Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Almost Obsessive Relation to Reading Materials

For better or for worse, I read multiple books at a time. I always have, I try not to be a quitter. I've thought that maybe it would be a smart idea to set up weekly genre reading schedules so I can tailor my reading material to books/audiobooks/ebooks/essays/stories/poems/manifestos/etc that fit within that genre and maybe even become more productive as a result. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance my ADD will not allow it. I'm attracted to new reading material the way a cat gravitates toward a red laser dot spiraling on a wall.

I just started reading John McWhorter's 'Losing the Race: Self-sabotage in Black America.' McWhorter is a great, lucid writer, excellent speaker, and one of my favorite linguists.

I think for good measure and good irony, I could pair his book up with Franz Fanon's 'The Wretched of the Earth' which I got last week. I could throw in 'Gender Trouble' and 'Sexual Personae' which I have been reading off and on for over a month and make the next two weeks: Race and Gender Related Non-Fiction Par Excellence. 

Just a thought. I think I might try it out and see what happens.

At the library last night I picked up the McWhorter book, along with one book each of Ferlinghetti, LeRoi Jones and Langston Hughes poetry. I'm tempted to sneak poetry into the mix - especially Jones and Hughes, but I won't beat myself up if Lawrence sneaks in.. he's an astounding poet.

I called ahead and had 'American Project' by Sudhir Venkatesh put aside for me. I'm very excited to read this and I think it totally fits into the race-related non-fiction slot.
I also started reading Marcel Mauss's 'The Gift' last week, and that doesn't fit into the genres I've laid out, so I'm at a loss...

Full disclosure, these are the books I'm currently reading or recently finished:

Last read/listened to: The Upside of Irrationality, The Language Instinct, about a dozen or so McWhorter linguistics lectures from The Learning Company. 

Currently Reading/Listening to (in no particular order):
Gender Trouble
The Blank Slate
Discipline and Punish
Of Grammatology
Losing the Race
The Gift
Sexual Personae 
Vamps and Tramps
Philosophy of Language essays
The Chairs by Ionesco 
God: The Failed Hypothesis
Modern Art in the USA
From Bauhaus to Our House
A book on Performance Art that I can't even find in my room right now.

These (except for God: The Failed Hypothesis) don't include books or audiobooks I started but didn't finish last semester or the semester before that, like Thus Spoke Zarathustra or Studies in Pessimism. I liked the latter better. They also don't include books I'm excited to read on pdf format (Syntactic Structures and Being and Nothingness), books I've been meaning to read for a long time, like Being and Time, Glamorama and Nickel and Dimed, or books I'm excited to read but am putting off for an upcoming trip, like Beneath the Underdog.

This post has been somewhat therapeutic. I think I'll post my upcoming reads here more often instead of relying on multiple notebooks or open tabs. 

I've really gotta get my shit straight (or go to a shrink).