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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

Welcome to my own personal exploration of life through reading the great books of the world.

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Knight of the Sorrowful Face Will Put a Smile on Yours

I finally finished listening to the Don Quixote audiobook narrated by George Guidall, and it remains my favorite book of all time. It took almost five months to listen to (I have a very short commute to work), but it was worth the time. Guidall is deservedly known as the king of audiobooks, and his reading was masterful. In a book full of dozens of characters, he managed to give each one a separate personality and voice.

I don't want to say too much about the story itself, since the people at Tilting at Windmills are reading Don Quixote right now. One thing I will say, however, is that the second half of Don Quixote is far superior to the first half. I enjoyed the first half, but most of my fond memories come from the second half. It's funnier, more interesting from a literary point of view, and really develops the character of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

It's important to know that the second half was written some fifteen years after the first half as a reaction to unauthorized sequels that were circulating through Spain at the time, making Don Quixote possibly the first book in recorded history to have fan fiction. Cervantes did not like others messing with Don Quixote, so he really had no choice but to write his own sequel. Thank goodness he did!

Finally, the Edith Grossman translation that was used for Guidall's audio recording is marvelous. It's easy to read or listen to without sounding too modern.

Every reader of literature should get to know Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, so let Edith Grossman and George Guidall introduce you to them. You will come to love the Knight of the Sorrowful Face and his trusty squire, and they will entertain you for hours on end.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:28 AM

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