Summer Reading List

Summer is here…or close enough.  What are people planning to read?  Seems like everyone and their brother are publishing their summer reading lists.  Hoping to beat Oprah’s 2013 list to the punch, here are a few from ILYBYGTH’s idiosyncratic dream library:

1.)    Jason Rosenhouse, Among the Creationists.

This is one I’ve been excited about for a long time.  Rosenhouse is an atheist mathematician with a familiar hobby.  For years he has traveled to creationist conferences and interacted with creationists and their ideas.  From the publisher’s description:

After ten years of attending events like the giant Creation Mega-Conference in Lynchburg, Virginia, and visiting sites like the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, and after hundreds of surprisingly friendly conversations with creationists of varying stripes, he has emerged with a story to tell, a story that goes well beyond the usual stereotypes of Bible-thumping fanatics railing against coldly rational scientists. Through anecdotes, personal reflections, and scientific and philosophical discussion, Rosenhouse presents a more down-to-earth picture of modern creationism and the people who espouse it. He is neither polemical nor insulting, but he does not pull punches when he spots an error in the logical or scientific reasoning of creationists, especially when they wander into his own field, mathematics.

Right up my alley.  I’ve got the book on my table, top of my list.

2.)    Amy Binder and Kate Wood, Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives.

As we noted here earlier, this book suggests that higher education is a more ideologically complicated place than many pundits suggest.  Many self-identified conservative intellectuals have panned the book as “patronizing.”  Bruce Bawer at Minding the Campus skewered the title as an example of “the insularity and obtuseness of the academic left.”  I’m looking forward to reading the book more carefully myself.  Do these criticisms hold water?

3.)    Charles J. Holden, The New Southern University: Academic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC .

For my next book project, I’m considering a look at conservative Protestant higher education through the twentieth century.  Holden’s new book examines the flagship “Southern” university in Chapel Hill during the formative decades between the World Wars.  As reviewer Wayne Urban noted in an H-Net review, Holden focuses on the ways UNC served as a bastion of “liberal” thinking and culture during these decades.  In my study of conservative evangelical Protestantism in the 1920s, I found that UNC did indeed often lead the charge for a politicized vision of what it meant to be both “intellectual” and “Southern.”  As I think about diving deeper into the world of “fundamentalist” university life, I hope Holden’s work will help broaden my understandings of the meanings of higher education in this period.

4.)    Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly, All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age .

This title is not particularly new, nor is it focused tightly on the areas I usually read about. That’s why I think it will make good summer reading.  According to a gushing review in the New York Times, Dreyfus and Kelly begin with the assumption that “The gods have not withdrawn or abandoned us.  We have kicked them out.”  Since I spend so much of my time reading arguments for the continuing centrality of ferocious, doctrinal monotheism, this argument looks like an intriguing counterweight.

What else are people planning to read this summer?  Books from outside your usual “work” fare?  Books recommended long ago but put on the ever-growing “to be read” pile?

Leave a comment


  1. Patrick

     /  May 15, 2013

    Thanks for the list. These look quite good, especially Rosenhouse’s. I’m still finalizing my list, but am hoping to read Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, Condoleezza Rice’s No Higher Honor, Adam McHugh’s Introverts in the Church, John Corvino & Maggie Gallagher’s Debating Same-Sex Marriage, Robert Littlejohn & Charles T. Evans’s Wisdom & Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning, and perhaps a novel by Mark Helprin. And your book on fundamentalism as well.

    • Patrick, Thanks for sharing. I’ve been meaning to read the Corvino & Gallagher book, too. I even have a copy right here in my pile! The other titles look intriguing, too.


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