as interpreted by Paul V. Hartman

I am an avid reader, generally consuming one or two books per week, mostly non-fiction, but where fiction, the classics. My prefered reading typically falls into these categories:

1.) World History (any time period, but favoring Ancient)
2.) Education and the Use of Language, Origins of Writing, and the like
3.) Science, Medicine, Paleoanthropology
4.) Cultural/Political Issues

The book list is therefore divided into two sections:

- A List of exceptional books of contemporary vintage, almost entirely non-fiction;

- A List of what I call the Great Books Distilled, whereby I have taken the usual list of Great Books, most titles being fiction, and reduced it to those titles which, in my opinion, retain most relevance for Americans as we glide through the early decade of the 21st Century.

A third choice below is a short essay on how and why the Great Books allow Americans to continue the "Great Conversation" which has been the wonderful legacy of the Western Cultural tradition.

My book club, which meets on Tuesday mornings at a bagel shop, consists of retired physicians and university faculty, and we have spent the last couple of years reading the classic fictional works (most of which are 800 pages or so) and discussing same, at the rate of 100 pages per week.

Best Reading from books of recent decades.

The Great Books Distilled.

A Short Essay on The Great Conversation.

Long List of Books-On-Line