“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Though it might all sound depressing, I found The Diving Bell to be inspiring. Many topics are explored, though two themes have struck me with special force.

The Living Lincoln:

And while I do not pooh-pooh such things, they do not prompt me to damn the memory of Lincoln, a la “cancel culture”; especially when I take into account his struggle against a form of racism that was a thousand times more oppressive and evil.

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The gist of the ‘rime’ is the old man’s recollection of the guilty and fateful part he played in a doomed sea voyage.

How to Read a Novel by Caroline Gordon

The more ambitious student of How to Read a Novel could use it as a guide and primer to these many authors and their works, and attain thereby a truly profound understanding of literature.

The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War

Again, this is a painful read; and also lengthy. But for anyone who wants to know the whole story of the Holocaust—insofar as that is obtainable to mere readers of history—Martin Gilbert’s work is invaluable.

“One Froggy Evening”—and Gogol

Recently I watched—for the umpteenth time—the great 1955 Chuck Jones cartoon, “One Froggy Evening”. Like “One Froggy Evening”, Gogol’s “The Diary of a Madman” is as hilarious as it is dismal.

“The Guide for the Perplexed” by Moses Maimonides

His most famous and influential work, The Guide for the Perplexed, was written for people who felt baffled or discouraged by the contradictions between the science of that time and the religious beliefs of Judaism.

D.H. Lawrence: the Good and the Bad

Author D.H. Lawrence (1885—1930) is best known for his worst novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But he also wrote some genuinely fine works of fiction, including the short story, “Tickets, Please”.

“Lost in the Cosmos” by Walker Percy

This is the sort of book that a person could hold onto indefinitely, delve into repeatedly, and emerge with an arsenal of life- and sanity-saving insights.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Three fateful choices were made for the modern world during the 1800s; and those choices can be represented by three exceptionally brilliant writers: Marx, Nietzsche, and Dostoyevsky. 

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