Been reading "The New Lifetime Reading Plan" lately, which is one of them big lists of famous authors and books that you are supposed to read all of to be literate or something like that, averaging a page of commentary about each one. I don't necessarily plan to run out and read many of them (especially since many of the more enthusiastically recommended ones, predictably, are behemoths like Proust and War and Peace and the full Quixote and six billion Balzac novels) but somehow I am enthralled by style: the mixture of postcard literary criticism and snarkily honest biography, that writing a book about a slew of not particularly related (except in the alleged magnitude of their greatness) authors and books seems to naturally engender.
Bloom's "Genius" is the best book I've read in this vein, but this one isn't half bad. It's certainly a breath of fresh air after "Why Literature is Bad For You", a book I hoped would be provocative, but turned out to just be a spiteful, fallacy-ridden turd; an anonymized bitter academic-gossip-diary; a book hardly concerned with literature at all. I finished it only out of a sense of readerly duty, allowing the author the possibility of, figuratively speaking, some kind of deathbed conversion in the last chapter. No such luck for him (or me) however.