People are always asking me what my favorite books are. I’ve held off listing them because it seems self-indulgent. But, with summer almost here, I thought I might spend a couple columns recommending eight books that have been pivotal in my life.The column's are fine but I found the comments as interesting if not more so. Partly because, with a few exceptions, it was a sharing discussion. Yes, there are a handful of haranguers berating him for not having encountered more multicultural or gender writers who were pivotal in his life. Also a handful who managed to slip in some sharp elbowed comments to the effect that they were impressed that a right winger like Brooks could read. I can't help but laugh at NYT readers of such exquisite sensibilities that they imagine Brooks to be anything other than a solid centrist.
I like Brooks' closing paragraph.
I suppose at the end of these bookish columns, I should tell you what I think books can’t do. They can’t carve your convictions about the world. Only life can do that — only relationships, struggle, love, play and work. Books can give you vocabularies and frameworks to help you understand and decide, but life provides exactly the education you need.There is a fine balance between loving books and living life.