Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Literary Enrichment

Aside from my website and eBook which take all my spare time, I'm left with very little time for self enrichment. For me, self enrichment is reading and reading is about good fiction, literature and contemporary issues of the day.

Fortunately for me, our neighborhood library is excellent at acquiring new publications. I have learned about some excellent books that have come out recently from author interviews on the radio. One book I have on reserve is a new book by Susan Jacoby called the Age of American Unreason.

In her book, Jacoby
laments the decline of middlebrow American culture and presents a cogent defense of intellectualism. America, she believes, faces a "crisis of memory and knowledge," in which anti-intellectualism is not only tolerated but celebrated by those in politics and the media to whom we are all "just folks."

I can hardly wait until I can get it - I have the book on hold, so hopefully within the next few weeks.

I've also just finished the 27 disc (!) audio recording of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. It's wonderful to listen to a great story while walking with Aidan or preparing dinner. I had read Rand's Atlas Shrugged years ago and greatly admired it. The library also has a copy of Atlas on audio recording, so I plan to listen again as the book is over 1000 pages of 8 point type. Anyway, The Fountainhead is fine literature and because it takes some study of the characters and plot to fully understand and appreciate the story, I was thrilled to find that Cliffsnotes has a site online that offers their work for free! I thought I'd have to purchase a Cliffsnotes book for Fountainhead, but I found the Cliffsnotes for Fountainhead here.

Another recent fictional piece I've enjoyed was an Oprah book of the month selection called Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. It's about an intersex (hermaphrodite) person who was raised as a girl in childhood and only at puberty did she discover that she was more of a he and so changed his identity. The book chronicles several generations including the grandparents' immigration from Greece in the early 1900s to present day. This book won the Pulitzer Prize so I was thoroughly intrigued about it and I was not disappointed.

My life cannot be all about business and family, and books have always been my good friends.

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