I’ve been reading articles in various volumes of the Annual Review of Anthropology.  These articles are reviews of the literature on a given topic.  The writers give a snapshot of trends and consensus.  In thinking about my year of reading anthropology, part of me wants to read as many of these reviews as possible thus creating a collection of snapshots.  The other part of me wishes to focus on a collection of related reviews and read as much of the referenced literature as possible.  As much as I am drawn to the latter choice, I believe I am at a stage where a survey of anthropology might be more appropriate.

Now it’s on to constructing a plan of study.  My initial premise is to read one review a week for a year.  That sounds vaguely reasonable given work and life and all that.  What remains is to figure out how I plan to digest the reading.  Each review could easily spawn months of reading.  I need a clear plan of approach.  Ok, I read the article and write a summary/notes.  Then what?  How do I blog about that experience?  Perhaps, I will be able to figure that out as I go along.  It seems if I try to get it all clear in my head before getting started then I will never get started.

As much as possible, I would like to lift what I can from the review on its face.  However, I imagine that as I read a variety of reviews, certain works will move to the front as essential background reading.  How do I fit those into my reading schedule?  Should the schedule be more flexible?  I think reading one review a week and writing “something” about it will have to be the baseline.  I will have to trust that something meaningful and enriching will come of that.  So, stick to the baseline and be flexible as far as other reading.

Which reviews do I read?  Do I set out the 52 reviews from the beginning or do I schedule them a few at a time? Do I set a tentative schedule of 52 reviews, but remain open to changing them around and/or switching one out for another?  I like the idea of getting a list together.  I hate the idea of being tied to a list, but I know there will be times when I would otherwise spend too long deciding what to read next.  So, I will make a tentative list of 52 reviews, but leave open making adjustments as I go along.

That’s my thinking so far.  Now I have to fight this notion that I have to commit this general plan before getting officially started.  I’m on a test drive.