For almost 30 years now I’ve tried to read a book a week and a book a month. This is incredibly modest compared to Rushdoony’s habit of reading a book a day. Usually, I’ve been able to exceed my goals but I’ve not increased the goals in order to stay realistic. I’ve also attempted to scatter my reading hither and yon. I try to read novels (last summer I read my first Jane Austen novels), history, theology, economics, sociology, anthropology, ethics, educational theory, political science, philosophy of science, philosophy, ontology, epistemology, hermeneutics, Worldview, presuppositionalism, etc.. In all my reading there is one emphasis I try to consciously return to frequently and that is some reading that concentrates on the person and work of Christ. Sometimes I get frustrated over not being able to read fast enough. My book queue mocks me all the time. One reason that it is difficult for me to write is that it takes away from my time to read.
My book of the month is generally a really fat book that goes into depth on some particular subject. These books are generally 400-700 pages long. My book of the week is generally a book that is shorter (200-400 pages) and deals with something in a less in depth fashion. The two to these combined I call my ‘deep reading’ (background reading). I also do a great deal of what I style, ‘wide reading.’ This is reading that is done out of journals, magazines, periodicals, online websites, and newspapers. I’ve never tried to keep specific track of the amount of wide reading I do.
As I read I talk back to my books with underlining, notes in the margins and asterisks in order to mark something especially striking.
Anyway, I thought that I would try to keep a running record here of what I am reading through the year. My book of the Month for February I completed last Sunday. It was Carl F. H. Henry’s first Volume in his God, Revelation and Authority series. It spend a good deal of time tracing the history of a-priorism distinguishing Christian a-priorism (Augustine, Anselm) from non-Christian expressions. While I didn’t understand all the explanations I did understand that the problem with non-Christian expressions of a-priorism is that they don’t anchor the a-priori in Biblical Revelation and the mind of God. They end up anchoring into subjective categories that can’t hold up under close scrutiny.
My book of this past week I finished today and it was Gene Veith’s ‘Modern Fascism.’ I had read this one once before several years ago but the recent release of Goldberg’s ‘Liberal Fascism’ took me back to it. I wanted to refresh my memory before I picked up Goldberg. Veith examines Fascism and especially concentrates on how it purposely attacks Transcendence. Veith’s theme seems to be that much that grows out of the Fascist attack on Transcendence accounts for how Fascism takes place. Veith thus labors to show that Fascism is a self conscious attack on Christianity.
My book of the month for March will be Goldberg’s ‘Liberal Fascism’ and Henry’s second volume of ‘God, Revelation, & Authority.’ My book for the week next week is Neil Postman’s ‘The End Of Education.’
I also received the March issue of Chronicles so I will be filling up the corners with that as well for the next few weeks. I highly recommend Chronicles. They do a good job of cultural analysis and if you can re-interpret past the overtly Roman Catholic flavor that sometimes leaks through it is a fabulous magazine. I earnestly wish there was something of this quality that was being done by Reformed guys.