Monday, February 01, 2010

From one book to another book to...

I am sure that most peoples' choice of reading material is linked from one book to another. For example, I know that when I like a series, I will attempt to read the next book or two in succession. But I am not really thinking in terms of series. I am trying to figure out how to follow the influences in my reading.

I want to track the books that help me choose the book I really think I need to read next. For example, recently I read selections in Watch for the Light, all of Kidd's Firstlight and then picked up Running to the Mountain by Jon Katz. If you had read all of these books you would not be surprised that Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain is now in my reading stack.

The first three books, especially Katz and Kidd owe their existence to Merton. The famous monk is a major influence in the lives of these other authors. This doesn't mean that Merton is about to make a difference in my life. It just means that I would like to see why he is so inspiring.

Sometimes three books suggest one author to me. The opposite is true of Mary Collins' Women at Prayer. This is a short book that I am reading because of the subject matter - prayer. However, by the time Collins is finished, I have three books that I would like to read, fortunately I own two of them. The third, Awful rowing toward God by Anne Sexton will take an ILL to get it.

Well I have written all this down. Now the question is: Will I find this information if I need it?

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