Blogs are funny things. Many of us have a nagging sense that we should have one, but are unsure how to populate it. After all, the fact of ownership of a blog contains a bit of hubris. Why are my thoughts important? As we with Ph.D.’s already know, letters make us very knowledgeable in one subject but not necessarily able to synthesize across oceans of knowledge. I’ve tried to post about what’s I’m currently working on and while that has it’s merit, it’s not always the most edifying way to maintain this space. So I’m trying a different approach for a while. Starting tomorrow, I will be “blogging my books.”
I have a library full of books that I’ve acquired over the years but as a 43 year old academic 10 years into my career, I’ve slowly stopped reading them in favor of PDF files and blog posts. This progression from paper to screen hasn’t reduced the volume of what I read, but it has diminished it’s breadth. My library reflects the taste of a would-be omnivore, finding what seemed interested at the moment in a bookstore or used library sale and adding to my collection with the hopes of reading it some day. While some of these hopes were realized, many weren’t.
So here are the completely arbitrary rules I’ll go by.
1) I’ll exclude books in which I have absolutely no interest
2) I’ll be completely random, starting with my work library from top left to bottom right
3) I’ll read at least 10 pages a day
4) I’ll force myself to read the book and blog about it for at least a week
5) For now I’ll include non-academic books (e.g. novels, self-help, DIY) and try to put a social sciencey spin on them
I’ll start my own “omnivore’s dilemma” by reading Toynbee’s Civilization on Trial and the World and the West.