Summer Reading List

I know it’s a little late, but I’ve finally compiled my summer reading list.

There are a lot of heavy books on the list this season (…literally…)  So in an effort to calm my nerves, I’ve done some quick figuring.

There are a total of 4,952 pages this summer.  I took the largest book(Rushdoony’s Institutes) and figured the average words per page at 430.  So, 4,952 x 430 = 2,129,360 words.  I read comfortably (thanks to the EyeQ program) at around 550 words per minute, but sometimes if the material is hard or I have trouble focusing, I may drop to as low as 400 wpm.  So, 2,129,360 words read at 400 wpm is 5,323.4 minutes worth of reading, or…88.7 hours, or…roughly 4 straight days of reading.

And, that’s not so bad…

So here’s the list.  I’ll try reading them in the following order, although that may change:

Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis – by Greg Bahnsen

You really can’t be an accomplished Presuppositional Christian apologist without reading this book.  I’ve put it off long enough.  I am almost done with it, and so I didn’t count it in the above calculations.

God and Other Minds – Alvin Plantinga

I’m familiar with Plantinga from reading some of his articles, snippets of books, and hearing his lectures, but I’ve never actually sat down and read an entire book of his.  I am interested in this one particularly for his discussion of the cosmological argument.  I hope to read it while Dr. Bahnsen’s discussion of Van Til is still fresh in my noggin.

Individuals – P.F. Strawson

A contemporary philosopher who deals in metaphysics and transcendental arguments, Strawson’s name and works are thrown around in discussions about Presuppositional arguments.  I read about him in Michael Butler’s famous article on the Transcendental Argument for God.  If I can make it through Plantinga, Strawson shouldn’t be much worse.

The Institutes of Biblical Law – R.J. Rushdoony

I’ve read a lot of books on Theonomy, and listened to hours upon hours of Rushdoony’s lectures, but I’ve never sat down and read this…probably his most important…book!  How dare I drive around with a sticker that says:  “read Rushdoony” if I haven’t read his best (and largest) book?  This promises to help focus my thoughts on the Bible as I read other political books this summer.

The Great Depression – Murry Rothbard

Honestly, economics isn’t my favorite, and so I’ve been avoiding this book.  No more!  This summer, I’m tackling it with a passion.  In the future, when some punk tells me that WWII (along with Roosevelt’s brilliant mind), brought us out of the “Great Depression”…I’ll be ready to challenge him.

The Conservative Mind: from Burke to Eliot – Russel Kirk

This is a big book, but promises to be a quick read.  I love overviews and commentaries on history because you get the big picture.  Kirk is a conservative, though his worldview isn’t as consistent as I would like.  Nevertheless, I hope to get a feel for what has happened within the American conservative movement.

Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism – George H. Nash

Nash is another conservative commentator who may not be as consistent (or Christian) as I would like, but along the same lines as Kirk, this promises to be an overarching look at the conservative movement as well as help provide insight into the thinking of modern intellectuals.  I don’t think American conservatism has a future without Christ…I bet Nash disagrees.  We’ll see.

Albion’s Seed – D.H. Fischer

Probably the thickest book of all this summer, Albion’s seed is intimidating, yet fascinating at the same time.  The subject matter looks very interesting but the length has been a turn off for quite awhile.  Well…no more!  Fischer provides an indepth view of how British and European culture evolved once arriving in America.  I hope to learn much about my community and family and see where many of our rituals and traditions came from.

The remaining books are all about the French Revolution or the ideology surrounding it.  I hope to trace the development and dark history of egalitarianism as it grew and manifested during those years, and how it is interacting with society today.  This study will be a very powerful intellectual weapon in the war against egalitarian liberalism.

Reflections on the Revolution in France – Edmund Burke

The Ancien Regime and the Revolution – Alexis De Tocqueville

Robespierre:  The Fool as Revolutionary – Otto Scott

Rousseau and Romanticism – Irving Babbitt

The Social Contract – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

All of these books are on my shelf and waiting to be read.  I can’t wait to dive into them.  I will, of course, continue to work on improving my reading speed by using the EyeQ speed reading program, and I’ll likely throw some fictions into the mix to break up the time.  I am going to read The Tale of Despereaux at some point, and write up a review on it, probably this weekend after I finish Bahnsen’s book on Van Til.

I have no idea what sort of person I’ll be after reading all this…but, I hope it’s a better one!

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9 Responses to Summer Reading List

  1. Jane S says:

    550 words per minute is OK but it is not true speed reading. Real speed reading is a minimum of 600 words per minute sustained and 1000 is considered the minimum by most systems. Eyeq is not the best either, you should try a more developed(and less market hyped system) like Speed Reader-X. I have compared both and Speed Reader-X is far superior to eyeq with more tools and much more advanced training including video.

