Year 4, Book 67

67. The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else by Christopher R. Beha

This is another book in the seemingly ever increasing genre of I did some ridiculous thing in a year’s time and now I’m going to write a book about it (see recent entries by A.J. Jacobs on living by Biblical laws and reading the Encyclopedia Britannica and Julie Powell’s book Julie and Julia). In this particular version Beha spends the year reading the Harvard Classics, a selection of books compiled into large volumes by a past Harvard president. The amount of shelf space needed to house the books is approximately five feet, which is where the title of the book comes from. Like other books of this ilk Beha mixes in knowledge he is gaining from reading the books along with anecdotes from his past as well as talking about the experiences in his current life as he reads the book. It was a quick read, but I didn’t find it as compelling as some of the other books of this genre that I’ve read. I give it a 5 out of 10.

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