Years ago, during my summers, I used to keep a reading list of the dates for books that I managed to both start and finish. Since summers were the only times that weren't organized around a semester schedule, these lists would give me an approximate idea of what I did to pass the time. Though I eventually fell out of the habit, I still write the dates that I start and finish most books on one of their cover pages. While this keeps a record of when I read a book (I also write down when and where I acquire it), I can't often remember what else I was reading at the time unless I had kept notes about it.
At the start of January, I decided to keep a reading list for the year 2011, because I want to know how much I can read at different times during the year, and so that I can plan my readings more accurately. As so many of us in the academic world know, when you are teaching three courses as I am this semester, it is much easier to stack up books that you want to read than it is to read them.
Just looking at the month of January (through the 30th) here's the verdict: if I'm working on a conference paper that has to be polished enough to be read by other attendees before the conference, and teaching three courses, and keeping up with a reading group on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, I won't get much other reading finished. Over the month I read, for my own interest, Robin D.G. Kelley's book on Thelonious Monk (which I reviewed here), José Saramago's The Elephant's Journey, Thomas Muntzer's Sermon to the Princes (Matt reviewed this here), Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (what can I say, I was writing on Marx's critique of the bourgeois Crusoades), and W.E.B. Du Bois's The Negro.
The rest of 'free' time to read involved material related to either my courses or the Rancière/Marx paper-- which included completing Foucault's lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics, which is mostly about neoliberalism. I should have something to say about my ambivalence about these lectures sometime soon, as I've been waiting to see if my initial responses would wear off or if I could cast them in a different, more positive light.
For now, back to marking.