An Exciting Project: 10 Million Words

For 2010, Tim Challies has embarked on what I consider to be an exciting challenge: 10 Million Words.

10 Million Words is a year-long project by Tim Challies to learn about life and culture through the lens of all of America’s bestselling books.

Tim, a Canadian, will be reading all of the New York Times’ non-fiction bestselling books in 2010. He is doing this to:

America’s bestselling books tell us, I’m sure, who America is, who her people are, at this time and place. Surely they will give me a glimpse into the world’s most powerful, the world’s most fascinating nation.

So why am I doing it? That is a fair question and one that does not offend me in the least. There are a few answers. First, I love to read and this project gives me an opportunity to read a lot. That, as I see it, is a good thing. Second, it is a challenge and I like to face a good challenge. I expect this project to involve at least ten million words of reading–break that down and you’ll see that it comes to at least three books per week over the course of an entire year. Third, I am interested in the cultural and worldview implications of all of these books. They will provide, I’m sure, a snapshot of where America is at as she enters a new decade. And for me, as a Canadian who spends a fair amount of time wandering the United States and who has family living in the United States, this stands to be particularly interesting.

Tim’s project excites me, and I’d love to embark on a similar project, except that I read a little too slowly. I like to study ideas though. As I look back through history, I like to focus on what ideas had the most influence on a culture. Just as the enlightenment had a massive influence on America’s founders, Robespierre had an influence on the French Revolution.

I’m excited by Tim’s challenge and I’m eagerly following along by his RSS feed in Google Reader. I can’t wait to see what conclusions he is able to draw from studying the ideas behind a years worth of non-fiction bestsellers.


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