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Book Smart: Your Essential List for Becoming…
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Book Smart: Your Essential List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days

by Jane Mallison

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What a great read! This is, as the title notes 365 book suggestions. They are noted by categories such as

Towerring Wooks to Read in Translation which contains Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and Oedpus Rex and others
Some Notable Bioographies and list The Path of Poser The Years of Lyndon Johnson and The Peabody Sisters and others
Young Men on a Quest which contains works such as Walden and The Great Gatsby
Strong Women, Admirably So and Otherwise here the reader fiinds Jane Eyre, the Handmaid's Tale and The House of Mirth and others
Crimes of Various Sorts which lists Thee Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Bonfires f the Vanities and others

There are other categories which are equally as delightfully rendered as those above.

I've read 1/2 if those listed. I'm not sure if I would choose to read others, but maybe they are in my future.

This is a delightful, creative, wonderfully written book.
  Whisper1 | Aug 2, 2015 |
Ah, what to read, what to read? I'm always in search of books suggesting good books to read, so I was happy to see this book.Author Jane Mallison proposes a list of ten books a month, with each month having a common theme. Themes include award winners, the human condition, biographies. I was encouraged to think Mallison might be a kindred reader by noting that many of her recommended reads are books I've already read and loved, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, In Cold Blood, Animal Farm, and Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry.Mallison sold me on A House for Mr. Biswas and Farewell to Arms, so much so that I have already sought them out and procured copies. A good choice for my first read of the year. ( )
1 vote debnance | Jan 29, 2010 |
Jane Mallison has selected 120 titles and created a type of "required reading list" for wannabe well-read readers. (It must be noted here that she specifically excludes the Bible, Shakespeare, George Eliot and Jane Austen,whom she feels it is a given that they should be read.) What she has done that differentiates this book from other similar books is to incorporate these titles into a 12 month reading plan. Each month has a set theme with a list of 10 books (and accompanying essays). Mallison suggests a number of ways to use these lists:
read 1 book per month from the list of 10 books for a total of 12 books read (a nice way to ease into it)
read 12 titles alphabetically by author's last name
read 12 titles chronologically
read all the books from one category and then 2 from another
be really ambitious and read all the titles!
This reading plan has a lot of flexibility which really leaves it up to the reader how he or she plans to use it.
Each chapter represents a month and begins with an interesting quote from a well-known and respected author (one of which I liked so much I decided to use in the masthead of this blog). This is followed by an essay about the designated theme, and subsequently an essay on each of the 10 books selected for that chapter. At the end of some of the essays are suggestions for further reading if desired. I was pleased to see some of the selected titles/authors, as they don't always appear in "books about books" (Gail Godwin, Betty Smith, Evelyn Waugh, Walker Percy, Jose Rizal to name a few).
I'm not sure that anyone can make a literary genius out of me. But for someone interested in broadening their literary horizon within a non-threatening framework, this book is a very good place to start. ( )
1 vote SharonGoforth | Mar 5, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0071482717, Paperback)

Unleash your literary side--one great book at a time!

Like taking a private class with an engaging literature professor, Book Smart is your ticket for literary enlightenment all year long and for the rest of your life. Whether you're a passionate turner of pages or you aspire to be better-read, Book Smart expands your knowledge and enjoyment with a month-by-month plan that tackles 120 of the most compelling books of all time.

Throughout the year, each book comes alive with historical notes, highlights on key themes and characters, and advice on how to approach reading. Here is a sampling of what you can expect:

January: Make a fresh start with classics like Beowulf and Dante's Inferno April: Welcome spring in the company of strong women like Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, and Vanity Fair's Becky Sharpe August: Bring a breath of fresh air to summer's heat with comedic works from Kingsley Amis and Oscar Wilde October: Get back to school with young people struggling to grow up in classics like Little Women and recent bestsellers such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time December: Celebrate year's end with big prizewinners such as The Remains of the Day and Leaves of Grass

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -0400)

Offers a list of one hundred and twenty books in an arrangement based on the time of year, providing the reader with advice on how to approach reading and historical and thematical notes on each work.

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