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The books for the diploma course have arrived, and what am I doing? After flipping through them, I go online to find lectures the authors have given. For example, I watched Stephen Pinker on Authors@Google talk about why we use swearwords. (This was to promote his book, The Stuff of Thought.)

I’m procrastinating the inevitable, actually reading The Language Instinct by Pinker, which by all accounts and first impressions is a great book. But it’s over 500 pages! It’s been a while since I’ve had to get intimate with research to the point of being able to reproduce it when cornered in an exam. I generally read non-fiction for pleasure, and take my time, enjoying the reading process, rather than taking an instrumental approach to reading. Generally there’s nobody telling me I have to actually finish the book, or who is going to test me on it.

For work, it’s dipping in and carving out the filet pieces in a book and then serving them up on a neat little platter. But that takes the joy out of reading, tunneling through books, searching for the beef. On this course I’m going to take things more lightly and just read and enjoy the stray thoughts that come and go, rather than worry too much.