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December 31, 2014

Books of 2014

Filed under: Annual Book Log,Life — camcintosh @ 2:56 pm

Inspired by my pal Paul Gould, last year I inaugurated the posting of an annual book log: a log of all the books I manage to wade through from cover to cover over the year. Here is my 2014 book log:

Non-Fiction

  1. Michael Clark, Paradoxes from A to Z (Routledge, 3rd ed., 2012).
  2. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Vol. I: Greece and Rome – From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus (Doubleday, 1993).
  3. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Vol. II: Medieval Philosophy – From Augustine to Duns Scotus (Doubleday, ed. 1993).
  4. Matthew Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (Penguin, 2010).
  5. Scott Davison, On the Intrinsic Value of Everything (Continuum, 2012).
  6. Pedro Ferreira, The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses Battle over General Relativity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).
  7. William Hasker, Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God (Oxford, 2013). Reviewed HERE.
  8. James Humes, Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman (Regnery History, 2012).
  9. Robert Kurson, Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II (Random House, 2005).
  10. Brian Leftow, God and Necessity (Oxford, 2012). Reviewed HERE.
  11. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (Macmillan, 1960).
  12. Oliver North, War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom (Regnery History, 2003).
  13. Graham Oppy, The Best Argument Against God (Palgrave, 2013).
  14. N. T. Wight, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Fortress, 2003).

Fiction

  1. William Golding, Lord of the Flies
  2. Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  3. Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
  4. Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels

By count alone, this year’s showing is ostensibly less productive than last year’s; but there were more marathons than sprints (e.g., Leftow, Wright, Copleston). At first I thought it would be a good resolution each year to read more (non-fiction) books than I did the previous year, but that now seems naive.

Quantity of pages almost never corresponds to quality of content, and the amount of time one spends with a book should be an indication of its quality. It’s perfectly possible and reasonable to spend an entire year absorbing just one book. How much more would you learn from Plato or Augustine if you disappeared for six months with just a copy of, say, The Republic or The City of God (respectively) rather than reading syllabus-sized snippets of each alongside dozens of other course commitments for three months?

PurgeThis brings me to two long-term book resolutions I have. The first is to finish Copleston’s 9-volume History of Philosophy by the time I leave graduate school. The other is coming up with a reliable method for tempering my book lust. In my first attempt I said I would not buy any new books until I finished reading at least the preface and introduction to any other newly acquired books. Unable to resist good deals, that morphed into the more modest commitment to read at least the preface and introduction to all newly acquired books before shelving them. Shelving a book gives it glory, as it then sits to the right or left of another saint. This rule has unwittingly spawned a kind of book purgatory between my desk and bookshelf where an increasing multitude patiently awaits glory (pictured left). My resolution is therefore to sift the wheat from the chaff and keep book purgatory at a more manageable population. I am a righteous deity and will not unlawfully grant amnesty. My grace does not outweigh my justice. I will carefully examine each, call some home and declare to others “Depart from me I never knew you.”

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2 Comments »

  1. Love it Chad–especially the book purgatory. I feel your pain. I agree–some heavy hitters in the list this year for you!

    Comment by Paul Gould — January 7, 2015 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment, Paul. I love the C. S. Lewis quote you cite. I wish I had known about it when writing my review of Zagzebski’s Omnisubjectivity.

      Comment by camcintosh — January 7, 2015 @ 12:50 pm | Reply


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