At the beginning of this year I decided that I was going to give up recording my reading on Goodreads. I have failed. I am a GoodReads addict.
When I was a kid, I was a casual list keeper, including one of all the books I read. I say casual because after an earnest beginning, faithfully writing down every title I read, I would forget my list until months later when I would call on my powers of recall and I would try to add to it again. Inadvertently, I would lose my list (probably my incredibly neat mum would put it somewhere I could never imagine searching for it like my own desk drawers) and after some time I just gave up on my list keeping. That is, until 2007, when I discovered the social aspect of list keeping. This is the only lifelogging I take part in. I don’t have map my runs (haha – make that walks), I don’t have a fitness logger (I probably should) but I do map my reading. Continue reading
I took Julia Quinn’s The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy to my bookclub meeting on the weekend and it caused a huge argument between myself and another member of the group. When she saw my book she was all: I can tell from the shape of the book that it is a throwaway read; there is nothing to learn from romance; You read it, it’s there, it’s fun but don’t try to tell me that it has the depths of Kundera etc, etc. I’m paraphrasing here. This was from a closecloseclose friend with whom I regularly argue on many issues that affect our lives. I also think she was deliberately riling me as she knows that I jump to the bait or as my dad would say Πεταγεσαι σαν πορδος απ᾽το βρακη/You jump like a fart from undies. It was fun seeing other people around us unsure as to how to react to our shouting. I won’t go into my response or her counter-responses here, (except to say – how can you judge a book purely by its shape? ‘Tis the content not the container!) however, I LOVE and ADORE that it was not the discussion of other reading choices but the reading of romance that brought shouting and dissension. There were fists being shaken to the skies and the thumping of tables and turned heads from all around. If we had white gloves with us, there would have been a duel challenge! The cafe owners, thankfully, did not intervene.
Does it really matter which cover and shape I read?
I don’t think enough people get riled up enough over books to have pistols-at-dawn moments. I think this is what I love about some reading arguments (both online and offline). People getting angry over books. People being incensed by what others read, how they read, and where they find meaning. I certainly get incredibly angry at marginalising reading interests, judgmental statements about people’s reading choices, at assumptions of people having a lesser intelligence either because they do not enjoy reading or cannot read, and my blood absolutely boils when reader shaming is bandied about.
A big disappointment for me several years ago was seeing reading evangelist Neil Gaiman talk to a room full of librarians about the power of reading. I had read the transcript several months earlier and in my head I had a powerful, expressive voice driving home the importance of reading. Watching the video, I was crestfallen (and a tad bored). It was all very English and dignified, it was a measured speech completely lacking in any emotion. Some may say that this is how professional, mature people behave when delivering a speech to a room full of other professionals (and they might actually be right). Continue reading
At at glance, 2013 looks like a less productive reading year. My 20ish titles that I listed on GoodReads as opposed to my 367 the previous year would suggest that I haven’t been reading. However, it is that my reading habits have changed. After my huge glut last year, I decided to stand back from recording every title I read. There are about 30-40 picture books that I have not listed this year. I have listed all the novels I have read, yet even these have dropped in number. This can be attributed to several things.
Firstly, my fiction reading has diminished considerably since I upgraded my Masters research to a PhD. It is hard to dedicate myself to hefty tomes when I need to read through the history of collection development tomes. To add to that, I haven’t included all my academic books. My list would be much larger if I did. Continue reading
It is the National Year of Reading here in Australia and I have decided to read a book a day for the whole year. It’s already not boding well as it is the 3rd of January and I still haven’t posted anything. In my defense, I only thought of doing this today. I have already read 2 books so I only have to play catch up on one.
To add to this, I have also decided to join the Australian Womens Writers Reading and Reviewing Challenge so it will be an interesting year!