Great Books Reading Project

Most of this blog’s regular readers are already aware that I am an admirer of Mortimer J. Adler and have a love for the great books. For the past several years I have been considering taking up Adler’s suggested 10-year reading plan for the 60 volume Great Books of the Western World set, but have continually made excuses for myself and why I cannot do it. I have finally decided, however, to jump in. This January (2015) I will begin the 10 year reading plan that takes the reader through a huge bulk of the Great Books of the Western World. It does not include every page of the entire 60 volume set, but it does hit all of the highlights and encompasses more than half of the reading available there.

If any of you are interested in joining me, I am considering putting together either forum-style (such as in the comments section of blog posts) or perhaps live-via-video (Google Hangouts or similar) discussions once a month or so to discuss that month’s readings. You can purchase your own copy of the Great Books for a fairly low price at many books websites, such as Amazon. I have also adapted Adler’s reading plan to a month-by-month schedule beginning January 2015 and ending December 2024; you can access that here. [Most months, it seems to average out to about 5-10 pages per day.]

If you would like, you can join for one, two, or all of the books — whatever interests you and whatever level of commitment you are willing to accept. I am looking forward to some great reading and, hopefully, some very good discussions about that reading with the coming of the year!

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3 comments

  1. Sounds like a good idea, and I would consider partaking in a few of the reading/discussions as time allows me to permit. Question; do we need the actual Great Books version of a particular title? I have translations of say, Herodotus, or “The Republic”, but they are not necessarily part of the Great Books set.

  2. Adler’s Great Books set is a wonderful collection to have, but it’s not necessary. It could be interesting to compare divergent translations, actually, but most of the translations used in the Great Books set are the old standards and most of these are not available online. I might post a link to an online version of each text as we cover it for those who cannot purchase the books.

    1. I agree.
      I have only the first two, introductory volumes; The Great Ideas, (which is dated 1967 so parts may be a bit dated, but it has a few worthy articles) and The Great Conversation. I am working my way to getting the whole set one day, but I’m finding them used either online or in used book shops. I should mention that the translation I have of Plato’s “Republic” is the Allan Bloom translation, which I’ve heard is regarded as one of the best.

      Of course, another set that I’ve been wanting to collect and read is Will Durant’s Story of Civilization.

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