Sunday Box Talk – Creating a Reading List

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What do you want to study?  Maybe you just want to read the Great Books, or the history of Ireland, or about the conflict going on in the Middle East.  Other than asking the internet and getting some pithy sound bytes, but no real information, how do you go about learning about these subjects?

Creating a bibliography is a skill.  Knowing what to include, and what not to include, takes practice.  Doing so can teach you a lot about a subject even before you’ve read all the books available to you.

How to Create a Reading List

  1. Start with what’s available.  Go to the internet and look up the syllabi for courses that cover the subject you’re studying.  Use them as a starting point, because the professor includes the books that they think are the best ones for the subject.
  2. Ask your reference librarian to help you put together a good list.  They’ll love you for it – it’s way more interesting than telling people how to get to the bathroom.  Trust me.
  3. When you find a good book, see what they include in their list of references.  Go check those out and see what you think.
  4. Write notes on what you’re reading.  Talk to yourself.  The best way to learn from books is to engage with them.  Respect your own opinions.
  5. Talk to others who are interested in the same subject.  See what books and resources they like.

What about you, Dear Reader?  What subjects make you curious?

4 Replies to “Sunday Box Talk – Creating a Reading List”

  1. Actually, libraries make me intensely curious. Like Sarah Crewe, I’m drawn by a kind of hunger to certain book spines, just to read their titles. Paintings, too, particularly ones from the Counter Reformation, or the Renaissance.

  2. I love antique books. But as I recently found out, reading them is difficult as they can be very fragile. A few years ago, I obtained a hardcover novel that is, I believe, over 100 years old. The title, Zanoni, by Lord Edward Bulwer Lytton finally turned up for discussion as part of a reading group I belong to. Well, I should have gotten a newer copy for reading purposes. The cover is no longer connected to the spine of the book, and trying to read the beginning made some pages come loose. Plus the edges of the pages are crumbling.

  3. I love wandering through libraries. So many topics at your fingertips. I tend to hit my local library for info on whatever research I need to do even before I look at the Internet. At the moment I’m researching high country stations in New Zealand for my Middlemarch Shifters series. Fun times 🙂

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