We all have those preservation books that we want to read, but once school and/or work get in the way, these books remain distant longings. It’d be a guilty pleasure to read something other than our assigned readings, even if it were preservation related. Of course, I have not been in school for two years now, so I should have been able to read all of these books. Some I have, others remain on my bookshelf just waiting for me.
Aside from preservation books, I love historical fiction. Growing up I read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and learned a great deal about the late 1800s and pioneers. I read the Dear America series and learned about all different time periods in diary form from fictional girls my age. And the American Girl series (you know, those with the dolls) taught me even more, from colonial times to pioneers to the early 20th century to World War II. However, I’ve since risen above that reading level, just not the adoration of learning history in the first person voice (which echoes my current field, oral history.)
A recent book purchase of mine was The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It is about the Great Depression and seems like a wonderful book. I haven’t read it yet, but be sure that there will be a review of it when I do read it.
This next book I’ve wanted to read for three years or so. In fact, fellow preservationists will be shocked to learn that I’ve never read it: The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. It is the quintessential book of preservation combining with other fields and what we should do in the future. See what I mean? I’m almost ashamed. How could I not have read this book? Well, we were going to in class but somehow the syllabus got out of order and we were just never assigned the book and as much as I wanted to read it, I had many other readings to do as opposed to something that would not be assigned. And then I did try after college, but found the introduction to be so slow that I would fall asleep reading it. Someone told me to skip the introduction and just start with chapter one. If all else fails, I’ll do that. No matter what, I WILL read this book before graduate school.
Please share with me a list of reading I should do before graduate school (next year.) I’ve been told I should read anything by Daniel Bluestone, who loves to write about sense of place, quality of life – that sort of thing. It sounds good to me!