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Letter: Why not try a good book?

The age we live in is unprecedented in history for widespread literacy and education. It is disappointing, then, to see that such an advance has been accompanied by a widespread decline in good taste.

The classics are being expunged from our libraries, and cheap paperbacks have become the food of choice for those who do read. It is sad, but how can we expect libraries to keep the classics they have if no one ever checks them out?

These classics are a wealth of knowledge, and they are our heritage. Books such as Anna Karenina, A Tale of Two Cities, Lord Jim and Jane Eyre deserve to be read by everyone. And these are only in the genre of fiction; what about the classics of philosophy?

Who in this age of literacy has read the Dialogues of Plato, or Aristotle, or the works of the Enlightenment such as Locke, Rousseau, Kant or Descartes? Perhaps these sound like boring old books, but they are beautiful, insightful and thought-provoking. And they belong to you. They are part of the world you live in today, would it not be good to be familiar with them?

Throw away that Times best-seller and open yourself to the wealth of knowledge which lies at your fingertips.

In my retirement and unable to find new books I enjoy, I went back to books of my youth. I recently reread almost all Dickens and discovered Vanity Fair which did not seem dated at all. Scarlett O'Hara had nothing on Becky Sharpe. I read A.J. Cronin. Edith Wharton, wow, Even Washington Square was great. I can only afford to buy these books in thrift stores, but you are right noone else seems interested in buying them. What a shame.

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