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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Book by Book" by Michael Dirda "Why Read?"

As I said before, I think I read all of these books about people obsessed with books because I feel I need to "justify" (not sure if that's the right word) to myself that I am not the only crazy one; that there are more like me out there. It is, I believe as Dirda has stated in his other books, a dying art. People seem to be losing their interest in reading as a whole. I recommend highly a book I read two years ago entitled "Why Read?" by Mark Edmundson. He begins with a simple enough premise, something he observes as "the recent identity crisis in the humanities," that "reading can change your life for the better." We have become so consumerized that the art of reading for personal growth and edification has been relegated to an obsolete function of human necessity. Edmundson sticks to "the best that's been thought and said," which I am sure would offend some of the liberal revisionists out there, and perhaps this is why this book didn't get much press. At any rate, it is what it is and we cannot cover the sky with our hands... liberal thought (which makes nearly everything in western intellectual history offensive to some political/sexual identity/ethnic or racial group) has created a problem... the proverbial elephant sitting the middle of the library. We all see him there, but pretend not to notice, lest we offend some political-correctness credo. At any rate, it is not my intention to rant. I would like to make the disclaimer that I do "bash" both conservatives and liberals alike. I stick to the William James' way of absorbing and digesting information: pragmatism.

Where does this leave me? Ah, yes... Dirda. Dirda is clear of any liberal or conservative interpretation and that is why I like him so much. He doesn't take an analytical stance based on political-correctness, nor does he goes out of his way to interpret in the "old-dead-white-male" way. Although "Book by Book" is not ranking among my favorites by him, it is nonetheless a great source of "I-am-not-as-crazy-as-I-thought" material.

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2 Comments:

At 12:34 AM, Blogger suzanabrams said...

I wonder why you haven't come by for such a long time, JCR. Anyway, as always, enjoy your reads. :-)

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger Stefanie said...

Book by Book is the only Dirda I have read and I wasn't all that crazy about it. Since you've read others of his, can you recommend a good one?

 

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