Reading inspiration: Apocalypse Bookshelf

Oliver Burkeman’s article on reading ‘smart’ reminded me of my own approach – the Apocalypse Bookshelf. 

I love reading, but there are times I feel I’ve been focussing too much on a certain genre or two. I’m in a reading rut, which might be comfy, but is getting a little ‘samey’.

Inspiration comes from a challenge I set myself when working in libraries (it’s amazing what you think of when shelving books!).

Apocalypse Bookshelf
Pick a book…

The task is this…

Imagine this shelf, this random shelf I’m looking at now, is the last shelf of books on the planet.

(Cue mild bibliophile panic)

Now, pick a book and read it. 

Remember, this is one of the last books on the planet. One of the last chances to open a cover and be transported wheresoever the writer wanted to take their reader.

Sometimes, I’ll follow Lionel Shriver’s advice – the book is not ‘for me’, and reading time is precious, so I’ll take advantage of the fact it isn’t the last book, and move on to something else. 

Sometimes, you’re faced with a shelf of car manuals which, without a car to tinker with to add the practical input, don’t hold my attention for long.

Most of the time, however, I have the joy of learning something new, being inspired to try something myself, or just wallow in someone else’s experience. 

I’ve never made it through all the shelves in any library I’ve been in, as usually I get sucked into a new genre and follow the thread of synchronicity on to new books and new authors. It’s still my fix of choice for those days I have reading space and need new input.

Give it a go and let me know how it works for you 🙂

 

Archive treasures

From NLM Turning the Pages http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/app_turn_pages.html
From Snape’s Anatomy of the Horse courtesy of the NLM http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/app_turn_pages.html

 

Two colleagues and I were there to build ideas for our upcoming MOOC – more on that in a later post once all is good to go! We met with one of the archivists – a treasure herself – who had gathered some of the items associated with the vet school which she thought might inspire us.

There was much excitement – such that I couldn’t possibly convey by post. I can still see A standing with an item in their hand saying “that can’t possibly be part of a stethoscope!”, and the general air of unwrapping presents each time the archivist opened another box. 

I had to share the fun, so it’s become my first post to the blog 🙂

For more on the University Special Collections, see: http://edin.ac/1koMra5 or visit the brilliant Collect.ed exhibit currently on in the library (if you’re near Edinburgh!), see: http://edin.ac/1koPwXN for further details.