Some time in the next few weeks I will be launching a new and different site. It will be concerned with the reading and discussion of the great books. There are many lists of the great books. There are links to a few of them. here, here, here and here. This link is to a site where it is easy to download ebooks of many of the greats. I mean by great books the works of such writers as Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, Cervantes, Milton, Dickens, Joyce and the like. These books are characterized by their participation in the long standing discussion of important ideas such as freedom, government, man. God, law, truth and beauty. These are the writers and books that have laid out the most influential insights about these ideas.
I encourage input on how to best go about the discussion of these books. And also input as to which books to choose. I have a loose plan to begin with but I'm anxious to modify it in any way that will encourage more discussion and more participation.
I have just finished reading Dostoevsky's Demons and will start the whole thing off with a post about it. I then plan to reread John Milton's Areopagitica and write an analysis of that classic defense of freedom of the press. After that I'd like to discuss some stories from Joyce‘s Dubliners. From that collection I have chosen to write about ‘The Sisters,’ ‘Ivy Day In the Committee Room’ and ‘The Dead.’ I just read these stories again and look forward to writing about them and discussing them After that I'd like to do Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson. But we'll see what happens with the initial offerings and decide how to proceed.
I plan to cross post my larger posts here and see if that has any effect on insomnia in cyber-space.
Pundit and Pundette had a post over the weekend about lists of the best books. I like to go to their site because its design is imaginative and comfortable (you‘ll love it if you love old movies). And their content is worth the trip since they aren’t always writing about the same stuff everyone else on the web is harping on. They write about important things but not necessarily the absolute latest thing that I probably won’t care about in a week. Recently they had pieces about what Barack Obama’s sense of humor tell us about him, Michelle Obama’s home economics advise, Jon Hamm from ‘Mad Men,’ the enduring popularity of John Wayne, what’s wrong with schools becoming purveyors of self-esteem and a round up of evaluations of Obama’s performance as president so far (I, personally, really would like to give Obama six month or a year before becoming very critical; but he has done too much is a short time and I am convinced that no president has ever caused America so much harm in a comparable period of time. It is almost as if the destruction of the Republic is his goal. But it is difficult to assess how much of a factor total incompetence has been.)
Here are two relevant videos.