Happy New Year!!
It’s crunch time! My comprehensive exams are set for the third week of April. With three months and about 160 books to go, I’m trying a few new strategies:
In past semesters, I’ve spent hours putting together semester-long reading lists that have me reading books by topic, so I’ll spend a week on suburbia, one on slavery, one on social histories of the colonies, one on transportation (yay!) and so on. That works pretty well, since it means that the books are often speaking to each other – different historians writing about slavery at different points in our own history, for instance, use widely different methodologies, ask different questions, and come up with very different answers.
BUT, this semester, since I have so much reading to do, I’m trying a much more straightforward approach: regular old alphabetical order. I’m hoping for more variety and more cross-pollination among fields and topics. That, and there’s something nice about working your way down a list instead of jumping around on it.
I’m also only writing out my reading schedule one month at a time, which makes this whole task feel a lot less daunting. Hence, by January 31st, I’ll be 54 books in. (sweet jesus!)
And finally, whereas I usually just take notes on the book and my impressions of it and file them away somewhere, for the next 90 days, I’ll be posting daily updates of my progress. I’m doing this partly because written turnovers have been a great accountability tool at every job I’ve ever held, partly to show potential future grad students what grad school is really like (hah), and partly to stay in touch with the folks I love for the next three months. 🙂
So please don’t feel like you have to read the whole thing, but do let me know when you check in!