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ROGER W. SMITH

WATERLOO -- One of the most important books available to serious readers in the past century is Dr. Mortimer J. Adler's 1940 masterpiece, "How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading." He and Dr. Charles Van Doren revised and republished the book in 1972, and a Touchstone edition was published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

The title is self-explanatory. The publisher's blurb on the 1972 edition informed readers that it had "become that rare phenomenon -- a living classic. Widely adopted throughout the country at both the high school and college levels over the past three decades, it has also proved to be the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader."

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The 2014 edition describes itself as "the definitive guide to reading comprehension and retention for students of literature, scholars across disciplines -- and anyone who simply loves to read."

A recommended reading list of 137 great authors from Homer to Solzhenitsyn is found in Appendix A. This book should be required (not just recommended) reading for all educators, parents and mature students.

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