On his interesting and useful blog that helps people become research scholars, Jonathan Mayhew introduces the concept of scholarly base. This term refers to all the readings, all the knowledge that a scholar has accumulated in the course of his or her life. This is the kind of knowledge that one draws upon in one's research, that allows one not to feel stupid and lost at scholarly conferences, and that helps one to maintain a coherent picture of one's own field of study as well as several other fields that in some ways overlap with or border upon one's own research area(s).
A scholarly base needs to be maintained and expanded at all times because nothing is sadder than a scholar who works on the basis of limited and outdated readings that were done 20 years ago. I usually have my scholarly base maintenance month in the summer. This year, however, I have other things planned for the summer vacations, so my scholarly base maintenance month started this week. I have gathered a stack of books that need to be read before the end of the semester five weeks from now. Here are what these books are:
1. Three Latin American novels. As I was writing my recent blog post on Latin American literature, I discovered that my familiarity with it has grown pretty dim. To be completely honest, I read nothing new in this field since my doctoral comprehensive exams in 2005. So now I will be catching up using great reading suggestions from a fellow blogger who publishes her informative posts here.
2. Four books of philosophy (Badiou, Laclau, Bauman, and Eagleton).
3. Two books of literary criticism. Possibly I will write a review of one of them since it came out very recently.
4. Four books in my field of contemporary Spanish literature. There are several authors that I follow and some of them have recently released new books (most of which are extremely long, too.)
The good news is that I read extremely fast, so I have no doubt all these books can be read by the end of the semester. I really can't wait to get into each one of them, so it will be a very fun month.
The readers of this blog should expect to be inundated with book reviews.