How I will effortlessly conquer my reading list.

I’ve set up an email service for myself that I have been running for a little while now where I take my reading list, break it down into digestible 2 min. chunks, and email it to myself everyday. Since I haven’t been up to sharing my reading in the form of writing, I thought I could at least share with you all what I am actually reading if you still have that craving to learn. Plus it would be cool to have a kind of effortless book club with my friends. I’m sharing it now because I just finished a book and am about to start a new one.

Why I created Allen’s List

I was trying to come up with a lazy way of making progress in my spare time on my lifelong reading list. Every noble attempt before this had miserably failed, and even minor successes only encouraged the sprouting of more “should reads” like hydra heads. Further, most of these books are the sort that require multiple reads before their value can really sink into my psyche. But who has the time for that?

Almost nobody. Probably me. But that’s the point right?

Summary. There are:

(A) Books that I should read, and

(B) Books that I should read and that I’ll actually read

AL makes A into B.

What’s on it

Daily emails of approx. 400 words (approx. 2 min of reading, given avg. wpm.) in:

  1. Philosophy (mostly ancient)
  2. Classical literature
  3. Literary Classics
  4. Theology (mostly ancient, maybe some medieval)
  5. Ancient History
  6. Something resembling the St. John’s reading list

We will try to go through each book in order, one snippet at a time — unless we get bored.

While I have an actual list I could publish, I’m not going to share it here. It will probably quadruple the size of this entry. Also because mystery. That’s exciting right?

You can ask for my list if you’re interested, and I might email it to you. But probably not. I’ve got too much to read right now to respond to email.

Next book on dock:

Justin Martyr, First Apology

Sign up here:

This is obviously a labor in laziness. And for the supremely lazy, you can sign up (prematurely) for a commonplace book-style list of the best quotes from each book as we go. Because of corporate affiliations which will not be named, let’s just call it “AL prime”. (I’ll post that link here when it’s good and read)

Now this might sound like a service, but it’s really just an accountability system for me. Now I actually have to do the reading to compile the list of quotes.

Why I use AL

  1. Is each email enough reading material? Of course not!
  2. Is each email enough reading material? ABSOLUTELY. If you’re current rate is zero, then 400 words is a 400 percent improvement. Scratch that. My friend just emailed me and told me it’s an INFINITE improvement! Maths, right?!?
  3. 400 x 365 x ….
  4. It just takes 2 min. or less
  5. It may be a tiny grain but grains of sand add up. Sediment becomes rocks become mountains. Progress is progress.
  6. Sometimes its helpful to focus on one small grain. Mustard seed. What are Big Macs without the sesame seeds?
  7. It is easier to start with one small atom. Here is your carbon. Make a chain.
  8. Isn’t this the wrong way to read these important texts? Yea probably. But could it possibly be better to not read them at all?
  9. “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” — G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World, ““Education: Or the Mistake about the Child.”
  10. Profits re-reading: It can acclimate you to the text so you will know how to approach it and what to look for the next time around. (Like learning how to read the Bible for the first time)
  11. good reminder if you’ve already read. Lectionary model.
  12. creates a reading habit
  13. gets you hooked on theology, philosophy, etc
  14. turns a place of distraction and drudgery into a location for personal development and change (i.e. your inbox)
  15. Make new friends. They’re dead tho. So no social pressure.
  16. Make new enemies. Because drama. (I’m talking about new authors here. Keep up. If you’ve read this far, I’m already you’re friend)
  17. Insert LeVar Burton quote
  18. You have no control. I’m the captain now. There is no responsibility. No fiddling. No anxiety. No decision fatigue. Automatic education. Theology on auto-pilot.
  19. Just sit back. Read. skip. delete. unread. archive. forward.
  20. Whatever you do is between you and your inbox.
  21. If you get bored you can always unsubscribe. Remember, I get bored too so when that happens I’ll switch the text. If I switch the text while you are enjoying it, then you can always go and finish it yourself. I’ll probably mark where I left off and come back to it later. It’s this revolutionary technology called a bookmark. Or you can go make your own list.
  22. Allen, didn’t it take you longer to generate the emails then it would have been to just read them? Yes. But time is not the problem, motivation is. I have enough initial motivation to push this snowball down the hill.
  23. Novelty inspires play. Small chunks encourage focus on small chunks, not distracted browsing.
  24. Potential for deep conversations with friends reading the same things. And thus better reading comprehension. (That said: If you don’t understand an email: Wikipedia. Google. And don’t hesitate to ask me about it! Odds are, I’m probably wondering the same thing.)
  25. Daily exposure to lives and thoughts greater than my own.