Friday, June 22, 2007

Books......and more books

I love to read, and the older I get the more I realize that I will never be able to read everything that I want to --- too many books seem to pile up on my Amazon wish list, similar to the stack in my office and on my bedside table. I have always been a heavy reader, but time constraints of school, residency, and practice (ok, and bloggging!) have taken a heavy toll on what I can reasonably expect to get to. A few months ago, I heard a great discussion on Hugh Hewitt's program about what "classics" should be on every college student's reading list; it's an enjoyable 30-40 minutes that's worth listening to. That piqued my interest, because I feel that I had the opportunity to read some great books in high school and college, but had a slew of trash thrown in there as well.

First, the list from Mr. Hewitt's show; the one's in purple I have read, my "comments" are in red:

The Bible pretty obvious, but not for everyone
Plato's Republic
Plato's Dialogues
Homer's Iliad
Dante's Divine Comedy
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote
Charles Dickens David Copperfield
Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov
Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn The Gulag Archipelago
Homer The Odyssey
Aristotle Ethics
Plato The Republic
Sophocles Oedipus Rex
St. Augustine's Confessions
John Locke Second Treatise on Government
Virgil
Aeneid
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address
Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
Winston Churchill History of the English Speaking Peoples
Charles Dickens A Child's History of England
Paul Johnson The Birth of the Modern
The Declaration of Independence & The Constitution of the United States
The Federalist Papers
Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America
Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations
Marx & Engles The Communist Manifesto
Charles Darwin Origin of Species
Friedrich Nietzsche The Geneaolgy of Morality
Sigmund Freud Civilization And Its Discontents
C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man
James Joyce Ulysses oh, Lord, not that one; what a waste of paper
Aeschylus Oresteia
St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica
Blaise Pascal Pensees
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
Oscar Williams Immortal Poems of the English Language
Herman Melville Moby Dick
Michel de Montaigne Essays
Edmund Burke Reflections on the Revolution in France
Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales
Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince
Edmund Spenser The Faerie Queene
John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Song of Roland
Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
William Shakespeare not surprisingly, these professors had several picks from old Will's pen:

King Lear
MacBeth
Henry V
Julius Caesar
As You Like It
Twelfth Night
Henry IV
Winter's Tale
The Tempest
George Bernard Shaw's Shakes Versus Shav
John Milton
Paradise Lost
Ancius Boethius
The Consolation of Philosophy
Cicero On Friendship and On Duties
Thomas Hobbes Leviathan
Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina and War and Peace
T.S. Eliot Collected Poems I've read some, but certainly not all
Whittaker Chambers Witness
Flannery O'Conner's Complete Stories
Norman Mailer Of A Fire on the Moon
Walker Percy Lost In The Cosmos

That's quite an ambitious list, and I must admit there are a few there that I would probably use as door-stops before ever taking the time to read them. In my next post, whenever I get to it, I will list the books that I read in school that were either spectacular or spectacularly awful, including the worst book ever foisted on high school students passed off as great literature. I would also like to list perhaps a few alternatives, books that never will be studied in an English class but which would be well worth the to teach.