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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Intellectual Devotional

I never buy new hardcovers because they're too expensive, but I made an exception yesterday and bought two: The Intellectual Devotional and Made to Stick.

At first I was a bit worried when I saw the title for The Intellectual Devotional, thinking it was going to be a kind of anti-prayer book for atheists, pitting faith against reason or science against religion. As I thumbed through the pages, though, it doesn't appear to be any such thing. Like a devotional, it consists of daily readings, but rather than meditations, these are readings in different intellectual areas: History on Mondays, Literature on Tuesdays, Visual Arts on Wednesdays, Science on Thursdays, Music on Fridays, Philosophy on Saturdays, and Religion on Sundays.

I like these "daily reading"-type books, and I had some money burning a hole in my pocket (a rare thing), so I decided to pick it up and give it a try.

Today's reading was all about cloning, and it doesn't take any kind of moral stance on the issue, it simply recounts what cloning is and focuses on the story of Dolly the sheep. As I peek at this Sunday's topic, I see that the subject is the Torah. A quick browse through the rest of book reveals readings on Dickens, the Last Supper, Chemical Bonds, Real Numbers, the Manhatten Project, Rainbows, Verdi, the Battle of Midway, and Confucianism.

It does bother me a bit to see the word "devotional" in the title, since it implies religious enthusiasm towards something non-religious, but the book doesn't appear to be anti-religious. In fact, the Sunday readings in religion appear to be respectful and informative, more like a survey of world religions.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of it, and if my opinion changes I'll let you know.

As for the other book, Made to Stick, I'll talk about that another day.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:15 AM

Comments on "The Intellectual Devotional"


Blogger booklogged said ... (Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:23:00 PM) : 

I'm looking forward to hearing your further reviews on this book.


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