June 3, 2008
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On Summer Reading

by Edmund Morris

I've got a problem. Perhaps you have the same problem, more or less. It's been going on a long time. I can't find a solution.

I'm currently in the middle of Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex. It's a fine book. I need to read up on the turn of the century, because I might want to write something next year. Behind that, I've got two biographies of Jane Addams, who was a childhood hero and about whom I have learned approximately nothing since second grade.

I've got to read Cory Doctorow’s new novel, Little Brother, because Kathryn told me to. I’ve got to read Sarah Water’s Affinity, because George told me to. I’ve got to read Michael Bonifer’s Game Changers, because he’s a really interesting guy with a really interesting background and I really want to see what he's got to say for himself.

I'm already in the middle of Chip Conley’s Marketing That Matters. because Peter told me he’s a really smart fellow, even though Peter wanted me to read Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow which I expected to irritate my allergy to pop psych. I’m already in the middle of Stewart Mader’s WikiPatterns, because it's said to be the best book about growing a wiki.

And Linda just spent a semester studying with Niall Ferguson. I ought to read The Pity of War because it's an Important Book. Or maybe War of the World, because I'll have an easier time following the WW2 volume.

Oh — and there's my Amazon list of summer reading. Why the Allies Won, which Ferguson went out of his way to praise. Chocolate and Zucchini, because I've been rooting for Clotilde from the beginning. Jill and Hilde have Digital Culture, Play and Identity out; I ought to read it before Aspyn, my green-haired illusionista, solos her heroic way to level 50 in City of Heroes. I want to read Owen Sheers’ novel Resistance. I want to read Michael Polllan’s In Defense of Food.

Oh — and I've heard that Gabriel Zaid’s So Many Books: Reading And Publishing in an Age of Abundance is very good. I heard that in the TLS; I'm about four months behind in my TLS reading.

So, here we are. That's something like 16 volumes that I seriously want to read, right now, all stacked up. You think I'm not going to hear about anything interesting in the next three months? Nah, me neither. But if you ask my Tinderbox blog — I'm asking it now — just how many books I read last summer:

^value($ChildCount("/Books: Summer 2007"))

Tinderbox will answer: 16. 2006? 16.

2004 16

What was different in the summers of 2003 and 2002? For the life of me, I don’t know. But I think I ought to find out, fast.