Reading and Cats


No this is not about cats reading, although that would be very cool.

I finally (after, if we are being polite – and we are – a rather byzantine process) got promoted to a Reader at work. How cool is that? My job title is now Reader – this must mean I get to read and everything.

Well yes, I do get to read. Many years ago when I first heard about such things as Readers I thought they must spend all day sitting on a comfy sofa reading through a huge mound of books with mugs of hot chocolate next to them – that seemed like a pretty good job to me. Well now I have the comfy sofa in my study, a ready supply of hot chocolate and the huge mound of books – and I am a Reader – pretty cool.


Yes, I do use a very long, old church pew as a book case – it works for me.

Many of the books here are on my ‘to read’ list and not the ‘read’ list. I bought them under the delusion that I actually have time to sit down and slowly read through books.

Actually I do spend all day reading, but this is either speed reading in preparation for classes or for arguments/information required for the various articles and books I am writing; or I am reading student drafts, peer reviewing other authors’ articles and book proposals, reading grant applications or editing work for a journal or one of the books I am working on. This is all good, but it is definitely a different type of reading.

Currently I am in the last throes of editing a book on early modern conversion – no really I know I keep saying this, but it should be done by the end of next week. In some ways I like editing books. This one is full of very interesting essays by a variety of scholars, some at the beginning of their career and some very established figures. Editing is a funny thing – some essays are perfect as they are and some you feel could be improved by reorganising the structure, emphasising  different elements or arguments, or including different examples etc. My work has previously been helped enormously by kind editors prepared to give the time to make suggestions to help improve it and I am really grateful for that so I am happy to do the same for others, but it does take quite a while.


The one thing I don’t like about editing is the formatting: making sure all the endnotes and bibliography are set out correctly – with all the commas in the right places; making sure the bibliography is correct – that no works, publishing details, page ranges etc are missing; everything is spelt correctly – not easy when there must be at least 12 languages represented in it; ensuring there is standard usage between articles; and worst of all making sure transcription systems are standardised – not something that is easy when you have scholars transcribing from Persian, Arabic, Ottoman Turkish and Georgian – none of which use the same system. I don’t have the right kind of mind for this type of work – James would be good at it – he has an eye for detail and is meticulous. I am a more big picture, wild dreams kind of person I think – which to be fair is why I start these projects in the first place.

Anyway, I am doing my best and I think it will be a good book – due to the work and effort of the contributors.

But what about the cats? Well not only do I not really get the time to sit and enjoy a reflective read, but my sofa is generally occupied by cats. How many can you see here?

Ho many cats.jpg

Look again …..


four cats.jpg

Seriously how cute is that? Five cats on one sofa – the two ginger scientists must have been out and about exploring …..or hanging out in campers’ awnings!



10 responses to “Reading and Cats

  1. Always love hearing about your work and your cats are beeauutiful. And very long! Mine have always been big (as in long) but also chubby. I missed the black kitty on the couch. Those black cats are really good at blending in with the environment. Very smart.

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