The Joy of Reading
This is an enormously readable, critical description of the classic works and their authors, from Homer and Dante to Solzhenitsyn and Salinger, written by the former editor of The Encyclopedia Britannica, The Annals of America (20 Volumes), and The History of Knowledge. The book consists of 15 chapters organized chronologically, from the Golden Age that includes Aristotle and Heroditus to only yesterday, with descriptions of great works by Orwell and Heinlen. Van Doren will begin each chapter with a short introduction about the period, placing the works within that period’s history, and the influence that history had on later books and times. The Joy of Reading contains insightful descriptions, analysis, and comments about a wide range of genres – fiction, poetry, drama, children’s books, philosophy, history, science, and reference books. The author’s personal commentary will awaken and renew a love of literature in every reader. The Joy of Reading will include a complete bibliography. Originally published in 1985, that version of The Joy of Reading was organized alphabetically, based on the authors’ names. In this complete revision, the entries are organized chronologically, and each chapter contains a historical essay on the period it covers, as well as descriptions of each author’s major works. Also included are new entries on more recent works and their authors.
Baker & Taylor
Lists in chronological order the most important and enjoyable books according to the author, with reviews and anecdotes on each literary work.
This is (mostly) a reprint of a work published in 1985, but clearly there have been updates; the final entry is J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, which finished in 2007. Van Doren (U. of Connecticut) shares his passion for reading in clear, unassuming descriptions of works and authors he loves. His entries include philosophers, poets, fiction authors, and essayists, organized chronologically by era (from the Golden Age to the Present). He ends with a ten-year reading plan for serious readers, although he gently asserts that it's quite ok if it takes 20 years to get through the plan. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Charles Van Doren has laid a feast before all of us that is irresistible." -Mortimer J. Adler
This engaging love letter to reading follows the great authors and classics that transformed the world: from Aristotle and Herodotus in ancient Greece to Salinger and Heinlein in 20th century America. Like a professor whose enthusiasm enwraps his students, Van Doren explains what's wonderful in the books you've missed and awakens your desire to reopen the books you already know.
Divided chronologically by the periods in which these classics were written, each book is put in its historical context and brought to life by Van Doren's brilliant analysis. The Joy of Reading delves into a wide range of genres-fiction, poetry, drama, children's books, philosophy, history and science. This is the one book that brings together everything you need to know about the classics you missed and ignites your passion to read and reread the greatest books the world has ever known.
This book is the fruit of a lifelong love affair. Reading, I believe, is my favorite thing to do; books and I have been inseparable almost as long as I can remember ... To this day, I become distressed if I am anywhere without a book, a magazine, a newspaper, any scrap of paper to read .... I like the smell of books, certainly the feel of them. Life without books would be, for me, a vacant horror."
-Charles Van Doren
"Nothing recommends the joy of reading better than the communication of it by a person who has spent a lifetime enriched by the delights of reading. Charles Van Doren is that kind of reader. He has laid a feast before us that is irresistible."
-Mortimer J. Adler, author of How to Read a Book
"Mr. Van Doren is that rarity, a truly well read man who reads not for professional purposes but for pleasure. His book spurs us on to explore more deeply and joyfully the infinitely varied terrain of good books."
-Clifton Fadiman, author of The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature
Like a professor whose enthusiasm enwraps his students, Van Doren explains what's wonderful in the books you've missed and awakens your desire to reopen the books you already know.
a passionate guide to 189 of the world's best authors and their works
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