Recent Reads Section
Besides the main blog articles on the home page of mjmwanderings.com, there is other content I have created for readers. There is a subfolder buried in the main menu. It allows visitors access to several pages that categorize, list, and describe some of the books I have read over the past year. I think it is important to read as much as I can get my hands on. Reading makes one a better writer, a better speaker, a better thinker, and it is perhaps the easiest way to expand one's horizons. It is the primary mode of information acquisition for every well informed, knowledgeable person I’ve met. In addition, reading books has become even more important in a world of 140 character Tweets and even shorter texts with a distressing variety of shortened, non-grammatical forms of syntax. I believe that reading books is important to the maintenance of attention span, intellectual discipline, and the ability to write and speak in more than factoids and one liners.
I read a lot and books are by far my main source of information. For as long as I can remember I’ve been into reading several books a month. When I was growing up, my parents always had piles of books and magazines on their bedside tables and all over the house; almost every surface was covered with reading material. There were multiple shelves stuffed with books and everywhere we lived (my dad was in the US Army till he retired when I was 12 years old) we always frequented the local library. We had a full set of encyclopedias and when the update pages and stickers came every quarter it was a family event to get those volumes updated and to observe the new knowledge that was added.
I think the love of reading books went into overdrive when I was about 12 years old and my family moved across the country. We arrived in Connecticut and our first private home to find that the moving company had lost some of our stuff. The main item I recall as missing was the television. Well, my parents, in a stroke of genius, probably brought on by a lack of funds, decided not to get a new TV. At least, not right away. We got a radio and listened to the news every evening after dinner. ALao, within a week of arriving in our new home, as always, my mother brought my brother and I to the local library to get cards and piles of books. We went without a TV for a year. The result was that my brother and I, already big readers, became voracious readers.
That year there was a reading competition at our new school and my brother and I won first and second place in the sixth grade category. The school principal had a hard time believing that we read as much as we reported, so he called my parents to express his opinion that we were outrageous liars. As I recall, we had each read (over the course of 4 months) over 50 age appropriate and higher books. The kid who won third place read something like 15 books. Hence the teachers’ deep suspicions. But they backed off when my mom confirmed that we read a lot and told the principle that we didn’t have a TV. It was quite easy to read extensively without the distraction of a TV. Most kids at that time watched two to four hours of TV a day and there were not a lot of folks expressing concern over the possible effects of this much television viewing. It was the late 70's and most people were embracing television as a huge part of American life. We did eventually get a TV and I am sure our reading tapered off a bit, but that time of my life instilled in me a great appreciation for the power of reading to engage and exercise the imagination.
These days, at any given time, I might be reading as many as 5 books. I usually have upwards of 10 books checked out from the public library. Despite all the new media (which I enjoy and find informative), reading is still where I get the bulk of my information and the main method by which I engage my imagination. I enjoy reading across a broad range of subjects. If you check here: https://www.mjmwanderings.com/home/2017/10/31/serendipity-and-the-library you can see that I allow for serendipity to guide me to things I might not think of reading off the top of my head. Once I find topics that interest me I look for as much reading material and other media as I can get my hands on. I try to learn as much as I can on subjects that interest me. I believe that depth of knowledge is as important as breadth.
Here is a picture of the menu item on my blog that gets you to the various subcategories of the books that I have read and recommend. Click on the “Current Reads” item (with the + (plus) sign to its left) and the sub-categories will expand below.
There is a lot of stuff that I read that does not show up on these pages because I am either not enthusiastic about it or it is something that I cover in a separate blog article.
I’ve picked six categories to keep things organized, but I could change these or add to them. For now they make sense. Here are the links to those book descriptions.