4 Comments

  1. David J Cheramie

    1. The Bible
    2. The Tao Te Ching
    3. The Brothers Karamazov
    4. The Color Purple
    5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
    6. Madame Bovary
    7. Meditations
    8. Moby Dick
    9. The Origins of Totalitarianism
    10. Brave New World

    • Bookscrounger

      These are good ideas. I struggle over the value of a cannon all the time. To be able to converse, there needs to be a background of mutually understood ideas. But innovation cannot occur if there is an authority dictating what knowledge looks like. So each person has to be able to decide for herself what works are most important. At the same time, as the edges of knowledge become more frayed, and as the corpus of knowledge becomes too much for anyone to even grasp in summary, we each retreat into smaller specializations, each which requires its own cannon.

      I cannot see an easy way to reconcile all of this.

  2. 1. A book of major works by the dominant writer of one’s language:
    Perhaps, the Norton Anthology of American Literature? A collection of Mark Twain’s writings.

    2. Dominant religious text of one’s culture: the Bible but perhaps one should include an annotated version. Or one in the modern idiom for clarity. King James is elegant, but at times, a bit round about.

    3. An overview of world history:
    One example would be the series that includes Bauer_ Susan Wise The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade and also this overview, Fernandez-Armesto,_Felipe-Millennium-A-History-of-the_Last-Thousand-Years.

    4. An introduction to statistics: I need to work on this one, but suspect one of those Dummies Guide® might be a good starting place.

    5. Any book of musical études: I actually learned more by spending years listening to the Beethoven Satellite Network when WRKF used to carry it and an afternoon classics show hosted by Lisa Richards of KRVS. Neither exists today. I learned quite a bit and researched composers — some not so well known — such as Jacob Van Eyck, composer of the massive Der Fluyten Lust–hof (The Flute’s Pleasure Garden, 1644) for soprano recorder, who was blind.

    6. Any book in a second language: My Spanish is not quite up to this beyond children’s books. If it were, I’d read Don Quixote or Lazarillo de Tormes.

    7. An intro to physics: Well the NY Times has that book by the Italian Carlo Rovella, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. One might read anything by Stephen Hawking. There is one out now on the NY Times bestseller list by the late Hawking.

    8. An introduction to biology: Anything by Yuval Harari or Lance Grande. I took six hours of biology courses at LSU so think I might be okay here.

    9. An anthology of literature and poetry: See any Norton anthology. Poetry is a bit complicated. I prefer the rhyming kind; yes, I know that is bizarre today.

    10. Any book the reader has written: I am not sure I have understood this correctly. I wrote Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile and will soon have the abridgement out. It is Selections from Across Two Novembers: A Bibliographic Year. http://www.dldbooks.com/davidfaucheux/ It’s not amazing like Educated by T. Westover, but it’s my life lived here in Lafayette in mostly 2014.

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