my love/hate relationship with reading books

ALA Read mini-poster
“ALA Read mini-poster” by me

This year I participated in the “set your own challenge” book reading thinger on Goodreads. Initially, I set mine at 25, as a little stretch goal from my average of 19 books per year over the past four years. But, I was doing so well in the early part of the year that I increased it to 30. The final total was 27, but I’m part-way through several books that I just didn’t have time to finish as the clocked ticked down to the end of the year.

What worked well for me this time: audiobooks. I read more of them than paper books this year, and it forced me to expand to a variety of topics and styles I would not have patience for in print.

What failed me this time: getting hung up on a book I felt obligated to finish, but did not excite me to continue on it, so I kept avoiding it. To be fair, part of what turned me off was on disc two, I accidentally set my car’s CD player to shuffle. This is great for adding some variety to music listening, but it made for confusing and abrupt transitions from one topic/focus to another.

I read a lot of non-fiction, because that works better in audio format for me, and I read more audio than printed (either in paper or electronic) books. For 2013, I’d like to read more fiction, which means reading more in print. Which means making time for my “must read the whole book cover to cover” method of reading fiction.

audiobook: 20
print book: 7
ebook: 0

fiction: 5
non-fiction: 22

books read in 2012



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how the university works

My review of Marc Bousquet’s book How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation has been published on Blogcritics. It took me a few months of reading a little at a time to get through it, and I will admit to skimming quite a bit. I also had to put it down several times because it was too depressing to keep reading.

The stereotype of the tweedy professor — older, male, and white — is one that continues to be the common perception of academics in American culture. The reality is that this stereotype is such a minority, it might be a candidate for the endangered species list. It is this stereotype that prevents the average American from seriously considering the plight of college and university educators. Bousquet blasts that stereotype out of the water with his accurate and thorough descriptions of the true working conditions in higher education.

e-serials collection management

Thinking about acquiring your own copy of the book “E-serials Collection Management: Transitions, Trends, and Technicalities”? Don’t bother.

I just finished reading E-serials Collection Management: Transitions, Trends, and Technicalities edited by David C. Fowler. It sounded like a great piece of professional literature that would help me with my job, and probably it would have, had it been published in 2002 instead of 2004. Most of the essays were from the 2001-2002 era of electronic journal management, and with the way the technology and access methods have changed in recent years, most of the essays had become irrelevant before they were even published in this book.

I was particularly bemused by one essay that spent some time discussing the disadvantage of IP access over password access because of off-campus users. The author explained that proxy servers were cumbersome because they required the off-campus user to re-configure their browser settings. Yeah, sure, if you’re not running something like EZproxy, which has been around since 1999.

I feel cheated by the time I spent reading/skimming through this book, and I am sorry that my institution spent time and money in acquiring it for our collection. There is very little in this book that is still useful, and I expect even that will fade away in a few short years. If you feel you must purchase this book, at least do yourself a favor and get a paperback copy.