I don’t explicitly or directly recommend lots of books here, although I mention or quote from many and often make it clear that I think highly of them. But, as I rode my bike in this morning, I started thinking about two pairs of books that have meant a lot to me, personally and intellectually. I thought I would recommend them.
The first pair is:
The Achievement of Samuel Johnson (Walter Jackson Bate) and The Silence of St. Thomas (Josef Pieper). Neither of these books is quite or completely a biography, neither is quite or completely literary criticism (Bate) or philosophy (Pieper). Each is instead an examination of how the work of each man grew into what and who he was, and was grown into by what and who he was.
The second pair is:
Actor and Spectator (Lewis White Beck) and The Myth of Metaphor (Colin Murray Turbayne). I was lucky enough to have been taught by both men, although to a lesser extent and mostly informally (in conversation) by Turbayne. Both books are beautifully written and philosophically significant. And each is a study of the way in which a person can become so immersed in another’s thought that it is no longer clear who is doing the thinking and who is being thought about. With Beck, it is Kant; with Turbayne, it is Berkeley.