There Is No Good Filter For My Eclectic Reading List

It’s Saturday morning and therefore one of the most luxurious days of the week for me. I woke up sans alarm at 7:15, fell back asleep for fifteen more minutes, then motored off to Starbuck’s to replenish my bean supply and get a ready-made cup of wake-up fuel.

Back home, I began trying to catch up on all of the auto-collected stories and articles that had been accumulating during the week. For the next hour and a half, I sat on the deck and read articles on making war movies, germ theory, the arc of innovation, a story about a reporter’s Bernese Mountain Dog, and how the British now can make brewed tea with a specially designed gadget in their armoured vehicles because the Germans in WWII kept killing them when they’d stop and get out of their tanks to brew tea on the roadside, etc.

It’s a collection of reading material that is nothing if not eclectic. And therein lies the problem. I read for the pure pleasure of it. It ranks 2nd or 3rd in my top most enjoyable activities in life. And yet, it’s a little depressing too. There’s so much out there to read, so much to learn, to know, to be exposed to…

A few weeks ago, I discovered and began using a combination of web-services and connected apps to crawl through various sites that generate content I might wish to consume, and collect it for me into one place to peruse at my leisure. I read a lot! I mean a hell of a lot! But I cannot keep up. Having read six or seven articles this morning, there are eighty-eight…EIGHTY-EIGHT…88…still to read. Damn! I feel guilty as hell to delete even one of them without at least a quick, speed-reading glance, but at a rate of one article read every fifteen or twenty minutes, it will take me twenty-nine and one-third hours to read the ones still left.

That realization makes me yearn for a better system to gather the material, but maybe with a little more ”filtering”, kind of like when I’m looking at an item on Amazon, the site is kind enough to inform me, ”customers who looked at the item you’re looking at ultimately bought X…” or, similar to the way Netflix makes suggestions about movies I might want to watch based on my previous selections and ratings. That would be cool…

Or would it? What kind of filter could ever have put together my reading list this morning? What kind of relationship is there between tea brewed by soldiers in a tank, and the 2,4-D herbicide that started the Green Revolution among Iowa corn farmers that has led to the most plenteous and cheap food production of all time and has contributed to this country’s obesity epidemic?

I guess I’ll have to keep using the one filter that can amalgamate and make sense out of all this motley collection, my own brain. How do you decide what to read? What to follow? What to pay attention to?

Hey, one of my apps just signaled on my iPhone that another article just arrived, number 89, titled, Breaking up with Facebook. That sounds interesting. Let’s see, that’ll push me to twenty-nine and a half hours…