“The great books are those that tradition, and various institutions and authorities, have regarded as constituting or best expressing the foundations of Western culture…derivatively the term also refers to a curriculum or method of education based around a list of such books.

Mortimer Adler lists three criteria for including a book on the list:

the book has contemporary significance; that is, it has relevance to the problems and issues of our times;

the book is inexhaustible; it can be read again and again with benefit;

the book is relevant to a large number of the great ideas and great issues that have occupied the minds of thinking individuals for the last 25 centuries.” [Wikipedia]

TODAY:  In Defense of a Liberal Education (2015) by Fareed Zakaria is a “great book.”

YESTERDAY:  The Idea of A University (1854) by John Henry Newman is a “great book.”

Here are some other “Great Books”:

Classical/Old Fashioned, but not-outdated sources for reading/reading skills:

Art and Reality— Joyce Cary (1957)

The Dynamics of Literary Response--Norman N. Holland (1968)

Great Books–David Denby (1996)

How to Read a Book–Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren (1940; 1972)

Literature as Exploration–Louise M. Rosenblatt (1937; 1968)

On Moral Fiction–John Gardner (1978)

Perspectives in Contemporary Criticism–Sheldon Norman Grebstein (1968)

Principles of Literary Criticism–Lacelles Abercrombie (1932; 1960)

Understanding Fiction–Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren (1943; 1959)



  1. Lest we forget…

    The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane; The Velveteen Rabbit; The Tale of Desperaux…Classics in their own right and filled with lessons to be understood on so many levels.

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