Reading More of the Same

I knew there was something I wanted to say yesterday that I forgot…

I was thinking about Dunn’s The Sixth Wife, and all the books about Henry VIII, his wives and children I’ve read over the years, fiction and non-fiction, in conjunction with the article in Newsweek. As with re-reading, I read many different books on the same subject for a few different reasons. In the case of more of the same, every writer comes at the same set of facts in a different way, giving differing weights to different pieces of information, so that reading different books on the same subject is like playing with a kaleidoscope. The colors are all the same, but the patterns they make change. 

By reading different writers on the same subject, I’m more likely to build up a fairly accurate picture of the subject. Robin Abrahams, who writes the Miss Conduct column for the Boston Globe, has a post on her website that supports my feeling about my accuracy. Essentially, I’m crowdsourcing through my reading.

Of course, it helps to be seriously interested in the subject. I have a mild interest in any number of things, but a passionate interest in very few. I’m unlikely to do a lot of in-depth reading on my mild interests. So my understanding of those things will be hampered. I can live with that: so many books, so little time…

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