Until a month ago I had only vague ideas about what I needed to be reading. After all, I had read a “Who’s Who” book and knew Weber and Durkheim were important. But looking at a lists of their various publications and I would have chosen at random and seen what happened from there. I also knew I was interested in religion and women’s studies.
Now that I’ve immersed myself in one sociologist, Georg Simmel, and seen what it is to just pick something at random and begin reading a challenging work, I decided to, well, not do that again. From my experience with the Philosophy of Money I’ve noticed two things.
1. It’s important to get expert’s opinions on what the themes are within an authors work, as well as his (or her) shortcomings and the contemporary applications. (Especially if you’re not being guided through this process by a professor, which as of yet, I’m not. Hopefully, sometime in the next year I’ll be able to find/ create a reading group that has similar goals to mine, and preferably contains more experienced people than I). This is why I read the Lewis Coser’s edited collection of essays about George Simmel which will be reviewed shortly and summarized on this blog.
2. Not all of an author’s works are created equal. I knew this from literature and art of course, but it’s easy to forget that into scientific fields that is true as well.
For the second reason I googled several terms which turned up this list of the 100 most influential sociology books of the century. (I’m pretty sure they are using the word “century” a tad loosely…) Since I’m a neophyte sociologist this list is going to provide my framework for study. If I can read 10 books a year from the list in the next 3 years (that’s 30 books) (along with appropriate commentary.) I will be content that I’ve acquired the knowledge that I wanted when I began this blog/ project in January.