Friday, December 4, 2009

My Christmas Reading List...

Before the end of the year I plan to re-read some of my old favourites, all of which I would recommend. These include:

A typical Bennett work, and very well done. If you have not read his works before, this would be a fine example to start with (and his monologues "Talking Heads" are great fun).

'A book for book-lovers' is the only way to put it. I was not familiar with Fadiman's work before this book, but found it delightful. The chapters stand on their own and are good ways to kill small aliquots of time without feeling like you're committing to too much.

Long before speaking and writing correctly became popular (and then suddenly became unfashionable again), there were those of us who thought that it simply behoved one to make the effort to speak well. For such people, this is a good book. For others, this ought to be the book.

If you feel like a victim of the educational wasteland of Generation-Y and wish to start to acquiring the classical education which you so desperately lack, then Harry Mount's foray into making Latin accessible might be for you. Keenly witty and never patronising, this book is another one whose short chapters provide the means to enlightenment as well as escape for brief periods of one's day.

This book had me in stitches. It is a tongue in cheek look at the art of graceful living, and parodies such tomes as Debrett's Etiquette, and Emily Post's forsaken treatise. A good gift for someone who needs cheering up this Christmas. There is also a Pinch of Posh website.

From satire to serious, John Morgan's edition of Debrett's Modern Manners is a real gem. It combines traditional etiquette with a dash of wit, bringing the perceivably archaic into the 21st century. A reference book for every library.

Schott's Miscellanies (above) - of which there are several, and Brewer's (below) are also indispensable to the well-stocked library of the bibliophile. They provide answers to those paining questions on the origins of words and phrases which have come into common parlance by the obscurest of routes. To use them without knowing from whence they came would indeed be a grave solecism, but these books will take care of the problem and entertain you simultaneously.

1 comment:

  1. These are great! I loved The Uncommon Reader...a great find and a gem of a book. I will now look into your other suggestions!


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