July 9, 2008
Chicago History on Hiatus or How I'm Spending my Summer Vacation
Every now and then it is beneficial to take a step back from a long-term project and regroup, re-evaluate and re-energize. That is what I'm doing these next couple of months. I'll still be posting occasionally, but regular additions to Chicago History won't appear until September. I've given myself permission to take a working vacation.
I have two goals: catch up on my reading and work at strengthening my reading, writing and research skills. I'll address the latter first.
In spite of the fact that I have worked as a writer and editor, I have found myself struggling with even the simplest posts. And, I don't want to talk about the disorganization that has sabotaged my current research papers. So, I've ordered a few books that I hope will help me to focus and get my sorry act together! The first is the classic How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. Also on the way are From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods by Martha C. Howell and Writing History: A Guide for Students by William Kelleher Storey. If any of you historians, academics or researchers have some further suggestions, please chime in. Any and all recommendations will be gratefully accepted.
My summer reading list includes both fiction and nonfiction, but all pertain to Chicago history in some way. The fiction category includes The Genius by Theodore Dreiser (reading now), The Gilded Age by Mark Twain and A Hazard of New Fortunes by William Dean Howells. These are just for fun. By the way, I noticed that a new addition of The Titan is due out at the end of the month. Dreiser fans rejoice! The Titan is the second book in the Cowperwood trilogy (the first is The Financier; the third is The Stoic) and, as I'm sure you recall, is based on the life of Charles T. Yerkes. Really looking forward to its release.
The nonfiction list is pretty much what you would expect, but here's a sample:
The Marshall Fields: The Evolution of an American Business Dynasty by Axel Madsen
Henry B. Fuller of Chicago: The Ordeal of a Genteel Realist in Ungenteel America by Bernard R. Bowron
Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration by James R. Grossman (I really know nothing about the African-American experience in Chicago. Shameful!)
Growing Up with a City by Louise de Koven Bowen (reading now)
The Urbanization of America: A Brief History by Zane L. Miller
The Souls of the Skyscraper: Female Clerical Workers in Chicago, 1870-1930 by Lisa M. Fine (reading now and really interesting!)
For the Love of Pleasure: Women, Movies and Culture in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago by Laurn Rabinovitz.
If you'd like to find out a bit more about the books I've mentioned, here's a handy Amazon Search box. (Yes, I'm an Amazon Associate, but I'm too lazy to link to all the books. Hey, a girl has to make "book money" somehow!)
So, that's what's going. Do stop back now and then over the summer. I'll let you know how my little study project is going.