A Confluence of Events

A Confluence of Events
I was an English major, so my textbooks were stories. I tended to know all the words.

Buster had a Global History class last semester and he did a fantastic job sharing the insights he gathered as he worked his way through the required reading. The book he brought up most often was 1491; New Revelations Of The Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann. Buster kept insisting I needed to read it when he was done with the class. (Buster says I asked to read it, not that he suggested it. I told him he could write his own blog.)

I was not sure it would ever rise to the top of my reading pile, but then Yessa introduced me to a new reading app called "StoryGraph." My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Kalopeck, kept a notecard about every book she ever read along with her thoughts on it. I tried doing that for awhile, but eventually that habit faded away. I had suspected there was an app for book tracking, but hadn't made the time to research it when Yessa said, "Mom, I think you'd really like StoryGraph."

StoryGraph keeps track of what I am reading, which encourages me to make sure I read each day, and it keeps a "To-Read Pile" going for me so I do not lose track of books I hear about and want to read later. It has many other features, but these are the ones that matter to me.

1491 is slow going. Having Buster tell me about the fascinating parts was easier and more interesting than wading my way through. (Buster just asked how my reading was going, and when I said it was a little rough he said, "Just imagine the rest of my books since that was the fun one.") I've had to look up lots of words, which is great, and also alters the flow of reading. New words I've learned (although not memorized yet) include: casus belli, purlieus, caliche, coprolites. Words that I could have used in a sentence, but still looked up after reading them in 1491 to be sure I am using them correctly: salubrious, abattoir, semiotics, errata, ironist.

I am also reading The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones. It is also slow going but because I can only read about the brutality and ignorance of white humans for so long. Our country and our world could be such a better place if only...

I am learning a great deal from both books, and I am grateful for that. It has reminded me how different deep, intense reading is from reading for entertainment. It's not easy to jump back into reading that asks for mental investment, which is another reason that StoryGraph has been beneficial. It keeps me accountable.

I've also discovered I like having 4 or 5 books going at one time. To try to improve my sleep I am only reading paper books at bedtime, and that's been good, too.

Books, books, more books. There can never be too many books.