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The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded
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The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Now in print for the first time in almost 40 years, The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published June 2nd 1999 by Collins Reference (first published 1960)
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sckenda
Nov 04, 2013 sckenda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Organized Readers
Clifton Fadiman was an apostle for the Great Books, and he spread the gospel of classic literature to housewives, factory workers, and middle class working drones (like me). “The Lifetime Reading Plan,” first published in 1960, presented a list of books with short, one-page essays that attempted to justify the books inclusion in the reading plan.

This is a lifetime reading plan, and it may take 50 years to read these books. If you accept this challenge, Fadiman says your commitment to this plan...more
Lindsey
Not quite what I was expecting but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Think of all those terrible 101 books you have to read in your life that you've seen. The boring mundane lists of classics no one wants to read or have heard you should read but don't want to tackle. But now take it to the next level with two intellectuals whose writing is just plain captivating to give not only a synopsis of specific author's literature but recommendations of how to read them, think about them, ingest them, or even vie...more
Eric Kibler
I have a "reading challenge" I've been working on for 22 years or so. It's the "Lifetime Reading Plan" compiled by scholar and author Clifton Fadiman. He wrote a book of that title around thirty years ago that's been revised a couple of times. It's kind of the original "Beowulf on the Beach", in that it takes over 100 authors who have contributed great writings over the past 3000 years or so, gives a profile, defines the flavor, and gives a rationale is to why it would behoove you to read it. Th...more
Len Feder
Years ago I read the 3rd edition of this book. This website didn't list that edition. This is the 4th edition, and I recently bought it. But I'm not ready to review it. I want to review the one I'm familiar with.

Clifton Fadiman is Mr. Book of the Month Club and Mr. Encyclopedia Brittanica. I think he has a good pedigree for writing a book like this, a lifetime reading plan.

I read every single novel mentioned in his third edition and I liked most of them. The only novels I remember not enjoying a...more
Sunny
OK book overall. the author talks about his favorite 100 books. starts off with the greeks, then middle ages then into the Pascals, Nietzsches, Humes, James', of the 17-19th centuries then the last few are contemporary ones on various subjects. its a small book and the descriptions he gives of each book are short and easy to read. clifton speaks his mind in all cases and comes across brutally honest. he gives his take on what the book was about and why you should read it. id read about 25 of the...more
Cleo
This book contains chronological summaries of the classic writers from Homer to Chinua Achebe, touching on their lives and some of their works. I bought this book hoping that would act as a guide on my journey reading the classics. What a mistake!

The authors' flip style, their liberal use of ad hominem and their complete lack of effort to understand the works they were reviewing in their context, left me frustrated and angry. Their judgemental assessment of the author's life and works reveal min...more
Brian
One of my goodread friends Michael turned me on to this book about 5 years ago and it is excellent. For a bibliophile it will have you licking your lips because many of these books are at the library or free on line so for little monetary outlay you can read for a lifetime. It is laid out from the birth date of the authors from Homer to Marquez choosing the authors best works (Fadimans opinion)and commenting on them in a few paragraphs. It would take a lifetime to finish all the works listed but...more
Hieronymus Murphy
Not nearly as ponderous as the title suggests, the LTRP is a list of suggestions, and each entry is accompanied by a page to a page-and-a-half of exposition about why that entry is worth a reader's time. In his introduction, Fadiman makes clear he doesn't want readers to feel the LTRP is "required" reading that must be gone through in order. In fact, he encourages skipping around to find something that might be engaging. Yes, it's made up of books that comprise much of the dreaded (in some quart...more
Dayla
I liked this book because it included literature from Japan, China, India, and the Middle East. Sometimes, we (Americans) need to be exposed to worlds, other than our own.
Marcus
Oct 06, 2013 Marcus is currently reading it
Amazon should ship this book free to new customers because it's practically impossible to read without buying some of the books Fadiman and Major recommend.
bookczuk
One of my absolute favorite books...A reading list for life.
Elias Vasilis Kontaxakis
“Socrates called himself a midwife of ideas. A great book is often such a midwife, delivering to full existence what has been coiled like an embryo in the dark, silent depths of the brain.”

I cannot overstate the effect this book has had on my life. It’s one of my bibles, alongside Manvotationals. I’ve read and reread it so many times and yet it never ceases to move me. Move me in heart—it fuels my passion for literature; move me in mind—it greases my mental cogs; and move me in body—it gets me...more
DC
(My copy is that of the Third Edition, which was printed in 1988.)

