Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works

Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works

by Charles Van Doren
     
 

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"Charles Van Doren has laid a feast before all of us that is irresistible." -Mortimer J. Adler

This engaging love letter to reading follows the great authors and classics that transformed the world: from Aristotle and Herodotus in ancient Greece to Salinger and Heinlein in 20th century America. Like a professor whose enthusiasm enwraps his students, Van Doren

Overview

"Charles Van Doren has laid a feast before all of us that is irresistible." -Mortimer J. Adler

This engaging love letter to reading follows the great authors and classics that transformed the world: from Aristotle and Herodotus in ancient Greece to Salinger and Heinlein in 20th century America. Like a professor whose enthusiasm enwraps his students, Van Doren explains what's wonderful in the books you've missed and awakens your desire to reopen the books you already know.

Divided chronologically by the periods in which these classics were written, each book is put in its historical context and brought to life by Van Doren's brilliant analysis. The Joy of Reading delves into a wide range of genres-fiction, poetry, drama, children's books, philosophy, history and science. This is the one book that brings together everything you need to know about the classics you missed and ignites your passion to read and reread the greatest books the world has ever known.

This book is the fruit of a lifelong love affair. Reading, I believe, is my favorite thing to do; books and I have been inseparable almost as long as I can remember ... To this day, I become distressed if I am anywhere without a book, a magazine, a newspaper, any scrap of paper to read .... I like the smell of books, certainly the feel of them. Life without books would be, for me, a vacant horror."
-Charles Van Doren

"Nothing recommends the joy of reading better than the communication of it by a person who has spent a lifetime enriched by the delights of reading. Charles Van Doren is that kind of reader. He has laid a feast before us that is irresistible."
-Mortimer J. Adler, author of How to Read a Book

"Mr. Van Doren is that rarity, a truly well read man who reads not for professional purposes but for pleasure. His book spurs us on to explore more deeply and joyfully the infinitely varied terrain of good books."
-Clifton Fadiman, author of The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This is a revised and expanded version of a 1985 work (with a different subtitle), this time organized chronologically rather than alphabetically. It starts with Homer and concludes with J.K. Rowling, covering not just literature and drama but also science, history, mathematics, and philosophy through the centuries. Van Doren (How To Read a Book) places authors within their historical context and gives us the subject matter and a flavor of their writing style. His aim: "to keep alive and warm the memory of some very great people. And ideas. And books." This is a worthy undertaking, and Van Doren's awe and admiration for the authors are evident in his writing. However, his suggestion that people undertake a ten-year historical reading program is not likely to get many takers.
—Gina Kaiser

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402211607
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
934,345
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Van Doren is the coauthor of the classic How to Read a Book with philosopher Mortimer J. Adler; the author of A History of Knowledge (which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover and 150,000 in paperback); and the author or editor of The Idea of Progress, Great Treasury of Western Thought, The Annals of America, Second Chance: An American Story, as well as several novels for young people and Webster's American biographies. He is an adjunct professor of the University of Connecticut, Torrington Campus. His father was Mark Van Doren, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and professor at Columbia.

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