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Sharing the wealth of the bookshelf

July 1st, 2004 · No Comments

Enjoying what others read is one of the vicarious pleasures of blogging. Jay McCarthy is particularly good at and generous with sharing his bookshelf. He writes thorough reviews, hence the nickname from our family of a Jay special. The other day he posted a review of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Landes. Here are a few points from his summary that intrigued me.

  • contrast of European and Chinese cultures
  • cute little note about spices
  • Japanese Spanish Inquisition
  • “the best clue to a nation’s growth and development potential is the status and role of women”

    I liked this quote “Business, like love, laughs at locksmiths.”

  • Jay and I, I imagine, do not share many books in common from our reading piles. For example, I doubt that he is reading Reading Seattle (although Michael Hanscom is, I noticed today, on a trip to his blog), Educating the Wholehearted Child or York’s Adventures with Lewis and Clark . And I’m certainly not reading chapters of his textbooks, which are now listed in his blog as his current reading…. But through blogging we can share each other’s bookshelves, or at least get a glimpse, a preview or a taste, a little more information to know whether that tome is worth the time, to know whether the book belongs back on the library shelf or in the beach bag.

    While Ted and I are enjoying the decentralization trend in our own lives, I have imagined that it could be fun to have a virtual bookshelf, filled with various reviews written by bloggers. It’d would be fun to see what others are saying. Organizing such a site could though become problematic. Perhaps using Feedster or another search engine would work just as well. But it could be fun to have a book club, perhaps, or a book exchange via blogs. Or agree to split up a list of books and review them. These are probably already happening. I remember Enoch and his friends this spring were taking turns reviewing a book chapter by chapter.

    Earlier this year David Weinberger wrote that Reading to a kid flips reading – our paradigm of what you do when alone – into a social act. Through blogging books, those acts done in isolation become joined together, bits of connections, created community we share. Thanks to Jay, Enoch, and all who share generously from their bookshelves…

    Tags: books