Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

26 Aug 2012, 19:41 p.m.

Reading & Rereading

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. The hike with Mel reminded me of the Ne Theras collective and hike from The Dispossessed once in a while, but more of Genly and Therem's trek across the ice in Left Hand of Darkness. So I've been rereading that bit. Anna Karenina taught me why people like soap operas, and Left Hand of Darkness taught me why people like road movies.
  • Making Software: What Works and Why We Believe It, still (previously on CES). I basically stopped reading this when I realized I'd want to write up a summary of my underlinings and marginal annotations for use by my open source community. Now the Wikimedia Foundation yearly all-staff meeting is nearing and I'm making a push to finish by then.
  • Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams (previously). She led change and shepherded a community; More Relevant Than Ever.
  • Catalogs and Counters: A History of Sears, Roebuck and Company by Boris Emmet and John E. Jeuck. University of Chicago Press published this in 1950, so you could analogize it to a modern-day Wal-Mart corporate biography. Sears solved interesting problems in trust, supply chain, and marketing, and I look forward to reading about the bit where they choose to open brick-and-mortar stores. (Not there yet.)
  • Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss. One of those books I read when I was too young to really understand them. Includes cures and treatments for leprosy, insanity, la grippe, measles, hysteria, nervousness, pleurisy, and whooping cough. I like the ridiculous suggestions I can read aloud to Leonard, and the rubbernecking appeal of the anecdotes, and the calming repetition of lovely words (tansy, rue, black cohosh). But I also recognize here how Kloss's book is similar to Addams's: these are hybrids of memoir and tract. They tell the stories of the authors' work, beliefs, and lives all intertwined. I'm a sucker for that.
  • Lord Byron's Novel by John Crowley. Two-thirds or so through. It took me a while to warm up to the text-within-a-text but now I'm liking it better than the modern-day epistolary narrative.
  • She's Such A Geek, edited by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders. I had dipped into the essays piecemeal, but now I've sat and read them all through, and the diversity of perspectives and insights impresses me all over again. A big giant RECOMMENDED -- there are many people on our side and reading our stories sustains me. And, fittingly, I first met Mel at this book's launch party.