The new lifetime reading plan

by Clifton Fadiman

Other authorsJohn S. Major (Author)
Hardcover, 1997




New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c1997.


Now in print for the first time in almost 40 years, The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition offers a much broader representation of women authors, such as Charlotte Bront%, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton, as well as non-Western writers such as Confucius, Sun-Tzu, Chinua Achebe, Mishima Yukio and many others. This fourth edition also features a simpler format that arranges the works chronologically in five sections (The Ancient World; 300-1600; 1600-1800; and The 20th Century), making them easier to look up than ever before. It deserves a place in the libraries of all lovers of literature.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member EricKibler
I have a "reading challenge" I've been working on for 22 years or so. It's the "Lifetime Reading Plan" compiled by scholar and author Clifton Fadiman. He wrote a book of that title around thirty years ago that's been revised a couple of times. It's kind of the original "Beowulf on the Beach", in that it takes over 100 authors who have contributed great writings over the past 3000 years or so, gives a profile, defines the flavor, and gives a rationale is to why it would behoove you to read it. This journey has benefited me over and above any formal education that I have received, and I'd advocate anyone else to take this journey.… (more)
LibraryThing member pagemasterZee
Not quite what I was expecting but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Think of all those terrible 101 books you have to read in your life that you've seen. The boring mundane lists of classics no one wants to read or have heard you should read but don't want to tackle. But now take it to the next level with two intellectuals whose writing is just plain captivating to give not only a synopsis of specific author's literature but recommendations of how to read them, think about them, ingest them, or even view them. Each of the authors writes not purely academically but light heartedly with a sense of bookish humor that will have you mesmerized. Each little section talks about an authors life, a little about the era and about which books not to read or are must reads. It starts off chronologically with the story of Gilgamesh and Enkdu all the way to modern literature. I found in greatly enjoyable and informative and have made it a permanent addition to my collection. I got a kick out of learning more about authors I'd already known I'd loved and fell in love with a few more I thought I knew but had all wrong. I love both Clifton Fadiman's writings as well as his daughters Anne Fadiman and would recommend any of their books too - book on book enthusiasts or just plain book enthusiasts… (more)
LibraryThing member Sandydog1
A great book, much improved (from previous editions) by adding selections from the East. I'm looking forward to reading most of the suggestions.
LibraryThing member caffron
This is an engaging list of time-tested works, the "classics" of East and West. Authors from the southern hemisphere (Latin American and African) are sparse but not completely absent. For 133 authors, short blurbs are provided which describe a bit about the author and the primary recommended work. There is also a list of 100 20th century authors with a short paragraph for each, and this list is of course less canonical than the first, although most of the names will be familiar to many. I'll be the first to admit that many British authors are over-hyped by academia (and I find most tedious), but this global list seems more well-rounded than many I've seen. Books that last are in most cases books that actually have something to say, books that are timeless because they touch on those universal aspects of the human condition that do not change so much over the years. Having been sorely disappointed by many praised modern works, I have found myself far more frequently pleased with those works considered classics. I appreciate having a valuable guide, short descriptions I can use to select which works might just be worth my time.… (more)
LibraryThing member AlCracka
Jim (among others) swears by this book and he seems like a pretty sharp guy, so...okay fine, I'll get the thing.
LibraryThing member encephalical
This is for the fourth edition, of which I skimmed through the entries for works I've already read. I found Fadimam to be a bore. Major's reviews were added for some non-western balance and are interesting in that regard. I don't see this as more than a curiosity.
LibraryThing member jburg
I am a dedicated reader of the NLRP for 25 years now. Love it, making progress, continuously consulting it.
LibraryThing member aimless22
Well-written essays about authors and their most accomplished works. At this point, I am focused more on Western literature, so the Eastern authors were superfluous. Indeed, it may be worth a look at an earlier edition prior to the addition of the eastern authors.


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