Despite multiple resolutions to do otherwise, I was back again today at my local independent bookseller where I noticed a new volume from Margaret Atwood (fictional essays published as The Tent), which I didn't buy; and Philip Roth's Plot Against America, which I did.
Also spotted – down the back near the free books box (but not in it) – was The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine. It is apparently aimed at those of us who want to do everything, or at least many things, and the lightweight reader survey at the front suggests that I have an 81 per cent chance of being one of these. (Well, we know who we are.) Lobenstine promises to help readers "understand the exciting and powerful difference between choice and focus", manage our time "the Renaissance Soul way", and thrive on many interests "without feeling scattered". The Renaissance Soul, we learn, should not fear that he/she is afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder (does anyone really think this? surely the opposite must be true in order to nurture a diverse range of interests). Somehow I am not persuaded, although it makes me smile, and it does influence my decision to settle on Walter Isaacson's biography of a real "Renaissance soul" - Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. With Voltaire and now Franklin, perhaps I am on an Enlightenment kick.