This is the age of content delusion. There are no dearth of contents to match your passion for the audio visual kind or your obsession for reading. It is good to have so much content at our finger tips. But on the flip side it adds to our confusion. What to read and what to skip.
There are also chances that following the normal human tendency to settle for the ‘most shouting one for attention’ we miss the ones that matter. In such a situation books like ‘Great Books for Great Thoughts’ come as a handy guide and a life saving jacket to float above the ‘most shouting for attention yet mediocre’ kinds of stuff.
I have always admired Tomichan Matheikal’s writings; our occasional disagreements over certain issues notwithstanding. But when it comes to a book like this one I could hardly find anything to disagree with whether over his choice of books or the way he has written about the books.
I agree with the author when he says that these are not book reviews. All the books selected have grown out of or survived that stage of being subjected to review by the contemporaries. The books selected seem to be very close to the author’s heart and in spite of the constraints imposed to associate each chapter or book with an English alphabet, the author has not made any compromises. Remember that Matheikal is no ordinary teacher of English literature. His passion for good reading and encouraging good reading habit among others is evident from his blogs and the books written by him. So each book that features in this collection has been selected very thoughtfully.
When we think of classics it is the novels or other works of fictions that immediately come to mind. Arms and the Man, The Grapes of Wrath, Don Quixote, Wuthering Heights and other classic novels and plays dominate the selection. But there are a number of non fiction works like ‘The Rebel’, which is a philosophical essay by Alburt Camus. There is also my personal favorite: ‘Sapiens -A Brief History of Human Kind’. Of course this is strictly not a classic work. But it is definitely a landmark work of non-fiction which has created ripples all over the world for the way it has presented and interpreted human history so as to better understand ourselves collectively.
It is not easy to fully appreciate various aspects of a classic when you read it for the first time. But if you are reading the book after reading about it in ‘Great Books for Great Thoughts’, it will enhance your understanding of the multiple layers of the book. Reading the chapter on Arm and man will arm you with important perspectives that will enhance your pleasure of reading this classic play by George Bernard Shaw.
The author has has aptly titled the book as ‘Great Books for Great Thoughts’. However the cover of the book is not compatible with the contents. It is like wrapping diamond with ordinary gift paper. Such quality content definitely deserves a better book cover. Hope the author will take care of this in his next revision.
In addition to creating interest for the great works of legendary authors, going through this book is like acquainting oneself with the philosophies and thoughts that have played important roles in our civilization. It is a must read for those who care for quality reading experiences.