Tuesday, August 2, 2011

005--The Whole Five Feet--Christopher Beha

  •                        The Whole Five Feet
  • Christopher Beha

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (May 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802118844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802118844

Synopsis Via Goodreads:

In The Whole Five Feet, Christopher Beha turns to the great books for answers after undergoing a series of personal and family crises and learning that his grandmother had used the Harvard Classics to educate herself during the Great Depression. Inspired by her example, Beha vows to read the entire Five-Foot Shelf, one volume a week, over the course of the next year. As he passes from St. Augustine's Confessions to Don Quixote, from Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast to essays by Cicero, Emerson, and Thoreau, he takes solace in the realization that many of the authors are grappling with the same questions he faces: What is the purpose of life? How do we live a good life? What can the wisdom of the past teach us about our own challenges? Beha's chronicle is a smart, big-hearted, and inspirational mix of memoir and intellectual excursion-and a powerful testament to what great books can teach us about how to live our own lives.

     I came across this book via Lifetime Reading Plan , I read her blog post regarding this book and found myself intrigued enough to want to read it.  I had always made promised  myself at some point I too would read the Harvard Classics Five Foot Bookshelf, to this day I have been unable to fulfill that promise.   I think this desire is what also lead to me wanting to read this book.  Christopher Beha wrote an intriguing memoir that deals with his decision to read the Harvard Classics and the trials and joys he faces in his life.  His book does not serve as a reading guide for the classics but document his journey as he reads through the 52 volumes.  The reader is given insight as to how the novels effect him and relate to his own personal life.  What the reader takes away from this novel  is what all lover of books will take away.. How books influence and affect our daily lives and impact us in a way we may not fully understand.  The changes are subtle and enriching and Beha's readers become part of his transcendental experience with the classics .

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