Sunday, June 16, 2013

When I want friendly and learned voices to give me advice...

...on which book to read and why I should read it, I turn to my two prized possessions:


  • CLIFTON FADIMAN (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999), co-author of, and the motivating force behind, The New Lifetime Reading Plan, was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio, and television personality. Here is an excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times:
He lost most of his sight as a result of acute retinal necrosis in his late 80s. But according to his daughter, Anne, also a writer, he continued to vet manuscripts for the Book-of-the-Month Club, as he had since 1944, by listening to unabridged tapes of the volumes in question especially recorded for him by his son Kim. He dictated his assessments to a secretary. He continued to participate, by way of conference calls, in the club's editorial board meetings until March.

While blind he brought out a new edition of The Lifetime Reading Plan, a guide done with John S. Major that was intended to introduce Americans to the classics of civilization, and he was the general editor of World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse From Antiquity to Our Time.

Late in his life the book world honoured him for his love of the printed word by awarding him the 1993 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
  • MICHAEL DIRDA, author of Classics for Pleasure, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post Book World. For more details, visit his home page on the Washington Post website. And here you can access the Goodreads synopsis of Classics for Pleasure.
  • Coincidentally, a book written by Clifton Fadiman's daughter, Anne, At Large and At Small, is another cherished possession in my library. 

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