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Joy of Reading

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  85 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"This book is as contagious as it was intended to be."
Mortimer J. Adler

Like a professor whose enthusiasm inspires his students, Charles Van Doren explains what's wonderful in the classic and contemporary books you've missed, and awakens your desire to reopen the works you've loved. This engaging love letter to reading explores the work of the authors who transformed the w
Hardcover, 676 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Sourcebooks, Inc (first published 1985)
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Feb 28, 2008 Eric rated it it was amazing
A book that changed my life--by changing my reading. Up until about 14 I read exclusively military history--biographies of great commanders, accounts of famous battles, technical histories of The Tank and The Bomber. The only novelist I recall reading before high school was James Fenimore Cooper. 'The Joy of Reading' consists of short, 3-4 page essays on the favorites of Van Doren's polymathic reading. The entries on 'The Scarlett Letter' and 'Crime and Punishment' convinced me to cease poring o ...more
Kevin Beary
Feb 14, 2009 Kevin Beary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Charles Van Doren -- read how to read a book and history of knowledge and owning the Great books of the western world as well as his work with adler on the great treasury of western thought has been part and parcel to my quest of self-education.

This book is heavy on the great works - also in the GBWW - and some of the short stories are in Gateway to great books. I expect it to take most of my life but I will eventually read all these works.

I do find myself to enjoy reading about readi
Israel Montoya Baquero
Es difícil estar de acuerdo con TODO lo que se incluye en un libro de estas características, por supuesto, aunque algunas de las ausencias de esta "Breve historia del leer" son más que significativas (así como muchos de los escritores incluidos en la misma): ningún autor oriental; pocos italianos (aparte de los clasicos latinos); y Proust...quizá la ausencia que más me ha dolido de todas.
Por lo demás: interesante, sencillo (a veces demasiado) y, en ocasiones, divertido libro que nos descubrirá,
Feb 12, 2016 Duy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mình mua cuốn sách đầu năm Bính Thân 2016, và đây là một cuốn rất đáng mua.
Không có người thích đọc sách nào mà lại có thể bỏ qua quyển này được. Đây là một công trình công phu tuyển chọn những tác phẩm và tác giả hay nhất từ thời Homer cho tới thời hiện đại. Tác giả thực sự là một người hướng dẫn giúp người đọc đi vào thế giới lịch sử của khoa học và văn chương.
Hơi đáng tiếc là sách không đề cập tới văn học phương Đông.

Một lưu ý khi đọc cuốn sách này là ý nghĩa của các từ "bi kịch" và "hài k
Oct 15, 2015 Elderberrywine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
All right, I need to confess. I am an absolute pushover for a book like this. *toes rug in embarrassment* As a matter of fact, this is currently wending its way from Powell's because I can never ever let a book that informs me as to What I Must Read slide by.

I first encountered this sort of thing in my high school library in the form of the (Time Life series?) Great Books of the World. I was an over-ambitious 14 year old, and decided oh yeah. My sophomore English teacher asked us to write a comp
Jan 21, 2009 James rated it it was amazing
There are many books about the enjoyment of reading. Each of them share the joy gained from reading certain books the author has found to be uplifting or enlightening or simply entertaining. Emerson once said, "Tis the good reader that makes the good book;" as he shared his confidence in the reader to find a message in the book intended particularly for that singular reader. Whether the authors of books about reading find messages or merely memories, the words they write about their enjoyment an ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Charity rated it it was amazing
I must own this book in my library. It starts with the beginning of written history and goes through today detailing authors, thoughts, and suggested reading. It is put into chronological order, broken into time periods, and then each author/work is given attention to in smaller sections. My apetite was whetted to know more about what has been written, thought, and created in the past. My reading list has grown exponentially and I am so excited to get going! The author includes a 10 year plan fo ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Kazen rated it liked it
A solid introduction to the classics. Some of the descriptions made me eager to read this or that book right now, Van Doren's enthusiasm is so contagious. On the other hand, it's obvious what books and authors he included out of duty instead of love, as the text becomes conspicuously terse. A good book to split up with other reading, use as a reference, or find a foothold in the wall that is The Classics.
Feb 19, 2015 Lostaccount rated it really liked it
I love books and so I love books about books. This is one of the better books about books. Haha. Although some of the sections were a bit too heavy on the biography of the writers instead of their books. Overall though it was inspiring. I'd read a lot of the books Doren writes about before reading the Joy Of Reading but I still found it fascinating and it made me want to read them again. Thanks to Doren, I have a new list of books I want to read.
David Ward
Feb 04, 2010 David Ward rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, art, essays
The Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World’s Best Authors and Their Works by Charles Van Doren (Sourcebooks Inc. 2008) (011.7). The author advocates for his list of greatest authors and their best tales. These are divided into chronological sections. I don't agree with him on very many of these selections. My rating: 7/10, finished 2008.
William Schram
Feb 07, 2014 William Schram rated it it was amazing
Contains great selections and critiques of books you should give a chance at reading. Everything from Homer to J.K. Rowling is covered in the edition that I read. Charles Van Doren gives a small essay or snippet of text to explain why he chose that particular work. Spoilers do not about in this book though, since the point is to read them for yourself.
Jan 26, 2010 Seansurfgood rated it it was amazing
This book is truly a treasue! I am so pleased to have come across it.. I owe a lot to Mr. Van Doren. This book reaffirmed in me the simple pleasure of reading, which unfortunately 20 years of standard education had dulled.
A good introduction to the history of Western literature...
James M. Madsen, M.D.
This looks like a good personal, albeit well-informed, list of works to read!
Skimmed most of it. Very fun to see the list of most important books to read over history of literature. Am trying to go through this list over the next ten years!
Laura Verret
Although I disagreed with some of the perspectives Van Doren offered in this study of classic works, the main body of the book was fascinating.
Aug 12, 2012 Tfalcone rated it really liked it
Not only do I always get good ideas about what to read next, BUt I also get a huge case of guilt for not having read some of the world's greatest books. At least I know what they are about...:)
William rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2012
Ryana rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2013
Ccmoore rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2015
Dinh Hang
Dinh Hang rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2016
Katrina rated it really liked it
May 05, 2015
Wayne rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2016
Linh Dao
Linh Dao rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2015
Tania rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2014
Sep 18, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
The author lists four ways to use this book. I have a fifth. I leaf through it and renew memories of books I've read, gain insight and encouragement as I start or restart a book I've been planning to read, and invariably rediscover a few that I'd forgotten. I've just spent two days whetting my appetite and am now ready to tackle my next adventure.
Kugev rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2011
Dee rated it did not like it
Dec 30, 2012
DAVID HENSLEY rated it really liked it
May 16, 2015
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Charles Lincoln Van Doren is an American intellectual, writer, and editor who was involved in a television quiz show scandal in the 1950s. In 1959 he confessed before the United States Congress that he had been given the correct answers by the producers of the show Twenty One.
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“He recognized that, first, the rich are always desirous of governing for their own benefit, and second that the people can always turn against them and become a mob, taking things into its own hands. As always, the mean between extremes is to be sought.” 1 likes
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