It is my by-weekly pleasure to go to the former Labyrinth Books (now Book Culture), trying to stay at the first floor and browse newly released history and social science books. The main purpose is to get a sense of what people are writing about these days, and hopefully to get inspired by books on the topics that have little relevance to my own areas of study. This is so far the best and most manageable way for me to keep in touch with recent publications. There are always fascinating books being published, which I should know of even if I cannot read them all. I tried reading book reviews, but reading English is still tiring and time-consuming for me, and I soon realized that I cannot keep up with book-review journals themselves. As an alternative method, I enjoy going to the bookstore, looking at beautiful front/back-covers, directly feeling books, and reading the inside as slow or fast as I wish. I guess I won’t get as much insight or information as by reading book reviews, but my priority now is not to stress myself out but find a way to continue keeping up. I usually end up spending $40-50 dollars every time, and that is why I regulate the frequency to once every two weeks. Today I bought: Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, by Barbara Ehrenreich, and Munck & Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics (a veeery interesting collection of interviews with 15 greatest political scientists of the day!!).
For Japanese books, I read 論座’s bookreviews, and keep requesting the books it introduces at the Starr Library here. I have no idea what I should look at regarding new Chinese and Korean publications. (I am assuming I will probably get to know canonical works in these languages when I get a chance to work with Taiwanese and Korean historians.) I will appreciate it very much if anyone can share with me a good source and method for this.