In time, the proud brow and penetrating glances seemed to vanish. What I saw clearly was her vivid color and undiminished vigor, and when we met I found her light and pleasing. She it was who taught me poetry: first by introducing sea shanties and nursery rhymes, then Lear and Frost, Keats and Coleridge, and then the Psalms. I never even considered the Psalms as poetry—Adler did not discuss this in his book How to Read a Book. And the wondrous thing was this: she did not just read what was in front of her; no, she chanted and sang from memory, and even when she stopped singing, the enchantment of her song left me spellbound.
And so, here we are, reader of the luminous page. I must come clean. The older sister is the one I love and to her I dedicate this column, in which my friends and I will bring to your attention those worthy titles that give stuff and substance to life—the countless good books that one should read, regardless of what is fashionable, smart, or common.
I introduce you to the Civilized Reader.
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of “The Civilized Reader.” Edited by William and Amy Fahey, The Civilized Reader joyfully reviews classic, good books — books that will enrich the life of your family and the minds of your children.