Literature elevates the mind...good literature, that is!
R.V. Young is a Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of English at North Carolina State University. He wrote this primer for college students as a part of the ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines series. Young believes, and encourages the reader to consider, that literature needs to be part of the diet of every student wanting to learn and explore the meaning of life. Young's premise is that literature, approached both with caution and abandon, literally elevates the mind, and thus, the person. He proceeds to give a brief summary of various authors and books that every student should consider for their own personal library beginning (of course) with Homer and ending with T.S. Eliot. Young ends with an incredible bibliographical appendix of various authors and titles that would be a great place to begin for readers wanting to expand their horizons and read a wide variety of books.
The book encourages the reader to read more, and I can see how a person could be discouraged and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the books listed - obviously the reader needs to be able to digest these suggestions and take small bites into the large apple of good literature.