Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Read Your Eyes Out, or, Tender Mercies in School
It's going to be a crazy semester. I have to write a chapter of my dissertation (which means I need to magically know what my dissertation will be!), and I have to read a book a week for my American women's religious history readings. My 2oth-cen. readings class has 2 other MA students and we'll only meet once every two weeks. We all have to read two books for each meeting, but then I get to read two extra books because I'm a Ph.D. student. That means on those weeks, I'll have to read four books and then another book for my other class due the next day, not to mention the periodical writing assignments for my dissertation. Yikes.
I've already acknowledged that I won't be able to read everything. I'm all about being honest. I can't physically do it all. I've tried to work out a system where I read the first and last chapters, then the first and last paragraphs in the other chapters, then I read a couple of reviews on the books. That way I can generally get the main idea and methodology and critiques. It sounds like a good plan, right?!?
Unfortunately, one of the books for next week is a collection of essays by different people--not something you can just skim through for the main idea. However--and here is where the tender mercy comes in--the introduction is very thorough--covering the essential theme of the book and a very good summary of each essay and how they run together. Done and done. I'll take every one of these quick readings I can get.