    I too have a long list of books to read and now I can read them much faster. What would have taken me a year to read, I can often read in a month now thanks to my speed reading ability. One thing I should also say is that it takes practice to reach 1000 words a minute. There is no magic technique that turns you into a speed reader overnight and I was frustrated at first but when I learned to relax and focus as I was taught, I really got it and love speed reading now.

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Yes, I’m definitely not a speed reader. The fastest EyeQ has ever clocked me has been 650 wpm. I just can’t comfortably read at those sorts of speeds.

    I have learned to stop sub-vocalizing and I can see about 2/3rds of a line of text.

    The great speed readers have expanded their field of focus to include, not only the entire sentence, but the sentence above and below as well.

    I can’t imagine that…but, I hope to achieve it one day.

    It’s a fascinating concept! As for Speed Reader-X vs. EyeQ…well, I’ve already spent the money on EyeQ…I just have to practice more.

    I would love to comfortably read at 1000 wpm one day.

  3. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Oh, and another drawback that I’ve experienced…

    In the height of my reading experience, I was once able to read a 230 page book in about two and a half hours. However, afterwords, I was very tired…mentally drained. That was two hours of intense focus. I wouldn’t have been able to turn around and read another book.

    I’m sure once I learn to relax more, and the speed reading becomes easier, it may not always require that level of focus…at least that’s what I’m hoping.

    I’d love to sit down and read Albion’s Seed in a day…(it’s over 900 pages long!)

  4. bigbottomguy says:

    I think you are wasting your time with Eyeq. I bought it on ebay and thought it was a joke, especially for the $200 price they charge new. I thought I was lucky to get it on ebay for $50 but I got ripped. It looks like it was writtin 15 years ago for Windows 95. When it had me watching a tennis ball bounce is when I quit and started looking for another newer program. Speed Reader-X is also the one I got(as mentioned by another poster in this thread) and I agree, it is the best speed reading trainer and it is modern. I wish they had a Mac version but I keep a Windows box for things like this.

  5. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    I’ve hit a wall with my reading speed. Though, I’ve attributed this to my own lack of discipline in this area, and not to any fault with the program.

    Perhaps trying out the Speed Reader-x program will help me break through the wall?

    Honestly though, I really feel that it’s just me that’s the problem.

    For anyone reading this discussion though…Bigbottomguy IS right…the EyeQ software looks old, and perhaps is inferior to newer programs. If I didn’t already have EyeQ, I might purchase Speed Reader-X as my primary software.

  6. ehudwould says:

    Just don’t judge your speed-reading ability based on your acuity with GOD AND OTHER MINDS. When I read it my speed reading came to a grinding halt.

    Plantinga’s analogical argument is a powerful sub-specie of TAG but the writing style of Logicians requires real commitment from the Reader.

  7. NotAProfYet says:

    I found this site while researching the French Revolution and in particularly Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. If you want a good addition to your summer reading list, I have a controversial suggestion that is actually related, Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Before you tense up and throw out a bunch of impulse driven opinions, ask yourself if you have actually read it. When I was in high school I was one of those kids who wanted to do the things other kids did not so I read Voltaire and tried to read Mein Kampf. I gave up because it was too hard(more on that in a minute). For a long time I too said “why bother” thinking it was some of that KKK supremacist crap but it is nothing like that. Hitler talks about France a lot, and I mean A LOT. He considered France to be Germany’s arch-enemy and apparently he had good reason and many Germans agreed with him. It was a fascinating book about politics mostly and the creation of the NSDAP party but I found it quite fascinating. The reason I tried to read it again is because I found out the old edition I tried to read, which I thought was over my head, was actually the Manheim edition and it is poorly translated and hard to read. So I was not dumb afterall! I bought the new Ford translation of Mein Kampf and it was very easy to read. I was vindicated, at least I know that now, but I sure felt dumb in high school. Anyway, I am throwing it in because it is very historically significant and has some interesting takes on events of the time and on where the world is going. The introduction by the translator is also very revealing and explains a lot about the book.

  8. shotgunwildatheart says:

    So…Hitler thought FRANCE was Germany’s arch-enemy?

    Weird…I would have thought Russia…?

  9. Shotgun says:

    Hey Mr. Ehud!

    Thanks for the heads up…I ended up taking a side-track and reading Michael Hoffman’s book on Secret Societies instead of diving into Plantinga…so, I guess this week will be devoted to “God and Other Minds.”

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