It all started with a seemingly harmless facebook post.  I clicked on a link posted by a friend of mine from grad school describing her New Year’s resolution and was immediately intrigued by the idea – so much so that I expressed jealousy at not having thought of it myself, and even a faint desire to do something similar.  A few facebook exchanges later, I found myself in a role I never thought I would take up: a new contributor to this strange and vast world known as the blogosphere.

Why the rash decision?  I suppose there are a number of reasons, but mainly it’s to recover a skill and a joy that I once had and now long for with nostalgia.  Like my co-blogger (boy, that sounds weird to me), I was an avid reader growing up.  Sure, it was often second or third-rate fantasy or sci-fi books, but I would plow through those books like a beaver through wood.  Later I switched genres to non-fiction, but at more or less the same pace.  Somewhere along the line, though, I began slowing down, eventually to the point where if I read two or three fun books in a year, I was doing well.

One of the reasons for this is similar to C’s: in our line of work, it often seems like all we do is read, and really, who wants to do more of that at home?  But, perhaps a bit ironically given my new blogging habit, I think the other, more nefarious culprit in my fall from the state of reading grace has been these here interwebs.  The nature of hypertext-based media seems to generate, or at least reinforce, ADD.  Where once I could easily sit down for hours on end with a book, I now sometimes struggle to sit still for even fifteen minutes at a time.

I have lamented this condition for some time, but have failed to do anything about it – until now.  This blogging project seems like the perfect way to rekindle my long lost love of reading, and at the same time to begin to fill in some of the huge gaps in my education.

One reason I’m excited about this idea is that reading only for work has left me feeling narrow and myopic.  Again, when I was growing up, I felt like I knew a lot about everything.  These days, I feel like I know practically nothing about anything outside my field – and even that’s a bit hazy. 🙂  Some of that is the wisdom and humility that growing up and a lot of education provide, but it also reflects the very narrow range of most of my reading material.  Ironically, I think that focusing solely on my academic reading will actually make me worse rather than better at my job.  It’s hard to relate one’s subject matter to other fields or literature if one knows little to nothing about them.  I hope this project will help me remedy this situation.

I don’t have a list, or at least not a very long one, of the books I plan to read at this point.  It will most likely be a very eclectic assortment.  I had originally planned to take a Great Books approach – read some of the classics of western civilization that I should’ve read a long time ago.  I most likely will still do some of this, but I’ll also vary things quite a bit to keep things interesting.  I particularly look forward to writing about these reads, as it will a) keep me accountable (hellooo, grade school book reports!) and b) instill the habit of writing as well as that of reading.

Like my co-blogger (slowly getting used to that phrase), I plan to post once a week or so about what I’ve been reading, with the occasional reflective post on the project as a whole.  I’m less optimistic about doing more than one book a week, but I hope I’ll be able to meet the minimum.  Whatever happens, it should be a fun ride – hope you enjoy it, too.

P.S. I promise I’ll try to make future posts less long-winded. 🙂

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