Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity
Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought
Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett, Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology
Gaelle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property
James C. Scott, “Scott’s Law of Anarchist Calisthenics,” Powision #11

One way to proceed with reading five texts at once is to read the Table of Contents and conclusion of each book first, taking notes. Think of any connections that bring the texts together or separate them, but otherwise maintain a sense of chaos — that you don’t know why you are reading five texts at once and you cannot know what will come of this exercise. Then begin selecting chapters of each as suits your fancy, taking notes.

Perhaps some new insights emerge by combining books that are not obviously on the same topics. Perhaps your reading structures your thinking in ways you are not aware of, ways that will only emerge in conversations with friends and colleagues in the near future.

Selecting which five books to read might just be a consequence of chance and keyword search, or it might emerge as a consequence of beginning with one book and then branching off to others that are cited or otherwise relevant. Who knows? The point is to have fun with it. Listen to some music while you’re in the thick of it; keep the television on silent playing an old movie; keep the window open so you can see outside. Have a pot of coffee.

This is exploratory research. You aren’t putting together an academic essay. You’re just broadening your knowledge and developing your own subjective inheritance.

And perhaps most importantly: do it all in one day. Don’t draw it out over a week. Take fourteen hours and leave it at that. You won’t finish all five books. If one or two of them are really important to you, read them after you get some rest.