“I love the idea of reading books as a brotherly, sisterly moral obligation to one’s people.” – Flights, Olga Tokarczuk
Ah… I drafted and never published this, thinking I might add to it. But I didn’t read much more that was worth writing about in the end. So, here in mid-February, I give you January’s thoughts on what I read.
Previous Said and read blog posts: November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February and January.
Thoughts on reading for January:
In December last year, I had a few exams and new projects kicking things off, which hampered my ability to dig right in and read as much as I normally would in December. As I recall, recent Decembers have been much slower than this one, so I can’t say it’s a surprise that reading tapered off a bit. Still, I managed to get over the 365-book hurdle for 2018, so there has been more than one per day – not that that really mattered or that I kept score. No. Just coincidental that I’d find something to completely devour every day.
And January has continued this trend of accomplishing less reading. Actually it’s truer to say that I completed less reading – I am reading as much as ever, but in textbooks, you don’t just sit down and read through the whole thing at once. I am immersed in about 15 different textbooks at the moment, skipping around reading assigned chapters here and there, as well as related journal articles, and that’s consuming most of my attention. So finished books are limited for now.
As usual, over the last two years, people have been flabbergasted to learn how much I read, especially when they learn how many other things I am doing. But apart from having the desire and attention span, which it seems many people are lacking, there are a lot of excuses. But even mathematically, it’s quite possible. I probably don’t even read as much as I could, but I know that I am busy doing other things that enrich my mind, so I don’t feel bad about reading as “little” as I do.
In any case, despite the reduced number (and it really isn’t about quantity), I managed a few books in January, even if I don’t have much to write about them here.
I didn’t read anything that I thought was good enough to highly recommend it.
Good – really good
I also didn’t read anything that I thought was really good.
Entertaining/informative/thoughtful or some combination thereof
*The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing – Merve Emre
Although I started reading the book ages ago, and didn’t quite delve into it until I was stuck on a flight down to Copenhagen, it was quite interesting to learn about the history of these questionable personality tests/”types”. It also happens to align well with the work I am doing at uni now, focused on individual differences and personality as well as psychometric testing. I really had no idea about the history of the Myers-Briggs, which is so widely used and has always seemed dodgy at best. Attending job interviews and going through this battery of tests and interpretations with well-meaning HR reps has always seemed, if anything, reductive and possibly even humiliating. And the book starts to illustrate why, with much of the narrative reading like a work of fiction (truth is stranger than, after all…).
Nope, no coincidences this time.
Biggest disappointment (or hated/disliked)
I don’t know what I expected of Lanark, but had read such glowing reviews of it, and felt it was a duty and obligation to read it as an adopted Glaswegian. And it’s not that it was bad – but it was disjointed in a way that made it difficult to become invested in, particularly when you leave the Thaw story and enter the Lanark story. Not much I can really say about it, as it took me months to finally get through. It might be one of those that you need to be in the right frame of mind to absorb properly.