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Posted by on Sep 19, 2013

Importance of reading (my take) and a powerful quote: ‘Be not ashamed that you were bred in this Hospital. Own it.’

Kindle Reading List

Reading=Thinking

This post started more as a need to post the following quote. I found it profoundly direct and surprisingly progressive for its time. However, perhaps more in the desire to dress up that lonely quote with some substance, I decided it might not be a bad idea to share some of what I am reading in case anyone else might find it useful.

To provide some context to all of this, I should say that I love reading. I read all the time. I have been reading since I was a child and my parents took me to the library all throughout my summer vacations. I have been reading ever since my father forced me at an unreasonably young age to plow through Charles Dickens. Almost all of it. Even then I thought the stories sounded the same and only the characters’ names had changed (my opinion hasn’t changed all that much).

I now have close to a two-hour commute in Seoul (total time there and back) on the subway which provides me with ample time to read. I read on my iPhone via my Kindle application, which provides a surprisingly good reading experience. I don’t use my iPad Mini to read on the subway in Seoul precisely because I see nobody else doing it. Tablets in that type of reading context are not that common. So I read on my phone. And I jump between books. I am that kind of reader. Five or six going at any given time. Histories mostly for the commute. Professional reading for home or the library.

And I separate my reading into reading for enjoyment and reading for research (PhD or my role as faculty or any of the other research projects I work on). The reading for enjoyment is almost always history, in any shape or form. I am on a tear with British history, mostly because I desperately miss London. In fact, the quote I desperately wanted to share was from one of these British histories. So I will list them below. I buy most of my ebooks through Amazon, although I know I shouldn’t considering the file formats they use and the occasional DRM. But it is easy and it magically syncs across all my devices, quite useful for reading on commutes. I own about ten paper books anymore, all for PhD research, as moving seven times in the last 12 years (almost all international moves) has made paper collections untenable.

For the record (as you may have already guessed), I believe in reading. I sincerely doubt there are many good writers who aren’t also good readers. I doubt there are many profound thinkers (or that ridiculous “thought leader” terminology) who aren’t also good readers. You never know how something you read will enter your active thinking, but it will. It bubbles up in new ideas and fresh takes on familiar problems. It leads to discovery, all of it being sewn into a fabric of consciousness. So read often, I guess is my point.

Reading List: History

Inglis, Lucy (2013-09-05). Georgian London: Into the Streets (Kindle Locations 2306-2307). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

This was the book with the quote that triggered this post in the first place. It refers to the Foundling Hospital, a children’s home established for the “education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children.” Not really a hospital as we would know it today, but more of a home for disadvantaged children. The quote below speaks to the stigma that would be attached (even self-applied) to the children of the home, abandoned more often than not by their parents. It speaks to owning the fates or circumstances that would otherwise destroy you, to making these work for you. It is wickedly simple and useful for everyone, everywhere.

The pride those involved felt in the institution was reflected in the instructions drawn up by the governors, in 1754, for those about to leave: ‘Be not ashamed that you were bred in this Hospital. Own it.’

Ackroyd, Peter (2010-04-21). Shakespeare: The Biography (Kindle Locations 3684-3686). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Neff, Robert (2013-07-11). Letters from Joseon: 19th Century Korea through the Eyes of an American Ambassador’s Wife (Kindle Locations 180-182). Seoul Selection. Kindle Edition.

Stewart, Amy; Stewart, Amy (2013-03-19). The Drunken Botanist (Kindle Locations 300-302). Algonquin Books. Kindle Edition.

Educational, Pedagogical, Professional Research

These am I reading along with dozens of journal articles and data tables, etc. for work or for my research (whether for the PhD or other projects). I am working on a few ideas for sound projects in mobile learning and want to get closer to the physiological processes that occur in the mind with sound and music. So I am reading a few of these type works. I am also plowing through the normal research methods works to get a handle on my methodology for my PhD, which is set but is always open to refinement. I am not directly using Vygotsky in my research (but it its in there in spirit), but still feel the need to read more on his application to research if only to sound more intelligent.

Patel, Aniruddh D. (2010-05-03). Music, Language, and the Brain (Kindle Locations 535-538). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Fenwick, Tara; Edwards, Richard; Sawchuk, Peter (2011-07-19). Emerging Approaches to Educational Research: Tracing the Socio-Material (Kindle Locations 3896-3898). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Daniels, Harry (2008-12-30). Vygotsky and Research (p. 10). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

Kress, Gunther (2009-12-05). Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication (p. 28). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

This one I keep returning to (it is never far from my devices as I reference it often) as it is a big part of my research and because it provides a more suitable definition of mobile learning than the more technologically-driven approaches that dot the reading landscape. Bolded is mine as I think these two attributes are quite important for mobile learning.

In my view, mobility is in part both an expression and an effect of larger-scale social moves towards instability and provisionality. Mobility tends to be discussed in terms of the affordances of currently available technologies: physically portable and hence physically mobile as hand-held devices of various kinds; and lending communicational mobility through the fast increasing range of features of the (former) mobile phone.

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