The First Hurdle

I’ve heard more than one person say that taking some time off at the end of the semester is important.  I acknolwedge the wisdom of this recommendation, but it is hard for me to conquer the feeling that I should be accomplishing something, literally, all the time.  

Last week, I visited my parents in New England.  My sister, also visiting to attend a friend’s wedding, made her first trip to see them with her daughter.  Let’s just say that it is likely that Grandpa (our father) will give this little girl anything her heart desires from this point forward.

 

Yes, in case you’re wondering, he did buy that Ferrari toy for her.

I knew it was unlikely that I was going to get a huge amount of work done during a family visit (although I did bring some just in case).  However, when I came home, I planned on beginning my extremely lengthy summer reading list in earnest.
Before I left, I did make a concerted effort to at least start something so I could conceptualize the scope of the project.  Looking at one bibliography, I figured I would start with a topic with which I had minimal familiarity, so I chose Early Modern science.  After slowly working through about two hundred pages of the overview history on the topic, I switched gears–it is more important at this stage to actually make some substantive progress, and I know now that section will take me some extra time.  I decided instead to work on the Reformation.

The Reformation is something I know about.  Some years ago, I worked as a costumed interpreter (i.e. a pilgrim) at a museum in New England called Plimoth Plantation (I’m sure I’ll share some stories later).  For those who don’t know it, it is an open air museum that re-creates life in the 17th century in different ways on the site.  In the “pilgrim” portion of the exhibit, people dress in period costume and perform as colonial settlers.  Interpreters are required to master a rather wide range of information about the 17th century, particularly regarding religion.  This is a knowledge based I can call upon while reading some of the scholarly debates on the topic.

Stephen and I are looking forward to our annual trip to the city of York in a few weeks, and, I know I will feel better if I make some considerable progress on the Reformation topic between now and when we leave.  THus, I have created a challenge:

  
That is (most of) the Reformation reading list.  There are 17 books stacked there.  I want to see if I can finish going through all of them before we leave in about a week and a half.  It’s an ambitious goal, but it is doable.  I’d like to go away thinking I at least have one section of one bibliography covered.

 

And with this kind of help, how I could I possibly fail? 

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