Book notes

My blogging is in large part driven by my reading, and unfortunately my reading of late has taken me away from agrarianism and into areas which I have little desire to blog about, at least for now. I’ve said several times that the reader I write for is one who is at most a few steps behind us in our agrarian journey. Others are free to listen in and may possibly be edified or even challenged, but I only intend to engage folks who more or less agree with me that the agrarian life is good, practical, and achievable.

I’m not here to persuade, and I’m especially not here to teach, on agrarianism or any other subject. I’ve seen too many bright people who start out by teaching valuable things, then make the fatal assumption that what makes their teaching valuable is not what they teach but the fact that they are doing the teaching. Soon enough these folks are using their teaching skills to hold forth on anything and everything, and it usually takes more effort than it is worth to determine what parts of their teaching are based on knowledge and experience and what parts are just armchair speculation. Armchair speculation, being the lazy man’s way of cutting to the chase, usually wins the day, Everyone wants to be a Chesterton, but not enough to put in the study and thought it takes to become one. Instead they satisfy themselves with acting the part, and they never seem to have much difficulty finding a credulous audience.

So, no persuasion, no teaching, no pontificating. But I think that still leaves enough room for recommendations, even enthusiastic ones, if my readers will take them with the appropriate-sized grain of salt. As I mentioned in the previous post, there are lots of important books out there that are mostly forgotten, and as I stumble across them I want to do what I can to help them get their due. Plus, writing about them publicly helps me to piece together my thinking about them into something coherent and memorable, i.e. something I’ll have some hope of remembering, while clearing the mental decks a bit.

My plan is to devote some upcoming posts to my recent reading, writing just enough about the best of the books to give you some basis for deciding if it is worth your time to take a look at them. Longtime readers who know my tastes and background are free to consider the fact that I found the book worthwhile, but not to assume that it reflects my current thinking; often my favorite books are in my opinion quite wrong, but wrong in important and thought-provoking ways.

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