And, the verdict is:
This was not without challenges. In fact, I think that this whole process was one big learning curve. To even come close to finishing this list, I had to read at least 2 books a day–more than that in some cases. At first, that goal proved elusive. I wasn’t sure how much I need to know about each book, so I took the safe route and tried to read as much as I could. Then, I typed up a series of notes about the argument, topics, and ideas. This took me hours to accomplish, even focusing on this project and literally nothing else. So, I turned to my advisor after having a mini-meltdown one night. How can I possibly read all these books in a reasonable amount of time?
Fortunately, my advisor put me back on track. He reminded me that it is unlikely that I will remember–or be expected to remember–a huge amount of detail about each of as many as 20 to 30 books on a particular topic. How much could you possible write about a topic in a limited amount of time with so much material? Focus on arguments, main ideas, etc. Focus on how one particular work fits in with the others. Don’t focus on trying to know everything because that’s impossible, and, worse, it could lead to total failure.
So, I redirected my efforts, and the situation improved dramatically. I didn’t get the chance to take notes on all these books, but I did get through a significant amount of the material, and this, to me, seems quite hopeful. If I keep working and keep up this pace, I should be able to test in a reasonable amount of time.