Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reading Lists

The problem with language is it both reveals and conceals. When one says here is my reading list, you can interpret the statement in so many ways - I'm reading only this, I'm reading them in the order I've listed them, I'm reading them all, I'm reading about them (this is a scary phenomenon because I expend a lot of energy with the background reading), I would love to read these books, etc. The interpretation may depend on what kind of a reader you are. In my case I usually assume that people who put up reading lists are parallely reading all or most of the books in that list. I also assume that it is likely that they are reading other things that they aren't listing (which is why a blogger like dovegreyreader scares me with her lists - check out her sidebar(s) and you'll know why.)

When a timeframe is not mentioned what stops one from thinking that the list has been going on forever? Something like all the books I've ever read, am reading, will ever read or want to? Oh no I did not want to go down the Babel path. Retrace: Close this para. Start another with new train of thought.

I was lying in bed last night next to a sleeping G who every now and then would put out an arm and manage to tug off the earphones of my iPod. Then, oh so carefully, I'd extricate the coveted accessory and press resume to continue listening to the World Book Club podcast with Lionel Shriver. The book being discussed was, of course, We Need to Talk About Kevin. I made a mental note to add said book to my reading list and this action led me to think about the various books I'd read and/or abandoned this year and somewhere in the consideration of The Gift or perhaps Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, I slept. It may have been a dream or a crossthought but I also thought of Chenthil's post on books, which he called long, which I call woefully short, where he had tantalisingly set up his story of how he took to reading and then abruptly put a fullstop to it. I felt like turning the page to see if someone had torn off the rest (Chenthil: part two please!) The mashup of my pre-sleep pondering led to one good idea though - that of creating another list, this time for the year 2010 and focusing on Language.

For instance this Year 2010 list - and no cliched ten books in '10 - will necessarily include Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, which I shall cheat and read this year and buy myself some time (yes the absurd is always around the corner.) I guess Bill Bryson, Noam Chomsky, Anne Fadiman, ...gosh there are plenty...So if you have any wonderful titles to recommend, I'd be grateful.

PS: I like the play on the title but I recommend you read it as reading 'lists'
PS2: the problem with language is it both expands and limits expression

4 comments:

Echo/Lavanya said...

'How did you take to reading?' is a meme in waiting. Must try picking it up sometime.

iamyuva said...

great. will bookmark this post. thanks,

Anonymous said...

Language would be an expression which definitely expresses certain things openly but also hides certain things.
Sometimes the author does this on purpose so that it makes you
to ponder and think deeper. Its also a freedom to the reader
to interpret and unless comes in terms with the author may
Not be able to comprehend the complete message as felt by the author

Anonymous said...

Language would be an expression which definitely expresses certain things openly but also hides certain things.Sometimes the author does this on purpose so that it makes you to ponder and think deeper. Its also a freedom to the reader to interpret and unless comes in terms with the author may not be able to comprehend the complete message as felt by the author.