Well Educated Mind



Well Educated Mind Perpetual Challenge

Susan Wise Bauer wrote the book "Well Educated Mind" as a guide to the Classical Education you never had.  Part one covers Training Your Own Mind, The Act of Reading, Keeping a Journal, and Final Preparations for beginning to read. She outlines how to read a book from the standpoint of the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages plus how to read, think and formulate your opinion of what the story means to you. She recommends keeping a journal and outlining the story as you read.  Which is actually an excellent idea. There have been too many times a passage has struck me or provided an epiphany.  In the case where I didn't write it down right away, either using marginalia or a notebook, I've discovered that in going back later, it doesn't affect me the same way.  So my advice to you is write it down as soon as the thought crosses your mind or you will lose it forever. 

Part two is all about the books and her suggestions of great books to read from 5 genres: Fiction, Autobiography, History/Politics, Drama and Poetry. The books are listed chronologically and she suggests reading them in order. The genres are broken down into 5 sections with a detail explanation how to read them and a synopsis is included on each title with the best edition to read.

As of 2016

A revised edition of Well Educated Mind has been released and Susan has expanded the sections to include books from the twenty first century, added movie versions of the plays, more poets after the Modernists for Poetry as well as a new Science section. I am currently reading the book and receiving a much needed refresher in active reading.  I heartily recommend purchasing the updated and expanded edition.  

Check out her website for additional recommended editions and links to public domain texts.

Please join me in this perpetual challenge.  I seem to have more success with the Fiction list than any other so far.  The ones marked with a *** are completed.  The goal of the perpetual challenge is to read at least 3 books in any category, each year.  I failed miserably this past year (2015) although I had the books in my stacks.  Going into 2016 with a fresh heart and mind.  


Listed are the suggestions in each category.

Fiction:
  1. Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes ***
  2. The Pilgrim's Progress -John Bunyan
  3. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen ***
  5. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens  ***
  6. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte  ***
  7. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  8. Moby Dick - Herman Melville  ***
  9. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
  10. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  11. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  12. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy  ***
  13. The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy
  14. The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
  15. Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain  ***
  16. The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane
  17. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad  ***
  18. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton  ***
  19. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald  ***
  20. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Wolfe
  21. The Trial - Franz Kafka
  22. Native Son - Richard Wright 
  23. The Stranger - Albert Camus
  24. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
  25. Seize the Day - Saul Bellow 
  26. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez  ***
  27. If on a winter's night a traveler - Italo Calvino ***
  28. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison  ***
  29. White Noise - Don DeLillo  ***
  30. Possession - A.S. Byatt
  31. The Road - Cormac McCarthy


 Autobiography
  1. Augustine - The Confessions
  2. Margery Kempe - The Book of Margery Kempe
  3. Michele De Montaigne - Essays
  4. Teresa Of Avila - The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
  5. Rene Descartes - Meditations
  6. John Bunyan - Grace Abounding in the Chief of Sinners
  7. Mary Rowlandson - The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration
  8. Jean Jacques Rousseau - Confessions
  9. Benjamin Franklin - The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  10. Henry David Thoreau - Walden 
  11. Harriet Jacobs - Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself 
  12. Frederick Douglass - Life and Times of Frederick Douglas 
  13. Booker T. Washington - Up from Slavery 
  14. Friedrich Nietzsche - Ecce Homo
  15. Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf 
  16. Mohandas Gandhi - An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments with Truth
  17. Gertrude Stein - Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas 
  18. Thomas Merton  - Seven Storey Mountain  ***
  19. C.S. Lewis - Surprised by Joy: the Shape of my Early Life
  20. Malcolm X - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  21. May Sarton - Journal of a Solitude 
  22. Aleskandr Solzhenitsyn - The Gulag Archipelago
  23. Charles W. Colson - Born Again
  24. Richard Rodriquez - Hunger of Memory: Education of Richard Rodriquez
  25. Jill Ker Conway - The Road from Coorain
  26. Elie Wiesel - All Rivers Run to the Sea

