Monday, August 22, 2016

Unassigned Reading Club: The Footnote

For most academics, there are two types of reading we do: Books we have to read, and books we read to relax. For me, "have to reads" include things for both teaching and research. "Relaxation reads" are real brain-in-power-down-mode novels, more often than not in one of the speculative fiction or fantasy subgenres, with an occasional award-winner thrown in there. Point is, I'm either working, or I'm off the clock.

But then there's that other list: the things that are smart, written by scholars for a popular audience, or journalists for a smart audience. Books that make you think, but that manage to do so without feeling like work. 

Often, what visually differentiates these books from the "have to reads" is a lack (or paucity) of footnotes. Which is what makes my choice for September particularly ironic: it's Anthony Grafton's The Footnote: A Curious History. It's a book about the way knowledge is presented in written and visual form. I think. I haven't read it yet. And yes -- it does have footnotes.

In any case, my friend J and I were planning on reading this during the month of September, and then talking about it. So if anyone would like to join in, grab a copy (did I mention it's a slim volume, perfect for a quick-but-smart read?), get reading, and let's meet back here around September 30th.

Who's in?

8 comments:

Bardiac said...

I remember reading this some few years ago, and finding it fascinating. I should pull it out again. I'll be interesting to see what you folks have to say (since I'm not a historian, and it's very interested in how historians write and think).

Flavia said...

YES.

Belle said...

I'm IN!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Cool! I'll post a reminder mid-month, I think...

Emily Bruce said...

Longtime lurker Emily B would love to join!

Contingent Cassandra said...

This looks intriguing. I've been meaning to read it for a while (and to get back to more reading-in-books, period), and I'm doing some work on citation now (mostly from a teaching perspective, but that works, I think). So I'm in; will write myself a note to check in in late Sept.

Good Enough Woman said...

I read it earlier this year because it was relevant to one of my diss chapters, and I really enjoyed it. I got so excited when it came in the mail that I showed to my husband and said (somewhat wryly), "Look what I get to read! You can read it when I finish."

He's a math and engineering guy. HIs response? "I'd rather eat glass."

Lucy said...

I'd be really interested!