Title: The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
I was given a copy of Leonardo's notebooks a few years ago, the Oxford World's Classics edition. The range of topics covered is astonishing. His curiosity is boundless. He analyzes the flow of water, the growth of trees, the folds of various fabrics when draped over the human body. Often, more realistic art is his ultimate objective but not always. Over the course of his life, Leonardo was engaged for civil engineering projects in addition to the art commissions. His approach was scientific, or at least as close as anyone was managing in the 16th century. He was watching the celestial bodies before Galileo, observing motion before Newton. His conclusions weren't accurate but he was certainly asking the right questions. The book reaffirmed all of my long-held admiration.
That said, it wasn't as much fun as I was hoping. For starters, there are precious few illustrations, not even all of the ones referenced in the text. The text is dry, too. Of course, da Vinci's musings were for his own use, not necessarily for publication. Engaging the reader was not his primary consideration. I'm glad to have read it finally but can't say I'd be up for more of the same.