Best Books: Milne poetry

When We Were Very Young coverThe next work in my list of books everyone ought to read is “either When We Were Very Young or Now We Are Six,” two books of verse, by A. A. Milne. Continue reading

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Best Books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

cover of The Annotated AliceThe next work on my list of books everyone should read is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Today’s post is a quasi-review explaining why I think it belongs on that list, in particular with reference to the two standard criteria, what Chaucer called “sentence” and “solace,” or “edification” and “entertainment.” Continue reading

Best Books: Foundation

The next work on my list of books everyone should read is Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

As you may recall, the two criteria I use in evaluating whether a (fiction) book belongs on my list—whether everyone ought to read it, rather than (say) only “die-hard fans” of the genre—are its ability to “teach and delight.” To use Chaucer’s terms, whether it contains “sentence and solace.” To make the list, a book should be very enjoyable to read purely as a story. But it should also be “weighty,” helping a careful—or, better yet, even a casual—reader to grapple with the enduring issues of the time and of all time. Continue reading