Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A blast from the past

Today I made one of my occasional visits to Arts & Letters Daily.  I found there, in the New Books section, a link to The great dictators, a review of two books about the The Great Books.

I have the 54 volume first edition sitting on ridiculously overstuffed bookshelves.  

Neither the authors nor the reviewer apparently thinks much of The Great Books.  To be honest, though I've owned them for nigh unto 30 years, I've read very little from them.  They've been useful the few times I've needed to dig in there after some tidbit or other but that has been rare.  The reason I own them differs from what the reviewer claims for other owners.  I own them because they came available to me for a paltry price of some $50 which included The Annals of America - my set of which may be of extraordinary value since it consists of 19 volumes rather than the 18 volumes available from Amazon.  

I have found the Annals useful from time to time.  Certainly moreso that the Great Books.  But I always figgered the Great Books were an investment in the future.  Something I'd be able to drool upon in my dotage.  Alas, it may just have been $50 poorly spent.


Barry Dauphin said...


Do you think that the internet and blogging contributed to not reading them as much as you planned? I'm curious cuz I often wonder what affect that internet activity has on reading habits (and other things too).

OMMAG said...

Personally ... I read less since finding this hobby of poking around web sites and blogs.

I'm sure that this will pass.

I've got some Machiavelli and Swift on the go right now.... just for the mental exercise.

One thing I do notice is that I have less patience for poor writers and the internet allows some opportunity to test the waters before wasting money and time second rate books.

Knucklehead said...

I certainly don't read less due to the internet. Perhaps less reading from books. But the main reason I don't read from them much has been, I think, that I've been more likely to pick topics and go with them for a year or two or three. I've not yet generalized to reading "the canon".