Sunday, January 22, 2006

Once more with the meta

Jenny says (in a wonderfully rich post that I want to come back to) that she isn't usually given to blogging about blogging, which reminds me once again how much I *am* given to it, and, indeed, how the very mention of it seems to send me into something of a Pavlovian dog-like response to do it some more. I've agonized here before about why that is, so I won't do it again. It's all there in the archives somewhere.

Anyway, what I was reminded of today in reading her entry was how much I've learned from my "blogpeeps" (as Jenny calls them), and how Collin, in a recent entry, helped me not to feel guilty about it. (I'm given to feelings of guilt: it's the gender-first-generation-college-student-growing-up-evangelical thing, and proximate off-bloggers tend to think blogging is something akin to, well, you know.)

Writing about the variety of forms reading can take, Collin says,

because we love to read, and we do it a lot, we're slow to realize that there are different kinds of reading (this is the Moretti link for me, btw), and that different tasks require those various kinds. For example, here are four approaches that I might have taken to Latour's book:

  • read the thing cover-to-cover, as I'm doing now
  • do a power skim, reading 1st and last pages of each chapter, and topic sentences
  • read a review or two of it from relevant journals
  • wait for Clay to read it, and to review it on his site

I don't know how many of us would describe all four activities as reading, but I think I would. I might have to resort to air quotes on a couple of them,but I don't necessarily believe that close, word-by-word reading is the only kind of reading you must do when your director tells you to "read everything." In the same way that you might "read" people or "read" a conversational dynamic, for the sake of sanity, you have to "read" your field.

As I've said before, Collin is my guru, and I love the way he consistently offers ways of dealing with the glut of information that our culture and our positions as academics call us to deal with. It's not that I don't love the glut of information (I was the geeky little girl who read encyclopedias--some of the only non-devotional, non-Golden books in my home growing up), and it's not that I don't want to read them all cover-to-cover (hence my impossibly long wishlist). But, let's get real: you can't read everything that way. Collin provides a very useful and non-crazy-making way of thinking about other actions as reading, including the reading of other people's reading on blogs.

So, yes. That's another wonderful thing about blogs: the circulation of information, the circulation of ideas. Thanks, blogpeeps.

1 comment:

contactos valencia said...

Here, I do not actually think this is likely to have success.