Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Imaginative Literature Picks

Back here, I posted a list of favorite imaginative literature. Since then, some major omissions have haunted me, so I will post them now. How did I forget them: I can only blame it on old age!

  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig. This is a great book. It's a "literary chautauqua" that is truly unique. It's the story of a man and his son taking a motorcycle trip from western Minnesota to Oregon. It's the story of a man on the edge of mental collapse. It's reflection on motorcycles. It's a reflection o the Western intellectual tradition. And so I could go on. Entertaining and enlightening, it's as interesting an American work as I can think of in the last 40 years (although I'm no expert).
  2. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. A detective thriller set in the Middle Ages? Yes, and more. I loved this book, and (like Zen above), I've re-read it. Eco uses his extensive knowledge of the Middle Ages to tell a great story with intriguing ideas behind it. A great fun read.
  3. A River Runs Through It, by Norman Mclean. I suppose that this book struck me because of the Presbyterian father who loved fishing, two marks of my father. The story is elegiac. Maclean, in a relatively few pages, captures a sense of his youth in Montana and the enigma of a brother. In the mean time, he reflects on the beauty of fly-fishing.
  4. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. I must admit that this is a sentimental pick because I think that it's that last work that I read aloud to 1HP. And, of course, one finds it in the "YA" section of the bookstore. On the other hand, it's for the YA at heart. Only fools would scoff at a good story and instructive lesson rolled into one, and this book does it: combination mystery and history of philosophy. I think we both had fun with it.

I can't think of more right now, but if I do, I'll post. Someday I might get around to posting favorite read- alouds to kids. I could generate a very long list of those! Happy reading!

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