Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reading the Classics - Some Guides to Help - Part 2

Posted by Alana T.

In a previous post, I started a list of books to help the general reader find a path through classic literature.  There are many approaches, and the list continues with the two books described below:

The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, From Homer to Faulkner by Sandra Newman.  The provides very brief and breezy descriptions of classic authors and their works.  Each is rated by Importance, Accessibility and Fun (a very modern American approach).  The writing is very casual (often funny) and may be just what you need to gently guide you into classic literature. While describing books and authors, Newman takes numerous detours through history, politics and social science to help the reader understand why the classics are so great - an often, so funny.

The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else by Christopher Beha.  The author, an Ivy League grad, describes his journey through the entire Harvard Classics collection that belonged to his grandmother. She had educated herself with the collection when still a girl, and after her death, the author thought reading the books might be a way to bring her memories close.  He had always thought, as many do, that the selections were dry and boring, but found that the books were lively, thought provoking and contained many life lessons.

No comments:

Post a Comment