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Monday, March 18, 2013

Reading the Classics - Some Guides to Help, Part 1

Posted by Alana T.

One thing may library patrons (and staff!) have in common is a wish to have read more classic literature.  Where to start?  Which titles to read? In this series, I'll highlight some of the books that may be able to help.

Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days by Jane Mallison.  If you are interested in dropping a few lines from really good books in your next conversation, this could be the book for you.  The author provides monthly 'homework' with a themed reading list for each month.  If you are pressed for time, you could just scrape by and read the two page description of each book.  There are a lot of modern titles here, and you will surely recognize more than a few that have been made into movies.

The Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works by Charles Van Doren.  In the introduction, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson's injunction: "Read no book that is not a hundred years old," the author agrees (weakly) that a century is needed for good books to emerge from the throng of titles available.  Yes, there is a lot of good reading currently available, but there is still a lot to be learned from that of the past.  Selected authors are arranged by the historical period in which each wrote, providing some social and political context.  This book is a good introduction to the history of literature (and philosophy... and science) that shaped the Western world.

Stay tuned for more guidebooks to literature.

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