This book is an amazing guide to some (if not all) of the greatest books in history. I will not say "best" because, as Fadiman mentions in his Preliminary Talk with the Reader, "There are no best books." The guide here mentions authors of repute, mostly of Western origins. It tackles plays, narratives, non-fiction, poetry and some history books of these aforementioned authors. Note that not every great writer, poet or dramatist ma...more
Aimee
I've read a lot of, what should I read books, but this one I found the most useful and engaging. I love his honesty. He makes a point of saying "taboo" things like, everything Shakespeare wrote wasn't good or the fact that you should still try to read William Faulkner even though the author has tried and failed to appreciate him. I just find that refreshing. I know I'm supposed to read Moby Dick and War and Peace. It is nice when someone says straight out that these books are hard. But like any...more
Cheryl
I have no idea of how to review this or how to rate it. It's a rather extensive list and I would never be able to read all of the recommendations so while I tagged many books to add to my own "to be read" list, there were some I have no intention of reading. I'm 46 years old and I read a fair amount, but sometimes I just want to read for fun. There are a few I've read before but still added again because after reading why the piece was in the collection, think I may appreciate the books more as...more
Michael Miller
Reading this book won't make you well read, but that's not its purpose. Like a travel guide to an exotic city, it recommends sites of interest and what to expect when you get there. The point is to entice you to go, or in this case, to read. It worked for me. Although I have read several of these works, I now intend to read (most of) the rest, or die trying. I'm glad it was revised to include great books of the non-Western world.
Lili
Dad once read a statement by Winston Churchill, saying something like "Quote books are good for people who don't read." I kept thinking about that as I read this book--it's a great book for those who are not (and may not be planning to be) well-read. Daunting, in many respects, but I did appreciate the exposure to--and justification for--the selections Fadiman and Major consider to be "the books to read." I had read a fair number, and was acquainted with more, but there were many that were new t...more
Matt
I did some searching for books that could be resources on the question "What books should I read and why?" This is the one that looked best. I added it to a wishlist, but didn't buy it until I read a reference to Clifton Fadiman in the beginning of Kavalier and Clay.

This book was worthwhile and I'm sure I'll consult it in the years to come when I can't find something to read by poaching peoples lists on GoodReads.

It's helpful to get a one page explanation from some guy why I should read, say,...more
James
An updated version of Fadiman's great guide to reading the classics and beyond. Almost four decades after the original, the original author and John S. Major expanded the plan with the addition of literature from throughout World literature. This edition also removed some works and added new authors that had not been included in the original plan. Also, the organization of the works was changed from topical to chronological. I do not believe the resulting changes diminished the value of the book...more
Angel
This is one of those books you can look over and browse as you see fit. Fadiman, now with help from Major, lay out a plan for the educated reader. As they state, this is not meant per se for those who already have a fairly extensive education. It is more for those who need to read more, or feel they have gaps in their reading, or wish to challenge themselves a bit. The book is basically a collection of short essays on the books they list. I was happy to see I have read a good number of them, but...more
James Violand
Jun 29, 2014 James Violand rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bibliophiles
Shelves: own
A good suggested reading guide. Very basic. A good place to begin for collecting a library.
April
Jul 09, 2014 April marked it as to-read
Criticized in The Pleasures of Reading
Pam
I have read through The New Lifetime Reading Plan over the last six weeks. It had so much more in it than an opinion about what books make the best reading. What kept me going was the chronological essays about each author, describing their personality, telling about their family or how they knew another author of their time, and what historical events influenced their writing. I think insight into an author's life makes reading their books all the more interesting.
Tuck
133 1-2 page synopsis of books/authors to read. starts with the old dead white men and ends with mainly old dead white men, and chinua achebe, plus 200 more 20th cent. otherwises(richard wright, rebecca west, etc..) this would be a very good book if you didn't have a clue what to read or wanted to read the "classics". you would be better off talking to a live librarian.
Kathryn
Maybe this reference book is amazing and I just don't know it. I am wanting to up my reading to books with more depth to them and got this one from the library to familiarize myself with books I've not heard of... this was way too over the top on literature and seriousness for me. No I did not read much of it, I could tell this wasn't what I was looking for....
Sarah
My Uncle recommended this book years ago and I've found it to be a great introduction to literature.
Heather
Perfectly suited my purposes by giving a wide-ranging variety of books and authors.

Will probably want to get the book again (loan from library) after I complete some of the reading suggested in the book. I'm sure the biographies of the authors and the comments about the suggested books would mean more to me after I had read some of them.
Roxanne Russell
My dad gave me this book many years ago, and I never intended to read it- I thought I would just use it as a checklist of things to read. But it was really enjoyable. Certainly a mainstream Western canon, but the commentary Fadiman provides gave me enough thoughtful information that I can make some informed decisions about what to choose.
Don Gubler
This is a good book not so much to read as to have around when you want to know what to read. The all time classics are listed and reviewed with author and book information and additional references. I found a number of books I need to read to improve my cultural literacy. And yes, you can spend a lifetime at this. Good.
Kate
Aug 11, 2009 Kate marked it as lost-interest-didn-t-finish
Shelves: bibliophilia
I'm reading this as a refresher course on the history of literature, mainly so that I can beat my sister at Trival Pursuit: Booklovers' Edition. The authors say some preposterous things in the introduction, but the Cliffs Notes-esque synopses of books I have / should have read make for strangely entertaining reading.
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The New Lifetime ...: Hi! 1 7 Oct 16, 2013 03:42PM  
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Clifton P. "Kip" Fadiman was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality.
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