Five books I am embarrassed not to have read

Matt Yglesias offers his list, and Will Wilkinson passes the meme to me.  So here are my choices:

1. Summa Theologica: A classic, yes.  But I am neither a Catholic nor an Aristotelian.  Get this randomly chosen excerpt: "There is nothing to prevent a thing which in one way is divided from being another way undivided, as what is divided in number may be undivided in species; thus it may be that a thing is in one way one, and in another way many."

2. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness – This can seem intriguing when I browse it, but then I have the urge to pick up Pascal and I never come back.  I haven’t finished Heidegger’s Being and Time either, but I am not embarrassed by that fact.

3. Harry Potter, various installments – I can’t get through them, and yes I have tried the deeper and darker #3.

4. Gibbon on Rome – I read volume one, but stopped paying attention somewhere in the middle.  The main thesis — that Christianity wrecked the Roman empire — simply isn’t true, and I don’t find the prose mesmerizing, at least not in a positive fashion.

5. Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water.  This is the only one on the list I decided I should start reading.  It is superb and gripping, and my guilt will be gone soon.

Some people will flagellate themselves with such a list, others attack the books.  The real question is which one this exercise induces you to pick up.


Comments for this post are closed