The Professor's Picks

I've written about The Professor before, how I was relieved when he returned to the library after an absence.  Since the retirement of DL last month, I've been helping with book requests, and I came upon several from him.  As usual, they were for books about the Holocaust.  He has his own library card now.  I was curious to see what kind of presence he had online.  Was he a published author?

What I found right away were his postings on Amazon: a profile, Amazon reviews, and a book list.  Of himself he says:
I am not a "typical American", loathe football, violence, SUVs, big-screen TVs, and Christian religious fanatics, especially creationists. I consider myself a secular humanist, and I believe in the Enlightenment values of reason, human rights and universal equality. I love Paris above all cities, for its culture of enlightened hedonism. I love the sea, strong European coffee, and hotels with great room service.  I love to read challenging fiction and literary criticism, (Eric Auerbach's "Mimesis" is one of my favorite books.)  I also love film especially French, and books about film, as well as modern history and psychology. I used to teach writing, and now write myself.
He reminds me of my French history professor, Paul Halpern, who believed that the best of all worlds would be to have lived in Vienna or Paris at the end of the 19th century, (presumably as a professor).

In 2009 he posted a "literature lover's" list of "The Best:  Books You Will Come Back To":
This is my list of favorite books which are so rich I return to them again and again. They are that "cut above" ordinary literature, either because of exquisite writing or deep ideas or both. Some are well-known, some hard to find but worth it. Take a chance and challenge yourself! You'll be glad you did.
It's a good list, and an original one.  I noticed Grossman's Life and Fate, about which he says:
The epic Russian novel of the 20th century, following the fortunes of one family through revolution, civil war, brutal purges, disillusionment, and the monumental struggle of war with Germany. Lyrical, realistic, clear-sighted but never cynical, Grossman never loses his moral compass or his humanity. An amazing book.
I knew the book, and I decided to read it on the strength of his recommendation.  What an interesting list, the fruit of one man's reading life.  Check it out.

No comments: