The 50 Book Challenge

January 18, 2005 | 59 comments
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Will Baude discusses something called the 50 book challenge, with the idea being to read 50 books this year and blog about them. Not a bad idea.

I think I’m tentatively going to try it. It’s time to fill in some longstanding gaps in my reading, and this kind of structure may help me remember to do so. I may end up well short of fifty, but then again, maybe not. I’m going to put up some initial plans here, in part to shame myself into keeping up. And I’m going to start easy — by focusing mostly on books that I already have, on the shelf at home, but which I haven’t yet read. (Yes, my book buying capacity seems to greatly outstrip my free time for book reading).

Here are a few that I’m starting with:

Religion
By the Hand of Mormon. It’s been sitting on the shelf for some time, it’s about time that I actually read it.
Mormonism and the Magic World View. Also sitting on the shelf; also as yet unread.
Prelude to the Restoration. I already started this one, and it’s good so far — a Sperry Symposium collection.
Fire in the Bones. About Tyndale. Came recommended by a ward member.
Bushman’s new one, if/when it comes out.
Julie Smith, Search Ponder and Pray. (What’s the use of co-bloggers if not to read their stuff).
Jack Miles’ God, which comes highly recommended by a friend, and possibly Christ if I like the first one.
Mere Christianity. (I think I have a copy around somewhere).
Something on at least one of the people that Taylor Petrey blogged about.

Law and History
Hart’s Concept of the Law. (In the mail).
Hart and Honore on Causation. (On the shelf)
Gordon Wood’s Creation of the American Republic. (On the shelf).
Rakove’s Original Meanings. (On the shelf). (Are we sensing a pattern here?)
Caro’s LBJ. (Yes, I know, everyone except me read this two years ago. I’m a little behind the curve).
Bernstein (and Oman), You Can’t Say That. (On the shelf).
Sunstein, One Case at a Time. (Shelf). (Does it count if I already read the law review article?).
Sunstein, Why Democracies Need Dissent. (Shelf).
Amar, Bill of Rights.

Literature / Philosophy
The Brothers Karamazov. (On the shelf).
Unamuno’s Niebla. (In the mail).
Love in the Time of Cholera. (On the shelf).
Something Shakespeare that I haven’t yet read (Riverside on the shelf). I’m thinking perhaps Troilus and Cressida.
Something Locke (most like Two Treatises, shelf) (I’ve read bits and pieces, but I’m not counting that).
Something Kant (I’ve got one or two of the Critiques on the shelf, I think, though I haven’t seen any Kant for a while; it may be lost).
Something Mill (Utilitarianism?).
Something Neitzsche (probably Thus Spoke Zarathustra).
Something Nabakov. (Ada?)
Something feminist-y and not too strident. (Quite a bit on the shelf).
Some pretty poetry, perhaps some Whitman or Neruda or Dickinson.

Other
Moneyball. (Yes, I know I’m late on this one too).

Hmm, that’s 30(ish) targeted so far. That’s probably a good enough plan for now. We’ll see if I manage to get through that many before the year’s end, and who knows, perhaps I’ll even make it to fifty. Meanwhile, I’ll post periodically about books, in particular the Mormon-themed ones.

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59 Responses to The 50 Book Challenge

  1. Nate Oman on January 18, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    Way too much con law on the law list. I would drop Sunstein and Amar. Wait twenty years and see if anyone still cares what they said. Read Jules Coleman, _Markets, Morals, and the Law_ and Harold Berman _Law and Revolution_ vol 1 and 2 instead (Berman’s work is a a truely monumental discussion of the interaction of law and religion in western history, along the way you will learn tons and tons about the historical basis of both the common and the civil law).

  2. Kristine on January 18, 2005 at 6:14 pm

    I don’t think you can just “read” one of the Kant critiques!

  3. Kaimi on January 18, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    Kris,

    Sure you can. I’ve got a daily subway ride in and a car ride out (45 minutes in the morning, 20-30 in the evening). Plus, if I have any questions, I’ve got philosopher types like Jim and Russell and you to bug about them. (“Hey Jim, what’s a deont?”).

  4. Kaimi on January 18, 2005 at 6:19 pm

    Nate,

    Probably right, but I bought the books, I might as well put them to some use.

    Also, I forgot to add Horwitz, Transformation of American Law, to the list.

  5. Greg on January 18, 2005 at 6:21 pm

    (With apologies to Paul Newman): “My boy says he can read fifty books, he can read fifty books.”

  6. Steve Evans on January 18, 2005 at 6:26 pm

    Too much in the religion list, too. Mere Christianity will take you a day or two. Get more literature in your life! You’d be surprised how amazing it is.

    You take a car home every night?! Sheesh, hard-workin’ man.

  7. D. Fletcher on January 18, 2005 at 6:27 pm

    I can’t read anything but non-fiction. Books of information.

  8. Steve Evans on January 18, 2005 at 6:33 pm

    But D., that goes hand-in-hand with your cold, calculating personality :)

    that reminds me, I need to home teach you/borrow movies from you. Expect a call!

  9. Ryan Bell on January 18, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    Steve’s right, Kaimi, you need a lot more good fiction. I doubt I’d stay awake reading through your list again, let alone the books that are in it.

  10. Jeremiah J. on January 18, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    50 books in a year. That’s about a book a week. And I assume you still have job, one of those 80 hour a week young-lawyer jobs we non-lawyers hear about all the time. Then there’s blogging.

    The Locke, Nietzsche, Kant, Givens, Dostoyevsky and many of the others are not one-week books. You can’t read the Cliff’s Notes of the first Critique in a week (if there is such a thing). You might think of reading some of the shorter works by these people to make it sane and still be able to say you read all them all. Like Nietzsche’s Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life, Locke’s Letter on Toleration, Kant’s Perpetual Peace, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground. Hey some of these are quite short, but so what, it’s a book a week for crying out loud.

    If you insist on reading a long Kant book, read his philosophy of law in the Metaphysics of Morals.

    I also second Nate’s recommendation of the Berman books. If only political histories were typically that good…

  11. Kaimi on January 18, 2005 at 6:54 pm

    After consultation with Steve, I’m probably going to add some from these lists of fiction:

    http://listsofbests.com/list/5

    and/or

    http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html

  12. annegb on January 18, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    50 books in a year??? I read two yesterday. I have insomnia a lot, and read very fast and have no children at home and do not work and so that is what I do. I must tell you I haven’t one muscle in my body and my heart is probably no longer a muscle either.

    Yesterday I read Under the Banner of Heaven (kids, I live in southern Utah, I am surrounded), he left out the first vision altogether! But it was a good book, I sort of recognized my own fanatacism in his description of the Lafferty Brothers narcissm and borderline personality disorder. Whatever I’m doing in the church is the most important thing. And I jump in, go overboard, burn out, and quit. My epiphany with this book was, “give it a rest, or you could go nuts.”

    And I read Jonathan Kellerman’s Twisted. yes in one day. in the same 24 hours. no lie.

    Okay, I also read wholesome, yes, I’ve read Linda Hoffman Kimball’s book, often, in fact,
    I also read The Peacegiver, have to read that a couple million more times,
    Stars by Cheiko Okazaki, working on Six something by Stephen Covey, going slowly to absorb the thoughts. The day before that, I read 4 young adult books, well written.

    I’ve read Mere Christianity a couple of times, I got the most beautiful hard bound copy of CS lewis works for Christmas, hadn’t read two of them, so I’m looking forward to that, I have the others in paperback, all highlighted. I love CS Lewis, I’m going to meet him first after the Savior when I die, to thank him for writing.
    Also: Reading um, Michael Crichton’s latest, I read American Evita a couple of days ago, a scary book about Hilary Clinton.

    I would read the phone book if there wasn’t anything. Mill, Kant, and Nietzche? I don’t think so. But I’ll read 50 books this month. And I guess some of them will be worth the time.

    And I have two callings, 8 visiting ladies, 3 companions, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

    I did promise God not to read in sacrament meeting any more. That was hard, but I did it all last year. Then last Sunday, a sister came up and she accidentally got my promise to God that said, I will not read fiction (I read non-fiction in sacrament, no longer) in Relief Society. I completely forgot that promise. She said she would show it to me and if it’s in my handwriting, I will have to keep it. I wrap the books in Marian D. Hanks book Bridge Across the Waters, or something like that, I’ve read that many times. But mainly the book cover covers the fiction I get from the library for the boring times in class. I don’t read the ones with bad words in Relief Society.

    I love books, I love stories, I love the written word.

  13. annegb on January 18, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    PS I do not love Mormon based fiction. I think Wallace Stegner was right about that.

  14. Rosalynde Welch on January 18, 2005 at 7:24 pm

    This whole thread is going to make me discontent with my lot in life–stay-at-home mother to two pre-school children–so I’d best stay away. Now that I’ve weaned my son, my reading time has drastically diminished. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to have another baby, just so I can start reading again.

  15. Nate Oman on January 18, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    Kaimi: Read the _Transformation of American Law_, but you also really have to read the reviews of the book as well. Horowitz has a very strong thesis about the evolution of American private law, and there is a very solid argument that he basically got it wrong. There are lots of interesting stories in his work, and he is a pretty good writer. His whole metanarrative, however, is problematic and he is NOT a good intro or overview text for the history of American law. (Lawrence Friedman is probably better here, but his stuff must be read with the understanding that he is one of the founding saints of the law and society movement and the ideas behind that approach structures everything that he writes.)

  16. Keith on January 18, 2005 at 8:18 pm

    I like your list. If you are looking for something to add, why not pick something (by, about) Asian? The Tao Te Ching. _What the Buddha Taught_ by Walpola Rapula. _Silence_ by Shusako Endo (a great novel). _Anger_ by Thich Nhat Hanh. Something by the Dalai Lama. I find something like this now and then really helps me think in new ways.

  17. Julie in Austin on January 18, 2005 at 8:19 pm

    Go for it, Ros. Truman is just shy of 12 weeks and I have read 20 books during his life.

    (Of course, force feeding the baby so I can read does have its downside: he’s in the 95th percentile for weight and getting a little heavy for the sling ;) )

  18. Amira on January 18, 2005 at 8:24 pm

    Rosalynde-

    Don’t tell me you’re turning into one of those mothers who says she never has time to read! Your specific lot shouldn’t stop the reading A nursing baby does make a great reading partner, though. :)

  19. Rosalynde Welch on January 18, 2005 at 8:33 pm

    Never fear, Amira. There’s always Barnes & Noble, with their plush toys and train table and underpaid employees to straighten the mess and, best of all, that straight-backed wooden chair for me to sit in and read…

  20. Bryce I on January 19, 2005 at 8:12 am

    Rosalynde, I’ve learned to take great pleasure in reading to my kids. Sure, it doesn’t scratch all of the reading itches, but there are many, many more good books for kids than there were when I was a young’un. It’s been fun discovering them with my daughter.

    Kristen and I have an informal goal to read 500 books to each of our kids by the time they are 12. It’s easy to rack up the numbers when they’re 3, 4, and 5 years old, but now that Jaymie is 7, and the reading list is C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, getting books read takes more of a commitment. Plus she now reads books at a pace that outstrips my ability to keep up, so that if I want to engage her in conversation, as she wants to, I have to read what she’s reading, so I started The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet yesterday.

  21. Bryce I on January 19, 2005 at 8:41 am

    Steve, how did you swing that home teaching gig? Nice job!

    D., my condolences.

  22. Bryce I on January 19, 2005 at 9:00 am

    Kaimi, my sense is that you aren’t much of a fiction reader. You not-so-subtly try to hide this fact by lumping “Literature” in with “Philosophy”, hoping that we won’t notice that there’s not all that much literature on it. Furthermore, none of the literature you list is prose written in modern English.

    Then you point to a couple of Great Works Of Literature lists as possibilities. Give yourself a chance, man! Pick something fun, relevant, with a plot, and not in translation to warm yourself up. Then you can tackle The Brothers Karamazov. Come on, you know you want to catch up on your Orson Scott Card. Plus, you can blog about it here and you’re guaranteed to get a response.

    The last book I read for myself was Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary. I didn’t have anything to read one night last week, and my wife had it checked out of the library, so I picked it up. Was it great literature? No. Am I a better person for having read it? Probably not. Does it give me something to talk about and think about? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Sure. That’s good enough for me.

  23. Bryce I on January 19, 2005 at 9:07 am

    Kaimi, one more point. You say: “And I’m going to start easy – by focusing mostly on books that I already have, on the shelf at home, but which I haven’t yet read.”

    My experience is that the books on my shelf that I already have but haven’t yet read are the ones that are the most difficult for me to get through, which accounts for their unread status despite easy access. What you’re proposing sounds like starting the hard way to me.

  24. danithew on January 19, 2005 at 10:23 am

    I received two Barnes and Noble gift cards recently. I picked up Bob Dylan’s album “Highway 61 Revisited) and still had five bucks left over. I finally found a section of books that cost about 5 bucks that were classics. I couldn’t find Count of Monte Cristo (which my wife loves) so I settled on “Treasure Island”. I re-read the book in just a couple of hours and it was a blast. Besides all the pirate-talk I was surprised at some of the vocabulary in there. I still need to look up the word coracle though from the context I’m sure its some kind of small boat or water craft.

  25. danithew on January 19, 2005 at 10:24 am

    coracle

    A small rounded boat made of waterproof material stretched over a wicker or wooden frame.

  26. annegb on January 19, 2005 at 11:35 am

    Yeah, I’m with that guy who reads fun stuff, too. I’ve tried to read the Russian novels, (I read Russian, a little), and I hated them. The exclamation points irritated me until I give up.

    I have read just about every book on my shelves, that’s why I have them, I only buy the gems. And it’s eclectic, I have Dr. Laura, alongside D’Nesh D’Souza, alongside Robert Millett, alongside Philip Yancey, alongside And the Band Played On alongside Sophocles.

    But no Mill, Kant, or that other guy with the hard-to-spell name. I think I would have to take a class and be forced to read those.

    I read for the pure joy of it. Oh, and Orson Scott Card, wow, he wrote Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. It don’t get any better than that.

    You guys, I hate to tell you, but if this were a contest, I would have won the 50 book challenge by next week. And I’m still doing the visiting teaching convention Saturday and making chicken soup for a sick neighbor. Not to brag, but just so you don’t think I live in a filthy house with 50 cats and stacks of newspaper and aluminum foil on the windows. I am a grandma.

    If this is a contest about high-brow, I might hold my own, but I already give that one up. You can win. But you won’t have as much fun. :)

    And now I’m off to take a heavenly scented bubble bath with my $5 hot tub machine from Wal-Mart while I read the Reader’s Digest. Eat your heart out.

  27. gst on January 19, 2005 at 12:49 pm

    Bryce, D., Kaimi: I too had essentially given up on fiction before law school. Then a good professor told me I’d be a better lawyer and more interesting person if I read more fiction. I started reading the Aubrey/Maturin novels and never looked back. They’re like Austen except several Frenchmen get slaughtered every 75 pages or so.

    So now I try to alternate one novel with every nonfiction history I read. My fiction reading, however, is generally limited to “genre” fiction–principally P. O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series, and spy novels by Furst, Greene, Ambler, and (early) LeCarre.

  28. Floyd the Wonder Dog on January 19, 2005 at 2:00 pm

    While in Grad School, I would pick up a Louis Lamour western for a little mental decompression. I’ve found that they are even simple enough that I can read them during a full bore migraine.

  29. gst on January 19, 2005 at 2:10 pm

    Remind me to have Floyd blurb my first book.

  30. Rosalynde Welch on January 19, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    For all the politically-minded lawyers who read, you might pick up “The Emporer of Ocean Park,” by Stephen Carter. A little long, and a needlessly complex plot–but still very fun mystery genre fiction, and steeped in all sorts of juicy political and legal and academic gossip.

  31. William Morris on January 19, 2005 at 3:15 pm

    A quick tip for anyone looking to tackle the 19th century Russian novelists — if a translation by Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear is available, read that one. Okay, I’ll make it even easier: here’s a link to their translations.

    And I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it somewhere on the Bloggernacle, but you all should read Bulgakov’s _The Master and Margarita_ if you haven’t already.

  32. Bryce I on January 19, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    Speaking of Russian literature in translation, I don’t know squat, but I’ve been told to steer clear of the Constance Garnett translations.

  33. gst on January 19, 2005 at 3:26 pm

    The Emperor of Ocean Park also has the benefit of a main character who is a chess problemist.

  34. Bill on January 19, 2005 at 3:27 pm

    For all the chess fanatics, you might enjoy a short novel I just read, The Lueneburg Variation, by Paolo Maurensig, while all musicians should read Canone Inverso by the same author. They both have the virtue of being only 100-200 pages, in the tradition of Embers, by Sandor Marai.

  35. Mark B. on January 19, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    Though not as good as Patrick O’Brian, the C.S. Forrester Hornblower novels are a great counterpoint. O’Brian must have made Aubrey and Maturin musicians as a counter to Hornblower’s complete lack of a musical ear.

  36. D. Fletcher on January 19, 2005 at 3:48 pm

    “They’re like Austen except several Frenchmen get slaughtered every 75 pages or so.”

    This is the FUNNIEST thing I’ve read in a long time. LOL Thanks for that.

  37. Bill on January 19, 2005 at 3:58 pm

    Kaimi,

    I would recommend The Good Soldier (#30 on the Modern Library list) by Ford Madox Ford. I read it two years ago after reading a lot of literature in translation, and the beautiful style was like coming upon an oasis.

    The reader’s list seems to have been hijacked by partisans of Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, and someone called Charles de Lint, to say nothing of the appearance of L. Ron Hubbard, so its hard to take too seriously. But at least they had the good sense to include Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow at 21, while the squeamish board failed to include it altogether. Reading this novel was a transcendent experience for me, but it’s not for the faint of heart or for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands.

    I have other quibbles with the board’s list: too much Evelyn Waugh and the overrating of Joyce. Since the list is only for English language twentieth-century works it leaves out most of my favorites. The Guardian list is more predictable, but I was happy to see Italo Svevo included.

  38. Jed Woodworth on January 19, 2005 at 5:50 pm

    “Great Books” lists are a dime a dozen, but the best I’ve seen from an LDS point of view is Arthur Henry King (“A Reading List for a Lifetime”) at the back of his The Abundance of the Heart and again in the 2d edition, retitled Arm the Children: Faith’s Response to a Violent World. Interestingly, only three or four books on King’s list (if I remember correctly) were written in the twentieth century (D. H. Lawrence, Women in Love, and a Herman Hesse novel are two); many on the list were written before eighteenth. King, of course, is a notorious critic of modern self-consciousness, which he thinks has tained much of the modern literature in the form of self-regard, the worst of all sins.

  39. Jed Woodworth on January 19, 2005 at 6:54 pm

    Ok, so looking at King’s list now, I see he in fact has more like eleven or twelve written in the twentieth century. Most of the books are novels, as we might expect from a man of King’s training. From the philosophical canon, King includes Plato’s Paedo and the Republic, Augustine’s City of God, Decartes’s Discourse on Method, and Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. And from economics: Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Keynes’s The Economic Consequences of Peace, and Marx, Early Writings.

  40. Curtis on January 20, 2005 at 11:18 am

    I tried the 50-book thing (actually 52 was the goal) in 2002. Unca Sam called me up in January for a year of active duty with the Marine Corps, and I decided to try to read my way through the year — (waiting in lines at the firing range, sitting under ponchos in the rain in the Balkans, wherever I could catch a few minutes).

    As I recall, I made it to 48, which I felt was pretty fair considering the hard-core infantry workload and the fact that we actually deployed overseas. (I guess I never should have included ‘Atlas Shrugged’… I’d have broken 52 easy!) I got some good stuff in there, some worthless funny drivel, and some decent spiritual feedbag… and most importantly, I felt good about it. Oh, and I really enjoyed a book called “Home Ice” by Jack Falla, about backyard skating rinks. Sounds silly? Not if you’ve ever pond skated with a little kid, it ain’t.

    Good luck, Kaimi, and enjoy!

  41. annegb on January 20, 2005 at 11:39 am

    The thing I took out of Emperor of Ocean park was the whatever you call it thing about Walt Whitman’s poetry being derivative. I can’t remember who it was derivative of. But I love Walt Whitman.

    I thought it was an interesting thoughtful book, except for the sort of distracting main plot of the wife cheating.

  42. Justin on January 20, 2005 at 11:43 am

    I’d recommend Pale Fire over “Ada” by Nabokov. And not to slight Gravity’s Rainbow, but if you’re pressed for time and still want some Pynchon, try The Crying of Lot 49.

    Also, I highly recommend John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, for a really fun read, and decent prose.

    Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer is great, and relatively short.

    For some excellent short fiction, try Benjamin Alire Saenz’s collection Flowers for the Broken.

    Whatever you do, don’t give up on the stuff in translation, despite the naysayers here. (If you haven’t read it in another version, Edith Grossman’s relatively new translation of the Quijote is pretty good. Of course, if you’re reading Niebla in Spanish, you don’t need Cervantes translated.)

    Also in Spanish, but available translated as well, I’d recommend Elena Garro’s Los recuerdos del porvenir. For something more “feministy,” try The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector.

    Have fun!

  43. Justin on January 20, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Oh, and I definitely second both William Morris’s recommendation of The Master and Margarita and Keith’s of Endo’s Silence.

    A couple more: Jose Saramago’s All The Names or Blindness.

