Thursday, February 23, 2012

Things I've Noticed: Classics and Genre Fiction

*A quick note – When I say Classics and Genre Fiction I’m not talking Classics of Genre Fiction (Asimov, Matheson, Tolkein) but am instead talking about Classics (Homer, The Bible, Plato) and modern genre fiction.

For years I’ve had the feeling that I should be reading classics of literature, but where to start? There are tonnes of books which can be considered classics and honestly, in my life I am not going to have the time to read them all. A few years ago I received a gift from my BFF Mike and his lovely wife Trish which ended up being one of my favourite books ever.

How To Read a Book by Mortimer Adler (1972). The book itself focuses on how you can take a skill the literate world takes for granted, reading, and how to do it more effectively. It covers how to read histories, fiction, school texts, science and mathematics books and a whole lot more. In the back of the book he gives a reading list that starts at the beginning of Western Civilization and moves forward to the 1960s.

So my current plan is to move through his list (you can see it here) at one book a month. February’s book is The Iliad and so far I really love it. The story is nearly 3000 years old and involves magic, gods, and the kind of violence I haven’t seen since reading Richard Laymon’s The Cellar. I’m reading the book a chapter a day and honestly I’m really enjoying it. The fact that the story is referred to in over and over again throughout classic and modern literature is just a bonus. Next month for me is The Oddessy, and after that I’ll be checking out Aesop’s Fables.

It’s just kind of cool, at the beginning of this project that when I step away from Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction to read some stuff that is “good for me” I’m met with a significant amount of Horror and Fantasy.

1 comment:

  1. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos--lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann