Of late, I have found myself bogged down among a plethora of books from two separate libraries, as well as volumes from my personal collections, while simultaneously pulled in 5 or 6 directions intellectually speaking (on top of the rest of my life happenings). This has been the result of half-hearted intentions on my part to prepare for further graduate work in history, humanities, and philosophy. Needless to say, this has even negatively affected my output of reviews: attempt too many tasks and nothing gets done.
10 June 2014
So I have decided to make a “clean sweep”, return all (or at least the very, vast majority) and start anew with 6 books filling the role of text-books to provide background exposure to the courses of instruction I desire to take. From there I shall proceed to actively read only 6 volumes at any one time from all combinations of sources: personal public, college, or private library collections, giving me 6 days of active reading and one day of rest.
17 June 2014
Yeah, okay that idea died an ignominious death. I did, however take the step of returning all my borrowed volumes from Berry College. I still plan to ultimately reduce my reading loads to 5 books
a week at a time, one volume per anticipated blog (with allowances for this blog, which may require more volumes and produce more reviews, once I’ve built up enough entries to make regular posting worthwhile.
The Thirteen Week Reading Diet
In the meantime, I
still plan to continue my background reading toward the various M.A. degrees I am seeking, only this time I will give myself deadlines. I also have a definite format in mind, based on the syllabi for the courses in the programs, with which to direct my reading, note-taking, and responses to the material (this is my way of making myself accountable to myself, by announcing what I am doing, that way people can bug me about my progress). The programs I plan to pursue maintain a 13 week course schedule; so to acclimatize myself to the reading and writing workload that these degrees entail I shall take a text or texts on a subject (for instance Mortimer J Adler’s How to Read a Book, or Will (and Ariel) Durant’s 14vol Story of Civilization), and spend (up to) 13 weeks reading them. For each week of reading, I will produce a review for the book, or in some cases the section of book, I’m reading, and a final summary of my reading at the end of the 13 week cycle; only then will I move on to the next assignment.
I will title each review “Select Reading Program” to keep track of my progress. (Incidentally, this process is also a good way to work my way through the ginormous backlog of reading material I have accumulated over the years.)
To give you a hint of how many directions my fertile mind has been stretched into, the following six areas have the most volumes within my personal library, and form the core of my intellectual pursuits. In fact, with the exception of Japanese Studies, I have found that all these areas comprise sections in a larger endeavor conceived of as a ‘natural history of the soul’ that engages philosophy, theology and science.
Biology and Chemistry
Humanities and Classics
Philosophy – Epistemology / Metaphysics / Ethics / Political Philosophy / Philosophy of Science (Biology)
Select Reading Plan, The Texts:
The books listed below represent the choice of books for my first four ‘courses’ of reading, what I have termed my “Select Reading Plan
How to Read a Book : The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading Rev. and updated ed. / Mortimer J. Adler, and Charles Van Doren. New York: Simon and Schuster 1940. . xiii, 426 p. Includes Bibliographic References and Index.
The Story of Civilization / Will Durrant. NY: MJF Books. 1935. 1963. 14v. v1 Our Oriental Heritage
History of Philosophy 9v. / Frederick Copleston.
2) Theology/Patristics/Jewish Studies
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 10v / Gerhard Kittel, editor. Geoffrey W Bromiley, translator. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 1964. [v1 Alpha - Gamma] [Fifth Printing 1972]
3) Anime/Japanese Studies
Culture Shock! Japan [third edition] / Rex Shelley. Portland, OR: Graphics Arts Center Publishing Company. 1993. 2000. 280 p. ; ill. Includes Bibliographic References and Index.
The Electric Geisha: Exploring Japan’s Popular Culture / Atsushi Ueda, ed. translated by Miriam Eguchi. Tokyo: Kodansha International. 1994. 260p. Includes Glossary
The World of the Shining Prince : Court Life in Ancient Japan / Ivan Morris. New York: Vintage. 1964. Introduction copyright 1994. xxvii, 336p. Includes Bibliographic References and Index.
A Reader’s Guide to Japanese Literature [2d ed] / J. Thomas Rimer. Tokyo: Kodansha International. 1999. 244p. Includes Bibliographic References and Index.
Biology: [bibliographic citation not yet available] *
Chemistry: [bibliographic citation not yet available] *
a variety of used college-level textbooks acquired from *cough* Goodwill Stores, as well as popular science magazines provide the basis for my background science readings
For simplicity, I’ll update this post with my current status each week
Week One: June 22-June 28 2014