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New TC course: Skeptic's Guide to GB. Have you read these?


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I read the Orwell selection about 2 years ago. It was good, but I don't think it was any easier than Animal Farm (which I love) or 1984. Honestly, I think one will find far more modern references to Animal Farm or 1984 than one will ever hear/read for Down and Out...

 

I read the Le Carre selection many, many years ago for enjoyment. I have a hard time seeing it as a "Great Book". The book list does look interesting, though, but I'm not sure I would use it as a substitute - rather maybe an add to Mt. TBR ;)

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It is by Prof Voth called The Skeptic's Guide to the Great Books and is described as a more accessible than the "true" GB.

It's funny that they would describe it that way, as the whole idea of the Great Books Movement was to make the Western canon accessible to the average person. In order to open up the "great conversation" to everyone who was interested, the books were read in translation rather than in the original languages, and were discussed in ways that didn't presume a lot of historical background knowledge.

 

If you start with the assumption that the books themselves are too long or boring, and substitute a bunch of others -- including 20th century spy and detective novels -- that's something entirely different IMO.

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I am having a hard time seeing the list as more than just a good reading list! I have read The Book Thief, which was an interesting read but difficult to get through because the pace felt uneven, to the point that I struggled to finish it. I have read some P.D. James, although not the title on the list, and those books are enjoyable, but in the same way that an Agatha Christie novel is enjoyable. The Life of Pi is currently on my nightstand, which means it has made its way out of the mountain and onto the short stack beside the bed, where it is third from the top (leading me to believe it may get read in the next few months). I am currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which is excellent! (I know, this post is not to add titles to people's reading list, but it felt right to mention it since it was bumped to the top before The Life of Pi.) :)

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It's funny that they would describe it that way, as the whole idea of the Great Books Movement was to make the Western canon accessible to the average person. In order to open up the "great conversation" to everyone who was interested, the books were read in translation rather than in the original languages, and were discussed in ways that didn't presume a lot of historical background knowledge.

 

If you start with the assumption that the books themselves are too long or boring, and substitute a bunch of others -- including 20th century spy and detective novels -- that's something entirely different IMO.

:iagree:

I loved reading both The Book Theif and The Life of Pi. Wonderful writing, great ideas, I could see them becoming modern classics. But as substitutions to the great books? That seems rather strange. Western culture is not based on the works of Zusak and Martel in the way it's based on Homer and Shakespeare. I think the booklist and course are very intriguing, I just find the idea of a great books substitute rather contrary to the very idea of the great books.

Edited by Aquinas Academy
typo
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