Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reading the Classics

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Hanging out online tonight I ran across a list done by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, his eight recommended books.

Reading the classics is a worthy goal.  There are wonderful reasons for reading the timeless, exemplary books that we call classic.  While I was in school I read the usual book lists in my classes, but I had no opportunity or incentive to read the classics until I simply decided to do it when I was in my thirties.  And too bad that it takes age and maturity to realize how priceless some of these works truly are.  How I wish more young people had the interest in reading them.

At one point I simply decided to engage myself in some quality reading.  What I found was that these books are considered the classics for good reason.  They are timeless, high quality, relatable, and a wealth of cultural knowledge.  I realized that so many social icons, symbols, expressions, and ideas come directly from these powerful novels.  I found myself better-educated, growing my vocabulary, and more curious from reading the classics!

I haven't read as much of the classics as I would like; I will continue my reading as I can.  At the moment, I fear, my brain is a bit unable to take it all in.  But next on my list Theogony by Hesiod, The Art of Love by Ovid, and Xenocide by Orson Scott Card.

I got to thinking about which books I would highly recommend for the higher level reader who wants to hit the high level classics.  It can be very daunting to move towards the classics, to prepare one's mind and one's attention for the depth and majesty of Plato and Homer and Virgil and Ovid.  But, fear not, read some of the following titles on your way to the heavier hitters!
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Night by Elie Weisel
  • Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel
  • Latitude by Dava Sobel
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
  • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan
  • Candide by Voltaire
  • Tartuffe by Moliere
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  • The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar  Wilde
  • Lysistrata by Aristophanes

These books are highly-approachable!  Tell me what you think!
Also, what would you recommend for a reader with a goal of educating themselves in the classics?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:   
Tween/Teen Reading List 
GREAT READS for Tweens and Teens:  For the Love of a Good Book

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