The Great Conversation

So, there's this guy on the internet reading the Great Books. Specifically, he's reading the Encyclopedia Britannica's Great Books of the Western World. Reading 100 pages a week, he thinks it'll take him about 7 years, and half way through he's well and truly on the way. I know what you're thinking: "Mr. Owl, crazy people do crazy things on the internet all the time. You don't need to get sucked into the crazy". But it's too late. I love this concept of the Great Conversation, of ideas passed down, assimilated and surpassed by through the generations, and despite the fact that it's a fundamentally silly idea, I just want to be part of it. I want to read the classics, and I don't just mean Dickens and Austen. I want to read Sophocles, I want to read Cicero, I want to read philosophy and science and poetry and plays and I want to read them all, but I have to stop somewhere, and this seems like a half-decent way to do it. So I'm going to read along, three and a half years behind.

Dr J's got this nice system where in the 100 or so pages of homework set each week there's excerpts from five or six different works. This should help to combat boredom and give us a little more variety. I find it hard to read books like this, too, preferring to consume a book whole in a single or a few sessions, so maybe I'll learn to read books this way, and hopefully it will teach me a little self-control and help me to actually stop and think about what I'm reading, and maybe even leave me a little time to share my thoughts with you guys here on the Leaflocker. I have a system by which I take on some of Dr. J's weekly suggestions and throw some of them in the bin and replace them with more enjoyable options in order to make the project bearable.

I'd love you to join in the reading any time, just pick up one or more of the pieces we're reading each week and let's enter into a little conversation of our own, right here. Sometimes the 'weeks' last months or even years at a time, and I doubt I'll ever actually finish this seven year project, so you'll have plenty of time to read reflect and respond to texts if you'd like to get involved.

The full list as it currently stands can be found here, along with some tables that count things (counting pages is a haphazard sort of thing to attempt to do but I've committed now). I reserve the right to chop and change the list as I go, but so far in the project this mostly involves adding new things to the list, rather than taking away from it. I'm planning on reading everything in white, am not planning on reading anything in red, am currently reading anything in yellow, have completed anything in green, and heartily recommend anything in blue as a "must-read".

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