READING I'VE LIKED by Clifton-ed. adiman
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The tremendous success of the Woollcott Headers is to some extent a gauge for the market for this Fadiman reader. But, in the final analysis, the market will be a more intellectual, more consciously ""literary"", more modern. Fadiman advises everyone to read above his intellectual level. Here, though there are inclusions for almost every taste, the average is above the intellectual level of the majority of readers. There is variety -- though he disclaims this as a ""major virtue"". There is Catholicity of taste, as the collection embraces biography, anecdote, brief and semi-long fiction, humor, excerpts from novels, from a dictionary, from a judicial decision, reflections on nature, a long letter, a collection of epigrams, and so on. Most valuable as a contribution to one's own enrichment are the commentaries that proceed each selection -- personal annotations, brief biographical notes where they bear on the value of the selection or the editor's reason for inclusion, vivid passages of critical analysis, tinged always with enthusiasm. There is none of that ""smartness"" that occasionally opens Mr. Fadiman to criticism among even his fans. This is a thoughtful, balanced, scholarly piece of work, and the autobiographical introduction measures up well with the best that is in it, setting-as it does- his own measuring stick, not only for this particular book, but for his critical work. This should be a book own- not just to rent. Extensive advertising.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1941
Publisher: Simon & Schuster