HomePersonalRants & ObservationsBecause Learning Is Life


Because Learning Is Life — 9 Comments

  1. As a librarian, I’m quite surprised you didn’t include the public library as a place to look for these books. Any public library will have most if not all of these works.

    I don’t have a car and haven’t for several years now, and there isn’t a library within walking distance for me, so the library is out as a source of information. Even if I could there to borrow the books, I’d still have to read the books promptly and get them back in a timely fashion, and with my schedule of writing and Matt’s work schedule, I can’t count on being able to do that that.

  2. As a librarian, I’m quite surprised you didn’t include the public library as a place to look for these books. Any public library will have most if not all of these works.

  3. It appears to have been scanned in and not perfectly corrected, but you can find Dr. MLK, Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail at: http://www.mlkonline.com/jail.html

    The Melian Debates, a/k/a the Melian dialog made a powerful impression on me. We studied it in a freshman seminar among other things in my first year in college.

    At a quick glance, there is very little of the list that will be other than public domain. Besides the speech I’ve just given you the link to, Orwell, perhaps, and possibly Kierkegaard, Hazelitt, Popper or Feynman might still be in copyright.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Holly.

    I had heard of almost every author on the list (though could not, for example, have put Seutonius in context as Ter did, despite having read I, Claudius). But I don’t think I’ve read any of them — excepting the Gettysburg Address, of course — except as an assignment in a literature or history class and not remembered as such. Not even the Feynman, since I’ve not read that particular book of his, though I’ve undoubtedly run across similar sentiments in his other works.

    I had already added The Federalist (and the Anti-Federalist) and The Republic to my reading list as background for the infamous "novel I’ve been working on for the last two decades). Have them with me in the car, in fact. (Hard to read from there, of course).

    I suspect that a lot of them are available for free downloading. You might check http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/title.html and http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/ for free copies of most. I got the Republic and Federalist at Barnes and Noble on markdown tables for under $10 each in the past two weeks, and many of the others are undoubtedly languishing at public libraries.

  5. I don’t know how many of these are public domain, but it would be interesting to compile a website that had as much of it all together as possible.

  6. The Roman historian Suetonius is the source for Robert Graves’ novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God. While prepping for archaeology courses, I read a lot of history written near the time it occurred(like Machiavelli and Suetonius).

    Suetonius is an interesting source, because he focuses on the personalities of history. For writers (and readers!) drawn to character driven fiction, this approach to history explains the why through the who.

    Casanova is a terrific source for what life may have been like in the eighteenth century. His memoirs are so long that a range of tastes, fashions, and popular culture crops up. Since he also wrote speculative fiction and finished his days as a librarian (while writing the memoirs) his epic autobiography gives me a portrait of a well-read man from the past. And because his memoir is soooo long, you can drop in anywhere and pick up an adventure for the length of a few chapters.

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