My Winter Break Reading List

I write this post in the midst of finals season, feverishly tying up the loose ends of another semester as it comes to a close. Once my last papers are turned in, I will find myself nearly two months school-free. I plan to spend quite a bit of that time resting so that I am ready for whatever new challenges spring 2021 will bring.

But, as much as I love a long hot bath or a good Netflix binge, part of my self-care is maintaining reliable routines that I can come back to each week. This has been especially important for me since the pandemic began and I find myself constantly stuck in the house. Routines help me stay grounded in the things that are important to me, and motivated to continue moving forward with my goals. 

So, with that intention in mind, I plan to set aside a bit of the time I would usually spend studying each day to read a few of the books that have caught my eye over the last 18 months of my studies. While certainly easier reads than the academic journal articles I often wade through for class, books like these can help inspire new ideas and curiosities that I can bring forward with me into my studies and life. 

Here are the four books I’ll be reading this winter break to keep my mind ready for spring.

Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger

I first came upon this book in an introductory class on information systems where we read the first two chapters as a means of thinking about how humans organize, well, everything. In this text, Weinberger explores how the digital landscape is changing how we think about organization and suggests that maybe the solution is going “miscellaneous.”

The Information: A Theory, A History, A Flood by James Gleick

Have you ever thought about the history of information sharing? James Gleick has. In this expansive book, Gleick explores how communities have shared information throughout history, and how passing these ideas around alters our very consciousness. 

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom

I first saw this book on Twitter and have not been able to forget it since. Librarian and journalist Megan Rosenbloom explores the dark history of books not bound in animal leather, but in human skin. Through this twisted history she explores the ethics of preserving these creepy volumes. 

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny O’Dell

My best friend read this book a year ago and by the time I went to get myself a copy, it was nowhere to be found. While not strictly an information science book, this New York Times bestseller by Jenny O’Dell brings an important discussion of protecting our greatest asset in the modern world – our attention. 

What will you be reading this winter break? Have you read any of these titles? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Mary Elizabeth Allen is an MLIS student at San Jose State University. She holds a B.A. in Literature with an emphasis in Fiction Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her professional interests include: archives studies, the intersections between critical librarianship and social justice, and radical feminist scholarship.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash 

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