Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Book Lists, Exercise Logs, and All the Ways We Track Our Days

Let me capture some odds and ends of the past week before I lose these strands completely.

--On Friday morning, I woke up and realized I had spent the night with the song "Oh Happy Day" in my head.  We watched Summer of Soul the night before.  What a great documentary about a series of community concerts in Harlem in 1969.  And not for the first time, I thought about what a different time the 1970's was from our current time.  I thought about the radio stations my mom always had on in the background and the mix of music on those radio stations, which is why so many of those songs are familiar to me.

--It was interesting to watch that documentary on the same day that I read of the re-release of Gloria Naylor's The Women of Brewster Place.  I first read Gloria Naylor's Mama Day, which was a much richer novel, so I forget about how revolutionary that first novel was.  I occasionally forget about how amazing it seemed to live in a world where Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison were finally getting their due, back in the 1980's--and now enough time has elapsed that it's time for a re-release.

--This week I finished Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future.  It was interesting in terms of the science and the future, less interesting in terms of the characters and the plot.  If you ever wanted a way to envision how humanity might solve various parts of the climate crisis, this book will offer lots of scenarios, some positive and some negative.

--Last night I sorted through a box labeled Exercise Logs, Datebooks, Etc.  At some point in the first decade of this century, I started keeping a list of Books Read as part of my exercise logs.  I've decided that I don't particularly want to keep my exercise logs, although I am keeping my first running log notebook, that little blue spiral bound notebook.

--Should I go back through those notebooks and take out the books read pages?  If I do that, will I ever go back to see what I was reading?  I've been keeping that list electronically since 2016, and I rarely go back.  Should I extract the books read and type them into the computer?

--My habits of recording all sorts of aspects of my life fascinates me.  Why do I feel this need to record weight and emotions and what I'm reading and eating and how I'm exercising?  In part, it's because journals fascinated me when I was a very young reader.  I loved reading the journals of others and had a sense of how some of those, like Anne Frank's, seemed so important, even if those writers didn't realize it.  In my younger years, I went back and looked over my records/journals much more often than I do now.  Is that an age thing or about the way I've stored them?  At this point, I just don't care.  I don't feel the need to go back to see how many miles I ran during the first week of July in 1989.

--Let me be clear--my journals/diaries I will keep.  My exercise logs, no--although there's a pang at throwing that record of existence away.  But I have pulled the logs that have book lists out of the discard pile.  Let me see what it would take to extract those book lists.

--Yesterday, I sorted through a different box, with books that I will keep, at least for the next several years:

--Yep, those are my books for my first 2 seminary classes, my Old Testament class and New Testament, the books that I didn't already have.  If I was reading this blog, I'd zoom in on that first row:

--And then I'd be delighted that the illustration for the New Testament book has people of color as the illustrations on the cover.  And a Women's Bible Commentary!

--I spent some time last night leafing through the books.  I was both excited and relieved.  These won't be too intellectual for me.  Why would I assume they'd be too intellectual?  That's always been my fear, that I just couldn't do the intellectual work.  I have a Ph.D.--why would I think that?

--This morning, though, I'm thinking of one of the book lists I found in my box of memorabilia.  In high school, I got a mimeographed list of books that someone thought that everyone should read before graduating high school.  The list shows check marks of books that I read in the year before I went off to college, because I was so worried that I would not be prepared.

--I don't remember ever needing to be able to refer to any of the books on the list.  Every new adventure comes with a book list after all.

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