissolution, its political systems, and its relation to the Christian world than I.
I, who had spent a week toiling with a chapter on the innovations within irrigation in Muslim Spain, and could hardly recall a paragraph’s worth of information from it. My father, too, who has not touched a book since he was obliged to as a child, but who frequently watches documentaries on the Second World War, is able to recall a series of dates, names and death tolls that would embarrass a third year History graduate, whose recourse to bookmarks, highlights and citations only stifle his ability to be fluent in his subject.
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