Sunday, January 1, 2017

Telling the Future

Well, dear readers, another year is upon us!  How shall we use the time?   Here are some things to expect in the coming year from these parts...

1. Discovery of Asia
My big challenge this year is to make good my ignorance regarding pre-20th century Asia, by  focusing on India and China.

2. Classics Club Challenge (Year II)
Last year I went after the low-hanging fruit of my Classics list, mostly Anglo-American novels. This year I hope to be a bit more ambitious.

3. Read of England '17 

Since time immemorial, or perhaps only since 2009, I have done a little 'salute' to English history and literature.  In recent years it's been my custom to devote April to England entirely, in observance of Shakespeare's birthday and St. George's Day, both on April 23rd. Expect that to continue, because I always find it a joy.

4. The Digital World, continued

Last year I intended to read a series of books on the digital world around us, as it continues to reshape our societies and economy. I became fixated on cybersecurity, instead.  This year we'll try to read beyond that.

5. Rebuilding towards the  Future

Another planned series this year will be hopeful books about the future -- about ways people acting as citizens of their local communities are changing them for the better, about ways technology is allowing people to make more use of their time and resources and create a better life for and with their neighbors, that sort of thing.  Most importantly, it will be about the actions of ordinary people, at the scale of the local -- whether  they are working with their neighbors to make their street a better place or  using technology like Uber apps to serve the needs of others and make a living as their own boss.

6. Science!

While I read science every year, I tend to focus on anthropology and biology at the expense of everything else. I haven't read any physics since 2011! In the interests of refreshing my general scientific literacy,  I've composed a list of different categories, basically borrowing those from my Science Index, and -- in an ideal world -- will attempt to read a book from each category before lapsing into my favorites.

7. Celebrating American Independence
As usual, in late June and early July there will be books either on the early colonial period, the Revolution, the war, or the period of the early Republic.  I may throw in some American lit this year as well.


  1. Impressed as always! Looking forward to it already. I'll see if my reading list can in any way add to yours (and vice-versa!)

  2. I'm excited to see what you choose to read toward your American Independence theme or topic. I homeschool my kids, and next year our theme is early America through American Revolution (so roughly 1620 - 1783). In the summer I like to read books to support my knowledge of the topic. I have already read a lot in the past (ex. by William Bradford, John Adams, Franklin, etc.). New stuff I want to get to is If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas. So I am curious to see what you come up with, especially literature/fiction. <--That's always a difficult one b/c America was just a baby.

  3. How old are your children? Two really good books on appreciating what America was like around that time are Daniel Boorstin's "The Colonial Experience" and Davud Hawke's "Daily Life in Early America". They really deliver a sense of how life was lived, and of the kind of legal, religious, and social institutions that sustained it -- and they're both narrative, so easy reading. The Boorstin book is on the larger side, though.

    The American lit is more general than colonial -- last year, for instance, I read "Little Women" and "Call of the Wild"!

    1. The ones I still homeschool are, or will be by then, 9, 10, and 12. But mostly the reading is for my own knowledge. The literature is though would be for them, and I like to choose that which is either about the time period or written during the period. And it is best if it is American Lit. I have a lot of researching to do. Thanks.


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