History/Politics
  1. Herodotus - The Histories
  2. Thucydides - The Peloponnesian War
  3. Plato - The Republic  ***
  4. Plutarch - Lives
  5. Augustine - The City of God
  6. Bede - The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  7. Niccolo Machiavelli - The Prince
  8. Sir Thomas More - Utopia
  9. John Locke - The True End of Civil Government 
  10. David Hume - The History of England, Volume V
  11. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract
  12. Thomas Paine - Common Sense
  13. Edward Gibbon - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  14. Mary Wollstonecraft - A Vindication of the Rights of Woman 
  15. Alexis De Tocqueville - Democracy in America 
  16. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - Communist Manifesto
  17. Jacob Burckhardt - Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
  18. W.E.B. Du Bois - The Souls of Black Folk
  19. Max Weber - The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism
  20. Lytton Strachey - Queen Victoria
  21. George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier 
  22. Perry Miller - The New England Mind
  23. John Kenneth Galbraith - The Great Crash
  24. Cornelius Ryan - The Longest Day
  25. Betty Friedan - The Feminine Mystique
  26. Eugene D. Genovese - Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
  27. Barbara Tuchman - A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
  28. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein - All the President's Men
  29. James McPherson - Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
  30. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich - A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard
  31. Francis Fukuyama - End of History and the last Man

Drama
  1. Aeschylus - Agamemnon
  2. Sophocles - Oedipus the King
  3. Euripides - Medea
  4. Aristophanes - The Birds
  5. Aristotle - Poetics  ***
  6. Everyman (14th Century)
  7. Christopher Marlowe - Doctor Faustus
  8. William Shakespeare - Richard III
  9. William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
  10. William Shakespeare - Hamlet
  11. Moliere - Tartuffe 
  12. William Congreve - The Way of the World
  13. Oliver Goldsmith - She Stoops to Conquer 
  14. Richard Brinsley Sheridan - The School for Scandal 
  15. Henrik Ibsen - A Doll's House 
  16. Oscar Wilde - The Importance of Being Ernest
  17. Anton Chekhov - The Cherry Orchard 
  18. George Bernard Shaw - Saint Joan
  19. T.S. Eliot - Murder in the Cathedral 
  20. Thornton Wilder - Our Town
  21. Eugene O'Neill - Long Day's Journey into Night
  22. Jean Paul Sartre - No Exit 
  23. Tennessee Williams - A Streetcar Named Desire ***
  24. Arthur Miller - Death of a Salesman ***
  25. Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot ***
  26. Robert Bolt - A Man for All Seasons
  27. Tom Stoppard - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
  28. Peter Shaffer - Equus

Poetry 
  1. The Epic of Gilgamesh ***
  2. Homer - The Iliad and the Odyssey
  3. Greek Lyricists 
  4. Horace - The Odes 
  5. Beowolf 
  6. Dante Alighieri - Inferno ***
  7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ***
  8. Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales
  9. William Shakespeare - Sonnets 
  10. John Donne 
  11. King James Bible - Psalms ***
  12. John Milton - Paradise Lost 
  13. William Blake - Songs of Innocence and of Experience 
  14. Williams Wordsworth 
  15. Samuel Taylor Coleridge 
  16. John Keats
  17.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  18. Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  19. Walt Whitman
  20. Emily Dickinson *** 
  21. Christina Rossetti
  22. Gerald Manley Hopkins
  23. William Butler Yeats
  24. Paul Laurence Dunbar
  25. Robert Frost ***
  26. Carl Sandburg
  27. William Carlos Williams
  28. Ezra Pounds
  29. T.S. Eliot
  30. Langston Hughes 
  31. W.H. Auden

Science

    1. Hippocrates - On Airs, Waters and Places
    2. Aristotle - Physics
    3. Lucretius - On the Nature of Things
    4. Nicolaus Copernicus - Commentariolus
    5. Francis Bacon - Novum Organum
    6. Galileo Galilie - Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems
    7. Robert Hooke - Micrographia
    8. Isaac Newton - excerpts from Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica 
    9. Georges Cuvier - Preliminary Discourse
    10. Charles Lyell - Principles of Geology 
    11. Charles Darwin - On the Origin of Species
    12. Gregor Mendel - Experiments in Plant Hybridization
    13. Alfred Wegener - The Origin of Continents and Oceans
    14. Albert Einstein - The General Theory of Relativity
    15. Max Planck - The Origin and Development of the Quantum Theory
    16. Julian Huxley - Evolution: The Modern Synthesis
    17. Erwin Schrodinger - What is Life?
    18. Rachel Carson - Silent Spring
    19. Desmond Morris- The Naked Ape 
    20. James D. Watson - The Double Helix 
    21. Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene
    22. Steven Weinberg - The First Three Minutes:
    23. A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe 
    24. E. O. Wilson- On Human Nature
    25. James Lovelock -  Gaia 
    26. Stephen Jay Gould - The Mismeasure of Man
    27. James Gleick - Chaos: Making a New Science
    28. Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time
    29. Walter Alvarez  - T. Rex and the Crater of Doom