195 of My
This list of book reviews began as a blog, http://booksneverread-rays.blogspot.com/.
I read books for ideas and entertainment. I am excited by ideas which I find mostly in books. I am fearful that today’s American pop-electronic culture will make reading books obsolete. The pop-electronic culture of text messaging, tweets, TV, the Internet, video games, DVD movies. Ipods, talk radio, cell phones with their many “apps” that take pictures and movies and provide repeats of TV shows etc., is taking thought and ideas and reflection out of daily American life.
Types of books, electronic, hardbound and paperback, have advantages and disadvantages. E-books slow the reader’s quest for ideas, reducing the reader’s progress to page by page. Hardbound and paperback books, on the other hand, enable the reader to skip, browse and select in the search for ideas, procedures that are clumsy with e-readers. But hardbound and paperback books go out of print. E-books have staying power, in that even if they go out of print, they can be called up electronically.
Reading books of any kind requires active involvement, sustained thought, patience, visualizing, and the desire to reflect on and apply abstract ideas. American pop-electronic culture today leaves little time for reading books, and, therefore, for thinking. American pop-electronic culture kills the habit of reflecting on ideas in books and, therefore, affects the quality of the American spirit.
The books in this list are of a certain quality. In my master’s degree in English from Villanova University I studied the literary canon: Greek and Roman dramas and comedies, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton and the seventeenth-century poets, Dr. Johnson, Boswell and the Neo-classics, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Shelley and the Romantics, the English novelists, Dickens and the Victorians, the Americans, including Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, poets, Dickinson and Frost, etc. and novelists like Melville and Twain.
However, the books in the following list are “Tier Two” books, vital and interesting, but, although containing some of the works normally associated with the literary canon, of interest as individual works, some of which are contemporary, many of which are non-fiction, involving science, society, history, language, writing, etc. My reason for selecting them? I liked them. They made me think and reflect on ideas.
I am assuming that electronic books will be the future existence of books. It is partly to keep my favorite books, first published in hardbound or paperback formats, before the public that I am preserving a blog that summarizes my favorite books, books with ideas that have enriched my understanding of life. It is my hope that these books, many of which are out of print, will be resurrected by electronic scanning, so that they can provide many more generations with their ideas. Perhaps the reader who stumbles on this blog (or in book format) sometime in the bookless future will sense the importance again of the ideas in these books. Ideas that came mainly from some of my favorite books.