10 Comments

  1. I don’t even know if I agreed with half of what he said, but it was interesting to think about it. Some of it was wee bit dry, but I think that was mostly the poetry section, and I’m not really much of a poetry reader. I would love to know what you think when you read it.

  2. I have read this book.It is interesting the way Bloom presents his ideas and opinions;very subjective.Most crtitics still follow the traditional objective approach which I see as an exhausting endavour.I don’t believe in the idea of objective truth.

  3. I am in the process of reading all the books on his reading list as I read Bloom’s book. I agree his list is very limited, but I do think you pointed out, in this review, the main contradiction Bloom has: he doesn’t think you can teach anyone else from a book that taught you, and yet he claims that his favorites books can change our lives.
    I think his list and commentary is interesting insight into his reading development, and I still very much appreciate his reading list (I’m almost done reading the recommended short story authors and about to begin the poetry; I’m reading lots of other books in between so it’s going to take years overall). But I realize that it’s just one book out of many.
    Thanks for your comments, too!

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  8. Edward G Gordon

    I have not been able to finish this book. I found it a tad too dry, not to mention opinionated. I thought that I might be able to find some helpful insights into how to get my own children to read, instead all I found was someone telling me what to read and why I should read it.

    I read for two reason to be entertained and to educate myself. They are not mutually exclusive but it is rare to find a book that is neither which in my opinion this book is.

    Anyway I might just try some of his recommended reading. I just hope that they are a little bit more lively than Bloom.

  9. Wonderful review! Glad to know that you liked some aspects of the book, though you might not have loved it overall. I found your comment – “He spends the rest of the book expounding on his theories on them, and others of the western cannon, mostly white and mostly male.” – quite interesting. Whenever I pick an anthology or a short story collection from the pre-World War II era, I find that all the authors included are male and white. I read a German short story collection recently and it had only white male German writers. I have a French short story collection – same! I am surprised that Harold Bloom seems to follow the same model – it is sad because it looks like he hasn’t changed with the times. If someone asked me to pick the ten greatest books of alltime, I would find it quite difficult, because there are hundreds and thousands of them. Every year I am discovering new books and writers which are as good as any other. Just because literary critics don’t spend time analysing their works or they are not included as part of the canon, doesn’t mean that they are not good. I think from a literary perspective, we are living in a Renaissance, when there are lots of wonderful authors writing lots of wonderful books. To attempt to come up with a prescriptive list is an impossible task. But being a critic and an academic himself, Bloom must be prescribing reading lists all the time and this looks like his attempt to do that for general readers. I have read bits and pieces of Bloom’s essays and I love his style. But he seems to be a traditional writer (or critic) from your description. I will, maybe, browse this book sometime, if I find it in the library. Sorry for boring you. Thanks for the wonderful review.

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