My uncle Bill was the greatest man I ever knew. Like most men he was horribly flawed and plagued with opinions I found to be horrible and wrong. Being of a certain age (in his sixties when I was a child) he had certain opinions I could never agree with regarding politics and race, but he did teach me some very important lessons. “Never discuss politics, religion or how to raise a child with anyone you want to stay friends with.” and “This is how you drink scotch.”
Among those lessons was “If you are ever forced to choose one book, choose this one.” That is when he let me read his copy of “A Treasury of the Familiar”.
It was the greatest book I have ever picked up, and to this day remains my all time favorite. The internet was still a long way off at that time, but it is almost as if it was created for just that audience of short attention spans and fans of awesomness. In short, it is compendium. The entire book is nothing but a collection of writings. Poem, speeches, short stories. All of them seemingly chosen, and organized at random. It contains some of the most famous short writings of history. Everything from “To be, or not to be” from Hamlet, to my favorite poem (which I discovered in this book, though I am no fan of poetry) The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service.
I found I could open to any random page, and find something that would lead me to read more and more. It was like a wiki-hole in print, before I knew what a wiki-hole was. I cannot express to you the joy this book has brought to me over the years. So, to all my internet friends, please, grab yourself a copy and I promise you will not be dissapointed. For those who wish they had time to read real books, but seem to have no problem getting caught up in random posts online, this is the book for you.
I am going to go order my third copy now, as I have destroyed 2 in my life so far, but cannot live without it.