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Friday, May 24, 2013

Reading the Classics - Some Guides to Help - Part 3

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.  The list continued with a second post and now we finish up with the three books described below.  Let us know if any of the titles were useful or prompted you to try out a classic.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, edited by Peter Boxall.  If you feel your time is limited and there are only so many books to fit into that time, this may be the guide for you.  One hundred writers, critics, academics and journalists compiled the list of novels (yes, only novels) and there is something for everyone here. Each selection is concisely described with brief details about the author.  The main focus is on 20th century works and run the gamut from well known to obscure.

100 Most Influential Books Ever Written by Martin Seymour-Smith.  This is a compilation of works that influenced Western thought; some are literary, but not too many.  Each title has a few pages about the author, historical/political context and a description of the book.  Not all the selection are taken from the past, there are quite a few modern writers.  If you feel you missed out in the college humanities classes, this book will fill the gap.
The Rough Guide to Shakespeare by Andrew Dickson.  This fantastic books has just about everything you might want to know about Shakespeare's plays.  Not only is there a good description of each play, the author discusses its stage history and major productions, movie and audio adaptations, and useful sources for  critical essays or histories.  An excellent book for someone doing a report, but also a great resource for someone who wants to learn all the basics about Shakespeare in one concise book.

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