Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

Tracking my Reading

For a long time I thought I read a lot–and I did, compared to the people I was an undergrad with, and among my friends while I was a Witness. Then I got to grad school, and even though I was reading more then than I ever had before, I came to realize that I was a piker, at least when it came to the subject I was studying.

I was reading Mark’s post on bulk-reading and beating myself up over my lax habits when it occurred to me that I don’t really know how much I read in a given year. I’m not in Mark’s league, not by a long shot, but I probably do a better job than I give myself credit for, especially since I started getting books as part of my editor’s gig at The Rumpus.

So since I’ve been looking for ways to use this blog more, I’m going to shamelessly jack an idea from Michael Kelleher and modify it–I’ll post what I’m reading and keep count of it. This will be my New Year’s Resolution, to keep track of how much and how varied my reading is. And I’ll be glad to take suggestions from anyone who passes by and leaves them in the comments.

So right now, I’m in the middle of a couple of books, not counting the two I have to reread in order to review soon. The first is City Dogs by W.S. DiPiero, his latest collection of essays, and I’ve been at this one for a couple of months, reading a snatch here and there and then ruminating on it for days. I love DiPiero’s writing, and have ever since I worked with him at Stanford, and I did some scanning and conversion to text work for him when he was putting this together, so I have a closer connection with some of the content than I would normally have.

The second is Seamus Heaney’s new translation of The Testament of Cresseid and Seven Fables, which I’ve been reading occasionally before I go to bed. I could just blow through this one, but again, I’ve been taking it a fable at a time. Heaney’s translation is fine, but not inspired, or maybe it’s the subject matter–morality tales get a little heavy-handed at their best, and when I read them one after another, I start to feel like I do when I read Very Intense Bloggers Writing About Very Important Things, and I tune out. The rhythms of the lines don’t vary enough to counteract the occasional creeping numbness, which is why I don’t read much of it in a sitting.

So that’s two, and I’ll update when I finish one and get into another.

Book count: 2

January 1, 2010 - Posted by | Mark Scroggins, Michael Kelleher, Seamus Heaney, tracking my reading, W. S. DiPiero

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