We’re about to start a new year! In this post, I’d like to review some of the things that I’ve done on this blog and in my life in the year 2012, as well as discuss what I’ll be doing in 2013.
2012 was a good year for me, in terms of blogging. In February, for Black History Month, I blogged through Dean Kotlowski’s Nixon’s Civil Rights, something that I’ve been wanting to do for Black History Month since I first saw the book in the Cincinnati Public Library a few years ago. In March, which was Women’s History Month, I blogged through feminist Susan Faludi’s Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which (in my opinion) was an effective critique of conservative arguments regarding the pay gap between men and women in the workforce; I also read parts of a couple of books that were edited by conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, which contained mostly conservative voices, but one of them had a presentation that conveyed an interesting liberal perspective (see here). In April, which was National Autism Month, I blogged through The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, by Temple Grandin and Sean Barron. I tried to read this book in 2006 but I did not finish it (perhaps due to my own insecurity about my Asperger’s, my fear that I may be doing things wrong, my lack of interest in the topic, and my failure to identify with what the authors were saying), but I read all of it in 2012, and I found it to be a profitable experience. It was around that time that my WordPress blog started getting more followers.
I continued to blog through academic books on the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity, which I was reading in my attempt to come up with a dissertation topic, and also to beef up my knowledge. Near the end of the year, I changed my strategy for trying to find a dissertation topic, which entails actively seeking a topic rather than passively reading books. At that time, I started blogging through books that weren’t as relevant to biblical studies or antiquity, such as George Marsden’s excellent biography on Jonathan Edwards, as well as Paul Knitter’s book on religious pluralism. But I did continue to blog about a Psalm each week throughout 2012, as I drew from academic insights and thoughts from the History of Biblical Interpretation. I went through Psalms 58-109.
2012 was an election year, and I decided that it was time for me to read some political books that I wanted to read. For a long time, I had wanted to read Rick Santorum’s It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, and, since as a candidate he was appearing on television a lot, I thought that 2012 was a good year to do that! I had books by Newt Gingrich, and, since I admired his intelligence, I wanted to read about his solutions to issues involving health care and the environment. Along the way, I picked up Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, books by Ron Paul, Rick Perry’s controversial Fed Up, Mitt Romney’s No Apology, a biography of Mitt Romney, and autobiographies by Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. I evaluated what I considered to be the positives and negatives of what these politicians were saying, and, in the process, I learned a lot. I then went on to read left-leaning books, along with books on free trade, and one by Ed Dobson and Cal Thomas on the role of religion in politics.
This coming year, in 2013, my plan is to blog through books by and about Richard Nixon, since January 9, 2013 will be the centennial of his birth. I’ll start this project in January, after I finish M. Stanton Evans’ Clear and Present Dangers: A Conservative View of America’s Government. I’ll also be blogging through books that are about religion, spirituality, or self-help. I’m not ruling out the possibility of blogging through books by scholars, for I recently got an apologetics sort of book to which a conservative New Testament scholar contributed. Moreover, there will also be secondary literature that I will be reading in researching for my dissertation (though I most likely won’t tell my readers what my topic is, lest someone steal it). And, of course, I’ll be blogging through the Psalms. This will take me the whole year, for I’m planning to spend a week on each section of Psalm 119. I will also continue my practice of blogging about my church, both the services and also the Bible studies that I’ll attend.
In terms of other aspects of my life, I’m cutting down on the number of daily devotionals that I read. I’m sticking with My Daily Bread, and also my daily reading of Scripture. My reason for this is practical: I’ll be going to my sister’s wedding in Indiana this coming February, and I don’t want to pack too many books!
This year, on my WordPress blog, people clicked “like” on a number of my posts. I’ve appreciated that. This is the first year in which that happened, at least on so considerable a scale. Recently, that has dropped off significantly, but I’m still happy that people liked my posts during at least some of 2012! I’m trying to get used to having days in which nobody clicks “like” on my posts, which is hard after I have experienced months in which more than one person each day clicked “like” on what I wrote! But getting used to this will help me to prepare for this coming year, for I’m not exactly expecting for a lot of people to click “like” on my posts about Nixon! I’m doing my Year (or More) of Nixon for my own edification, since I am fascinated by the man and feel an affinity for him because he (like me) was an introvert. Many readers may not be interested in the nuances of Richard Nixon’s life. But, if you actually like those posts, feel free to click “like”! Moreover, whether people click “like” or not, I still think that my blog is a helpful source of information, at the very least for myself. There have been a number of times in which I have conducted searches on my blog to remind myself of what I read in a book a while back. My blog is also an indicator of my growth, or lack thereof.
Have a happy 2013!