This is the first year I have ever attempted a reading challenge. And I have a confession — I have already violated the reading challenge.
Five years ago I discovered David Blight’s lectures on iTunesU. He is a professor at Yale who lectures on the U S Civil War. I felt I didn’t know enough about the Civil War and wanted to learn more. I listened to all of the lectures (one semester’s worth) and was completely bowled over. I loved listening to David Blight. But one thing was missing — I didn’t know what the readings for the class were.
I then discovered Open Yale Courses. David Blight is so universally loved, of course his Civil War course is on the site. So now I had a complete list of the class readings. My only task was then to acquire the books. I started by ordering A Slave No More and Mothers of Invention. That was my mistake. I meant to read the books in order and listen to the lectures. I read the readings in Gienapp’s book but was still waiting for an interlibrary loan. I cracked open Mothers of Invention — challenge violated.
I’m now four chapters into Mothers of Invention and enjoying it immensely! I sure people who actually attend Yale cheat and read ahead as well, so I don’t feel too bad.
If you have a “novel” way of challenging your reading, let me know!