Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What I Wish I'd Read Earlier - Year Two

This is almost a continuation of yesterday's post.  I'm going to write about what pieces of the list I wish I had read earlier in life.  Note: this isn't necessarily my favorite ones or the ones I would most recommend.  In fact, some of the best stuff, I actually had read earlier so it won't be on this list.  It might be best to think of this as a shorter list I wish I'd given my teenage self.

  • Herodotus - I've read some of 'The History' but not all of it and not as completely as I did this time.  Some great stuff in there.
  • Aristotle - The one I mean here is 'Poetics'.  This is essential reading for writers and dramatists and I didn't know about it at all.
  • Marcus Aurelius - I wish I'd done some work on his 'Meditations' when I was younger.  I wonder what my teenage self would have thought of some bracing Stoic philosophy?
  • Milton - The 'Areopagitica' should be required reading for high schoolers.  
  • Pascal - There are a number of Pensees that would have done me some good at an earlier age.  
  • Swift - And I feel almost foolish for not reading 'Gulliver's Travels' before now.  This will be on the list of books that I try to get my kids to read when they're teenagers.
  • Mill - I feel about Mill's 'On Liberty' the same way I do about 'Arepagitica'.  We need to arm the young against those who would try and wall off speech and thought.
I went back and forth about including the early Greek plays here.  Yes, they should be read, and probably early, but they weren't quite as WOW as the other things on this list.  

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