Monday, May 22, 2017

Starting B.O.B. later

I continue being surprised by how good the book by Pamela Paul is.  The book's title is a bit long and awkward: "My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Tracks Books, Plot Ensues".  In conversations with friends, I refer to the book as Life with Bob.  The author never uses periods but she is writing about B.O.B., a Book of Books, a list of books she has read.  

She really covers many angles related to reading: different types of books, with whole chapters on catching a minute here and there to read, being urged by Dad to read this but not wanting to, urging one's daughter to read what was so great, so very GREAT when you were her age, many angles and experiences with one's mind, feelings and books.  Most people have not kept such a list and for me, doing so would be something of a chore.

I think you can have fun with thinking about your reading even if you haven't kept such a list.  The most fun class I taught was "Personal Reading for Professional Development", a graduate class for experienced, licensed teachers.  I knew I could take a book like "Rapid Viz" by Hanks and Belliston and concentrate on applying the ideas of the book to the various kinds of teaching the students normally did.  But that would be another, rather typical focused approach.  It would be yet another time when the instructor said to the students they needed this book, book X.

What if we step back for reading and consciously pause, to consider what we have read?  I don't expect to be able to remember all the books any more than I can remember all the meals or for that matter all the breaths.  But I didn't cook all the meals and there were so many indistinguishable breaths.  I carried all the books here and there, I held the books in my hand, even the Kindle books.  I turned the pages.  I passed tests on them. What of them remains in my mind?

So, the students turned to listing books they could remember reading.  The usual format was author's name and title.  With modern software, it is easy to copy the list and play with it if desired.  It is surely easy to alphabetize the list by name and/or title. However, I urged the students to simply list the books as they came to mind.  At first, it is common to feel that you know you have read, did read, many books but what were they?  Then, as your memory unfolds a little and associations rise, you can remember "Woman Wanted" and "Skinwalker" and other goodies.

Preserve the original order, even if you play with a copy.  It may be fun.  Use a spreadsheet or other software that will enable quick, easy copying and quick easy alphabetization.  You can add labels in another column and compare category sizes: more bodice rippers or more murders?

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