Sunday, February 17, 2008

Book review: Classics for Pleasure

New from The Movie Snob

Classics for Pleasure, by Michael Dirda (Harcourt 2007). This is a collection of short essays about less-familiar classics of world literature by a lover of literature who wants to bring these works to your attention. Dirda is or was literary critic for the Washington Post Book World, and he has read more literature than seems humanly possible. Here he recommends authors as varied as ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse, French Enlightenment figure Denis Diderot, Russian writer Anton Chekhov, and science-fiction author Philip K. Dick. I cannot judge the wisdom of his selections, save a very few (Dick gets thumbs up!), but I can recommend his clear, enthusiastic prose, and he seldom says so much about a book that you feel like he has spoiled it for you. It would also make a great gift for a book lover.


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