When I first joined Education Sector, I was introduced to the ritual of the Weekly Report. Even in a small organization, it can be hard to know what everyone is doing. So each Friday, everyone on the team writes a short email outlining the major events and accomplishments of the past week.
The best part of the weeklies has always been the last section, called WWR – What We’re Reading. In a sentence or two, we all share what’s on our bedside table or loaded on our Kindle. WWR apparently dates to the very earliest days of the organization, and I don’t know whether it was Tom Toch or Andy Rotherham or Bill Tucker who first introduced the idea, but it has had an outsized impact on how we all see each other.
I was nervous at first that I was frankly going to have to lie to impress this smart group: “This week, I finished a little Proust and now I’m tackling The Brothers Karamzov.” So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is a place where people just tell what they’re actually reading.
Chad Aldeman did go on a Dickens kick a few years ago. Our grad school interns sometimes have to list their statistics book as their only reading for the week. And many of us have reading lists that track what our book groups are reading. But you’re likely to see books from the best seller list at least as often as from the Great Books canon.
Kevin Carey turned his reading of Game of Thrones into a series of blog posts during the summer he was home on paternity leave. (And, ahem, made what I believe is a completely incorrect assumption about Jon Snow’s parentage, although I guess we’ll have to wait for George RR Martin to finish the series before we know for sure.) Everyone loved Cutting for Stone except Mandy Zatynski, who is diligently slogging to finish it. Sadly, I was unable to get anyone else to love or even LIKE Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. (Which was also true in my book group. How did it get to be a best seller anyway?)
So during the summer, I’m going to bring WWR to the blog. If you like the idea, join in and tell us in the comments what you’re reading. Or make suggestions about other books people might love. (Here’s a place to start: Geraldine Brooks lovers seem to also adore Ann Patchett.)
This week, here’s some of what we’re reading:
Susan Headden is reading Canada, by Richard Ford. Intern Allison Schulhof is reading Game of Thrones. I’m into The Great House (for book group) and rereading the third Hunger Games book on the commute. Sharon Cannon just finished Crossing the Borders of Time. She says it’s one of those books you read slower and slower because you never want it to end.
More on what we’re reading next week. Meanwhile – you?