Wednesday, December 22, 2010


News flash: the great books are... great

I don't know why I'm so shocked whenever I discover that a great book, A Famous Work of Literature, is actually readable. Compulsively readable, even. In fact, justly famous! Not difficult to understand, or hard to navigate, or impenetrably intellectual! Just plain old good reading and a lot of it! Boswell's Life of Johnson is proving to be just such a book, full of witty, intelligent, easily flowing prose that reminds me of Jane Austen's, albeit a bit more robustly presented. 225 pages in and I am happy to say that I am eagerly anticipating the next 1100 (give or take) with great pleasure. The Oxford Illustrated Literary Guide to Great Britain and Ireland (1981) sits at my elbow, as a steadying anchor to windward. In the entry about London, I find a photograph of the house Samuel Johnson lived in from 1749 to 1759, the prime Dictionary years. The house still stands today. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Off to read and watch the snow flurries out of the corner of my eye.

yes, mostly famous books are hard to be interpreted exactly. Someone should also give a try to Bertnard Russel's 'Conquest of Happiness'.
Bertrand Russell: neatly filed away in my mind as Yet Another Great Author I Have Never Read. Who's to say if this will remain the case, though...
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