Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

Lifetime reading plan

I’ve been in an introspective mood the last month.  I’ve been dealing with death, money and taxes.  (I didn’t post about the taxes, but if the IRS doesn’t see things my way, I will.)  I’ve tried to post on current events, but I’m just not feeling the passion to do it right.

 So, instead I’ll try to make a little money.  Remember, if you click on any of my links to Amazon, no matter what you end up buying I’ll get a percentage.  It’s called a “kickback.” 

Years ago, I picked up a copy of The New Lifetime Reading Plan, and decided to give it a go.  It lists what the authors (Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major) believe to be the greatest works of literature ever written.  It’s actually a joy to read on its own: one to two page beautifully written essays that actually make you want to read the books.  Reading about reading is almost as fun as reading!

I picked it up eight years ago, and decided to go through it, and keep a journal about my reaction to each book.  Here’s what I wrote:


I picked up The New Lifetime Reading Plan about a year ago, and was so taken by its essays that I decided to work my way through it.  Since then, I have been methodically reading the works it lists, one by one, in strict chronological order.  This is not how the book recommends one read the classics, but I wanted to see how literature developed over time, and I think it’s valuable to have read what, say, Dante had read before tackling The Divine Comedy.

As I said, I have been reading it’s recommendations for about one year, now, and it struck me that I should make a record of my impressions upon my introduction (in most cases) to these classics.  Everything that follows, until Plato, therefore, is based upon my recollections.  Following that, I will begin contemporaneous entries.

(Yeah, I write like that to myself!)

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics)

Reading this brought goosebumps to my arms.  Words written four millenia ago still have power over a man raised on frozen pizza and Brady Bunch re-runs.

What remains with me a year after reading it is the universality of its theme: despair in the face of mortality.  It reminds me that in every geographical area, in every historical era, men have always and will always have the same fears and consolations.  If I have so much in common with a four-thousand-years-dead Sumerian, is there any man on earth I cannot truly call my brother?

**REMEMBER!** The important thing about these journal entries is that they contain links to Amazon!  If you are thinking about shopping on that site, come here first and click on one of these links.  I made $3 off my last book reviews, so in six months I hope to be able to buy “Arrested Develpment: Season 2!”


5 responses to “Lifetime reading plan

  1. Heather February 14, 2007 at 8:37 am

    However shameless, I will do my part with the Amazon thing! Or maybe, in 6 months, I will simply go to Amazon and buy you “Arrested Development Season 2” for your birthday. Either way you’ll make out.

  2. sandy February 14, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Last month, a coffee pot. This month, a new Bible and a book on transferential issues in grief counseling. Next month, maybe that little attachment for my hand mixer that’s been on my wish list too long…With a little help from Amazon, I lead a full life. With my help, you should be a proud owner of that set of network televion history in no time.

  3. Mom February 14, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    “The Epic of Gilgamesh” Amazing stuff. The Sumerian legends are fascinating. Did the “Great Flood” legend pass down from them through the Akkadians and Assyrians to the Babylonians and finally to the exiled Jews? What do you think? I have a theory. I think that this particular legend was based on fact. I always thought that the Mediterranean sea could have been caused by a breach in the area of Gibralter letting the Atlantic ocean to flood in between Spain and North Africa, the then known world.

    Anyway, I agree with you that humans haven’t changed only their technology has. Whether it’s a change for the better is debatable

  4. Mom February 14, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    P.S. Sometimes I tend to ramble in my old age.

  5. Rob February 15, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I also read it and thought it was good but, in my opinion, you shouldn’t be awake at 1:18 am unless I’m partying next to you.
    Nice segue, right?

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