By percentage, how many of the books you read and works you consulted in the last year were written before 1900?

4% (1 vote)
Some, but less than 25%
54% (15 votes)
Between 25% and 50%
32% (9 votes)
Between 51% and 75%
11% (3 votes)
Over 75%
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 28
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There are 4 Comments

Charlie's picture

This poll was inspired by C. S. Lewis' comment on reading old books: "It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones."

For the whole section from which that quote is taken (a great read itself), look here:

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Charlie's picture

Also, if you have any favorite old books you'd like to share, please do.

This year (or so), my favorites have been:

The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher, notes by Thomas Boston

Second Oration against the Arians by Athanasius

Confessions by Augustine

On First Principles (De Principiis) by Origen

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Ed Vasicek's picture

I do not read very many old books through, but I do consult a lot of old ones, albeit with modern technology. I look up a lot of things in the Talmud, and often refer to John Gill precisely because he brings in Jewish roots, my thing Smile And I also like to look at Targums. So I would say a bit over 25%, which puts me in a hitherto uncharted polling position.

I think the question should have been worded, "Besides the Bible..." I think we all understood that, however.

Overall, in my opinion, the best commentaries have been written in modern times. The flowerly language or lack of conciseness in some of the older works get on my nerves.

"The Midrash Detective"

Susan R's picture


Especially since I homeschool, and we read a lot of classics and memoirs. If I had to reduce it to percentage of non-fiction published before 1900, the number would definitely be under 25%.