Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has always had a huge symbolic importance for me. All the way through two different grad schools, I hoped that the day would come when I would have enough free time to read this humongous work of an eminent historian completely and entirely for fun.
Today, this day has finally come. I am starting to read Gibbon's 6-volume history. It will probably take me a couple of years to get through it. Possibly even more. It's really great to have a job that allows one to dedicate lots of time to "impractical" things like reading, contemplation, reflection, and a completely gratuitous pursuit of knowledge.