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October 15, 2017

Sunday Morning Book Thread: 10/15/2017

OregonMuse is otherwise engaged, and in his absence you will have to tolerate the adolescent scrawlings and screechings of other, less urbane and witty and well-read cobloggers.
Dartmouth Reading Room.jpg
Reading Room: Baker Library. Dartmouth College

As reading rooms go, this one ain't bad. I like the combination of tables for studying and easy chairs for more relaxed reading.

But college and university libraries are rapidly digitizing pretty much everything, so I wonder whether the reading room and the stacks are going to be expensive albatrosses that will be discarded in favor of funds better spent on safe rooms and segregated dorms?


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What books are essential to the education of a well-rounded person? I have some ideas, so I will start with a few. Obviously reading is a life-long endeavor, but a good place to start is:

The Iliad and The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fagles, whose work is absolutely fantastic. I have read Lattimore's translation, and it is excellent, but Fagles does such a great job of making the ancient world come alive, complete with blood and guts and sex and death. It's less poetic, but more real.

Next up is the Bible. But which one? I think starting with the Old Testament is a good plan, and there is no better a version than Robert Alter's translation with commentary.

Herodotus? Probably. But I don't know enough to suggest a version. Anyone out there?

And then? The Aeneid. I've only read one version from start to finish, and you guessed it...Robert Fagles!

Plato and Aristotle and the Greek plays and the New Testament and Marcus Aurelius and Dante and Augustine and....

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Commenter "Captain Comic" mentioned a book on last night's ONT in response to my mention of the "Lamed Vovniks," a concept in Judaism. The book is "The Last Of The Just," by Andre Schwarz-Bart, and I was given a copy by my father a long, long time ago. It is a glorious but incredibly difficult and painful book to read, and I recommend it with that warning.

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posted by CBD at 09:03 AM

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