The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on March 9, 2012


Food for the soul.  That is the inscription over the door to the Library at Thebes. How apt. I believe our brains demands we read and if one cheats his brain of the food it requires he will believe falsehoods and succumb to ignorance.

I am awaiting delivery of a copy of Homer’s Ulysses. That book, along with many others, has been on my MUST READ list for many years. Inasmuch as my fifteen year old grandson has already read it, I can no longer put it off. I often bemoan the fact that I was not required to read great classic literature such as that when I was in school. I probably don’t have time enough left to me to read everything on my list but I can at least make a start – a very late start.

What’s on my list?  My knowledge of history leaves much to be desired so I’d fill in some gaps with Sandberg on Lincoln, Churchill, and Will Durant’s Story of Civilization.  I’d read biographies of Mary Queen of Scots, Freud, Bach and Michelangelo.

I’ve had an interest in mythology since I was in grade school so I’d dip into more of that from a variety of cultures. I’d read Leaves of Grass, more of Q’s lectures and Donne’s sermons.

I once made a valiant effort to read War and Peace and never succeeded in finishing it so I’d start that once more and read a few more things from the great Russian writers: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot and Anna Karenina to start.

Not long ago somebody introduced me to Plato and Socrates and I became interested in ancient Greek history. I’ve come to realize how profound an influence that culture had on the rest of the world in any number of fields: politics, science, medicine, philosophy mathematics – you name it – the Greeks opened the door. Euclid, known as the father of geometry, wrote a book called The Elements, a text still used today in some math classes. I’d like to know more about Aristotle’s influence on St. Thomas Aquinas thereby influencing the Catholic Church. Thus, I’d have to update my list to include Aristotle and Plato on the polis as well as the comedies of Aristophanes.

Last I’d reread The Psalms and as much of Shakespeare as I possibly could. I’d leave aside the historical plays but include the Sonnets and several of his comedies.

Now I’m in trouble. I have a tendency to follow threads.  Reading anything worthwhile usually acts as a poker in my back.  Something the author wrote will spark my interest or curiosity and I must dig deeper.  Take The Story of Civilization for example.  Leaving aside dozens of historical threads in that book, I’m curious about the relationship between Will and Ariel Durant – surely a love story far better than most romance fiction being written today.

If I’m lucky and determined I may get to at least a few of the books mentioned and the rest will await readers with more time than I have.  Like Great Expectations, The Wind in the Willows, and Alice in Wonderland they will fall into a category called Fantasia.

What’s on your must read list?

Julie Rose



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