Tag: Reading

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Year of Reading

 

The slow-news time betwixt Christmas and New Year’s Day was created by media conglomerates to publish thousands of “Best Of” lists. I stink at creating them since I’ve always had a years-long backlog of music, movies, and books that I haven’t quite gotten around to. To remedy this, for books at least, a few of years ago I decided to read at least one book a month. Granted, that’s far below the number consumed by my bookworm friends, but gimme a break — my job consists of reading the internet non-stop and my old eyes get tired.

I’ve decided to share my booklist with you, the highly literate Ricochet member. Here’s what I read in 2016, in order:

Not only did I hit my book a month goal, I blew by it with 15 titles total. Granted, three of them were super short, but the Dostoyevsky more than made up for that. Three were about the inner workings of comedy, three about music, three about politics, two fiction, and four were philosophy/self-help.

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After soliciting suggested readings in philosophy from Ricochet members, I constructed a reading list. I’m happy to announce I’ve completed the first book in the list, Roger Scruton’s An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy. My (sparse and hasty) review can be found on Goodreads. Plato is next up, but I’m concluding more and more that […]

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After a long period of suffocating under an enormous pile of books in my must-read list, I find myself, surprisingly, with some discretion in what I read next. I regret having not paid much attention to original sources, and for neglecting philosophy. I’ve set the following goals for the next few books I add to […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Best Books to Create Young Conservatives

 

shutterstock_94325839A new USA Today poll shows Trump losing the under-35 vote to Clinton by 36 percent. On the one hand, this may demonstrate that young voters see Trump more clearly than others. It may also be a combination of naïve idealists “feeling the Bern,” a few who actually think a Hillary Clinton administration would be good for the country, and probably even more who — like me — are revolted by the Donald. Nonetheless, if it’s true that a first vote is a defining vote, this bodes ill for those of us who yearn for a real conservative alternative and who wish that our young people could learn to embrace conservative principles.

One of this year’s lessons is that older conservatives must become missionaries to the young on behalf of the cause of limited government, ordered liberty, economic and civil freedom, free markets, a shared moral code, and a strong role for America in the world (backed up by a strong military). All of which brings me to my topic: The books that young Americans should be reading to introduce them to conservative thought and principles, or, even better, to solidify the beliefs of those naturally inclined toward conservatism.

At NRO a few days backUnknown, Matthew Continetti listed seven recommendations. I have read five of them: Paul Johnson’s Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, Charles Murray’s A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead, George Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in American since 1975, Harry Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided, and Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter.

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My subscription to BookBub has been worthwhile, despite the fact that it means another daily update in my inbox. Often there are one or two short-term deals that are potentially enriching reads, and I’ll purchase them if I have some Amazon credit. Some of the free book offers have been good, or at least warrant a browse […]

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If the history is less than fifty years old, it is wrong. If the history is less than a hundred years old, it is probably wrong. If the history was written by a historian and not a paleontologist, it is probably biased. If one reads enough history, one learns to read between the lines to […]

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There’s been more talk lately on Ricochet about books. There’s the Book Monger, Peter Robinson asking advice on what to read, Dave Carter’s story about creating his man cave, finally getting his favorite books out of storage, while Willow Spring shared the story of a dear brother’s recent passing, who was a bookbinder! Why are […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ugh. If Only Meyer Had Ever Read…

 

shutterstock_189290039A great many men have been dubbed, “The Last Man to Know Everything.” Indeed, the epithet is apparently a mildly popular sub-genre of biography. Well, I don’t know everything or anything close to it. Never will, either, which — depending on the mood — is either depressing or exciting. Regardless, I have personal and professional reasons to want to learn more stuff about things, particularly on subjects for which I’m either ignorant or poorly informed.

So, Ricochet, here’s your chance to influence this pundit’s thinking and/or make me a better human being: my next book will be chosen by you, based on whichever suggestion receives the most likes in this thread, and I will write at least one post on the subject. The winning selection must be new to me, in English, be under 400 pages, and be available for less than $25 through Amazon or iBook. Fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, history, science, biography, religion … I’m yours to influence.

For background, I was a History and English double major at a school with a reasonably traditional curriculum in those departments and my interests since have tended towards science and economics. For pleasure, I tend to read historical and science fiction, and I’m a late convert to comic books/graphic novels. For more detailed reference, my Goodreads account is a reasonably accurate account of my reading since I created it in 2009 (there are earlier entries, but they were added after the fact, usually to round-out series).

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After reading St. Salieri‘s excellent Feb. 4 post, What if Conservatism Doesn’t Work?, I was reminded of a passage from Chapter 1 of Charles Hill’s Grand Strategies. (Ricochet’s Book Club selection for 2016.) The post and passage connected me back to the Iliad, which many of us read last year. The post, passage, and Iliad bring me […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Have You Read This Year?

 

You’ve all read at least one book this year. I know you have, since Ricochetti are famously literate — not the many-leatherbound-books type (though I have more than my fair share of those). I really enjoy learning what other people read; it’s an eyes-into-the-soul kind of feeling, and I always learn of a few more books to add to my list. So please, post your list of the books you’ve read in 2015!

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Around this time last year I put out a call to make 2015 a year in Bloom. The idea was to read Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind and post your thoughts at any time during the year. (If you are new to Ricochet and missed last year’s call, there’s still time to participate. […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Do You Guys Write in Your Books?

 

marginalia“Most intelligent people do, Jason.” So I was told by another Member, when I said that I don’t. I guess it goes back to my schooling, when we were told that Very Bad Things would happen if we defiled the holy works of Wiley or Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Also, I always considered it kind of cranky: my grandmother would talk back to the author in her marginal notes (exclamation points were plentiful) and I always wanted to tell her, “You know, he can’t actually hear you…”

But it’s undeniable that these things can enrich the reading experience. Marginalia can be a source of knowledge not only about the text but about the context.

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Happy New Year, Ricofriends! Just before Christmas, I issued a challenge to read Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind and as you do (or after you do) post something. A thought, a question, a thorough analysis. Whatever strikes your fancy. Any time during 2015. Many have accepted. This should be quite a conversation. […]

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I’d like to issue a challenge to you as we ramp up to 2016. Let’s have a big think. Here’s the deal: As you may have noticed, I’ve been spending some time with Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind. This book addresses, from a (oh forgive me, Troy!) 50,000 foot level, nearly every […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. ‘What Have You Read?’

 

Here on Ricochet lately, we’ve been having a number of discussions between and about “Social Conservatives” and “Libertarians.” (Don’t ask.) In this context a question arose which might be summarised as follows: “What have you read?” I should like to ask this question more generally – not least because there are certain books that can be an education in themselves.

But which ones, and why, specifically, should we read them? We’ve all only got so much time, and some of these books aren’t cheap. Without at least something to spark our interest[1] or otherwise inspire us, the way to a vivid world of understanding may remain lost forever in the shadowy Terra Incognita of our minds; an echo of which may now and then reach us, before fading back “into the forest dim.”[2] Sometimes even when we’ve gone and got the book, it sits there on our shelves waiting hopefully for a day that may never come.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Challenge: A Book In A Paragraph

 

10571971_dc0f653948_zThe problem with reading is that you can never get to all the good stuff: even with all the poorly-reasoned, clumisly-written, badly-realized stuff out there, there’s still far too much that’s brilliant and engaging than one can ever hope to encounter, let alone explore.

With that, in mind, here’s today’s challenge: take a good book you’re reading — or recently read — quote a short passage that captures its essence, and explain why it grabbed you.

I’m currently in the middle of two fascinating books, and can’t resist the urge to share a little bit of each. The first is F. A. Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit, the economist’s last major work. In a passage connecting economics with history and archeology, he remarks:

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Choosing Books for a Young Conservative

 

ReaderSilhouetteThis is my son’s last free summer. Next year, he’ll be 16, when driving and working will distend the umbilicus connecting him to home. So, acting on a long-held, half-baked impulse, I’m going to spend this summer discussing books with him.

Since he never reads on his own the books I hand him, I’m reading the assignments right along with him. Here’s my (insanely) ambitious list:

  • From Bauhaus to Our House (Tom Wolfe) completed
  • The Abolition of Man (C.S. Lewis) current
  • The Conservative Mind (Russell Kirk)
  • Architecture: Form, Space and Order (Francis D. K. Ching)
  • Poems: Wadsworth Handbook & Anthology (Main & Seng)
  • Anatomy of Thatcherism (Shirley Robin Letwin)
  • Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • From Dawn to Decadence (Jacques Barzun)
  • Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman)
  • City Comforts (David Sucher)
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization (Thomas Cahill)
  • The Timeless Way of Building (Christopher Alexander)
  • Introduction (W. H. Auden) to The Protestant Mystics (A. Fremantle)
  • The Painted Word (Tom Wolfe)
  • The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis)
  • The Great Divorce (C.S. Lewis)
  • Leadership & Self-Deception (The Arbinger Institute)

I don’t expect to read every word of every book. Certainly, in the case of Kirk, Letwin, and Barzun (at least), I’ll select a few representative chapters.