Garrison Keillor Hasn’t Read Moby Dick

Garrison Keillor Hasn’t Read Moby Dick December 27, 2011

Garrison Keillor, whom I admire, in spite of his quirks.

Last week, Courtney and I attended a Garrison Keillor book reading, in which he generally rambled about life, read from the book he’s writing now about the Adventures of Guy Noir, and, the ostensible reason for the gathering, read from his new book, A Christmas Blizzard: A Novel.  He was, as usual, self-deprecating about his writing, his looks, and his life in general.

During the Q&A after the readings, someone asked him about his favorite book of all time.  As any seasoned public speaker, he never really answered the question.  He spoke at length about his affinity for John Updike and the two times he met Updike.  Someone else asked about the rumors of Keillor’s retirement.  Garrison responded by saying that he’d flirted with retirement lately because he’d like to read.  To just sit at home and read.  Then he said, in the style of a theatrical aside, that he was embarrassed to admit that, despite being a man of letters, there are several classics that he’s never read.  Among them, he said, is Moby-Dick.  The crowd gasped.

That got me to thinking that, now that my dissertation is in the rear-view mirror, there are several classics that I’d like read in the coming year.  I’ve already got a pile of fiction on my bedside stand, so I’m currently thinking more in the non-fiction category.  I don’t know if this is a New Year’s Resolution so much as a New Year’s Aspiration.

Here are five books I’d like to read in the coming year:

  1. Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy by Michael Polanyi
  2. A Secular Age by Charles Taylor
  3. Phenomenology of Spirit by G.F.W. Hegel
  4. Being and Time by Martin Heidegger
  5. The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion by John Caputo

These are not simple books, and I know I’ll be more likely to read them if others are reading them with me.  So, does any of you want to endeavor to read one of these alongside me? We can discuss it on this blog.

Are there any non-fiction classics that you’ve resolved to read in 2012?

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