    And just a few more (these are very funny): George Saunder’s hilarious short-story collection Pastoralia (or, for your kids, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip), and Tim O’Brien’s Tomcat in Love.

  44. Bryce I on January 20, 2005 at 12:33 pm

    My wife was updating our kids’ reading lists last night, and all this talk inspired me to fire up a children’s book blog, for anyone interested. I’ll update weekly, probably:

    500 by 12

  45. danithew on January 20, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    Hey Bryce, I was going to suggest “My Father’s Dragon” but I see it is already on the list. I believe there are some other associated books by the same author.

    I was happy to see “How to eat Fried Worms.” I think I remember that we were all introduced to that book at the same time in Church for some reason.

    What book was it that had the Herdmans and the line “Hey, unto you, a child is born!” I can remember that book vaguely but not the title.

  46. Bryce I on January 20, 2005 at 12:42 pm

    My Father’s Dragon is by Ruth Stiles Gannett. The two other books in the series are The Dragons of Blueland and Elmer and the Dragon

  47. Bryce I on January 20, 2005 at 12:43 pm

    Oh, and you’re thinking of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.

  48. Bill on January 20, 2005 at 2:58 pm

    Justin,

    I hope you’re not including me among the “naysayers.” I was just describing the experience of comparing a master stylist of the language after reading a lot of translations whose styles in the new language are always necessarily somewhat constrained. Later in the comment, I mentioned that most of my favorites are not originally in English.

    I read French in the original, but without translations I would have missed out on some of my most enjoyable recent reading experiences: Joseph Roth’s Radetsky March, Jaroslav Hasek’s The Good Soldier Svjek, Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table, and among many others, the estimable Edith Grossman’s translation of Alvaro Mutis’ The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll.

  49. Floyd the Wonder Dog on January 21, 2005 at 10:27 am

    In response to gst’s post 29, I am happy to accommodate. No need to read the book first, you can use the following blurb copyright free.

    Do you realize that you spend about 90 hours a year *talking to a man about a horse*? Reading gst’s new book is the perfect way to wile away those otherwise unproductive moments.

  50. danithew on January 21, 2005 at 10:39 am

    Maybe its time for me to find titles for 50 books I’d like to read. I really like this idea. I know one of the books I have to read is Kant’s “Fear and Trembling.” And since I was so utilitarian on the stem-cell thread I need to read something about that philosophical movement. I’ll go back through this list and see what else I should add.

  51. Melissa on January 21, 2005 at 11:13 am

    Danithew,

    “Fear and Trembling” is Kierkegaard not Kant. If you’d like to read Kant start with his “Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.”

  52. Jed Woodworth on January 21, 2005 at 11:28 am

    Danithew and Melissa: Why not start with “A Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics,” a short, manageable synopsis of the issues for which Kant is best known, i.e. epistemology and philosophy of mind, rather than the issues for which he is lesser known, i.e. ethics and religion?

  53. Kristine on January 21, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks, Jed–I was going to suggest that but couldn’t remember how to spell “Prolegomena” and couldn’t find the book on my shelf (it’s nice and skinny!).

  54. Melissa on January 21, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    Jed and Kristine,

    I think the Prolegomena, despite being “short” and “skinny” turns out to be unmanageable for many without a good secondary text or an instructor. Further, it really isn’t meant to take the place of the “Critique of Pure Reason” and by itself can muddle one’s understanding of Kant’s thought.

    Besides I think the “Religion” is just more interesting—–but that is my own bias shining through.

  55. danithew on January 21, 2005 at 12:28 pm

    Whoops … Melissa thanks for clarifying. I knew that Kierkegaard was the writer of “Fear and Trembling” but as usually I have my names alphabetically categorized and at the same time jumbled in my head. I should be someone’s science project regarding the issue of memory.

    Jed, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look that one up.

  56. Justin on January 21, 2005 at 3:08 pm

    Bill, sorry for misreading your original post. I agree, too, that when possible, the original is in almost all cases a better experience. You’re back in the yeasayers club. :-)

  57. Bryce I on January 21, 2005 at 3:23 pm

    For the record, I’m not against reading literature in translation either. However, if you aren’t a fiction reader, it’s probably better to start reading non-translated works to get your feet wet.

  58. gst on January 21, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    Floyd, thanks.

  59. annebg on January 21, 2005 at 5:51 pm

    I also read The Good Soldier and found it profound and thought-provoking.