Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Week's Reading

Now that my grading is getting caught up, I'm launching back into my comprehensive exam preparation.  That means reading books, articles, and book reviews.  I should have my European and Military & Naval reading lists nailed down in the next week, but U.S. is under control.  Since I don't have time to wait, and owe one of my dissertation co-chairs some work, I'm launching right into the Military & Naval, which has some overlap with the European list.

This week's light reading:

  1. Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe: Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as Fiscal-Military States, 1500-1660.
  2. Brian M. Dowling, The Military Revolution and Political Change: Origins of Democracy and Autocracy in Early Modern Europe.
  3. William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000.
  4. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble.
  5. Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War.
  6. Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace.
  7. Ronald J. Glasser, 365 Days.


  1. How do you keep up with reading so many books? When you read, do you take notes or just let the information absorb by osmosis? Also, do you read for a specific purpose, so you can skim through the irrelevant parts, or are all parts of these books equally important to you?

    I am wondering because I want to go to graduate school. I have about 2 years left to complete by Bachelors degree. Reading has always been my weak point. Can you give me some advice?

  2. I take notes while I read, but some week's I don't get all the way through the reading and have to carry some over - last week I didn't finish Glete, so I'm finishing it tonight. Hints: do your reading in areas without distractions - no TV, loud conversations, etc... Read the introductory material and conclusion first so you know what the book is about. Then work through the rest. I also read the acknowledgments and bibliographies before diving in so I know where the author is coming from. The biggest thing is that I do very little else - most weeks I watch only about 6 hours of scheduled TV. Anything beyond that is after 9:30 or 10:00 pm, and I get up early enough to be productive by 8:00 am. I usually take one night or day off per week unless I'm sick or injured.

    One thing I suggest to my undergrads is to try out the SQ3R study method, which you can find using Google.