Tuesday, January 14, 2014
the arbness of book lists
book lists, i really don't get them. whether it's 32 books that will change your life or 50 incredibly difficult books for extreme readers or the guardian's top 100 books of all time or just the list that my goodreads literary adventures group wants to read in 2014, they're all so subjective. tho' the guardian isn't as far off as the others. i mean, that 50 difficult books list doesn't even include ulysses. not even i, who have had an entire semester-long course devoted only to ulysses and wrote a 25 page paper on it, have finished the damn thing. then there's my own list of the 88 books i read in 2013 (+ 7 harry potter, which aren't on the list). it's not so much subjective as eclectic. and i'm not recommending that anyone else follow it. i just like that goodreads helps me keep track of what i've read. i'd never have remembered reading all those books. hell, at my age, i hardly remember yesterday.
that said, i do love the book lists on brainpickings. they're often recommendations by theme, like this one of 9 books on reading and writing. especially because no. 9, mortimer j. adler's how to read a book, advocates writing in books as you read them (something which i love to do), saying that it's even essential to do so (with apologies to denmark's libraries). or this one, on the year's best books on writing and creativity. or the best children's, illustrated and picture books of 2013. quality lists, thoughtfully composed, that i like.
my reading right now (and most of the time) is all over the place. i've spent far too long on this nick harkaway angelmaker book. it was recommended by the same bloggy friend who recommended edna farber's marvelous so big, so i had to read it, even if it wasn't the kind of book i'd normally read. it is very imaginative and well-written, with lovely and unique turns of phrase, and even features some steampunk machinery, which i love, but for some reason, i'm reading it at a snail's pace. and it's not going to help that liz gilbert's signature of all things just arrived via amazon today, as i'm going to want to dive right into that. and i have to, because in ten days, i have a book club meeting where we're going to discuss it (plus it was my idea to read it for the book club, so i'd better have finished it).
how do you decide what to read? do you read more than one book at a time (that's part of my problem)? does the internet get in the way of your reading? or does knitting? i recently listened to an audio book of a danish thriller while knitting but i wonder if that counts as reading? when do you read? i tend to read before going to sleep, but if i'm enthralled by a book, i read whenever i can. i also often read while i'm eating lunch. i also like to read in front of the fire in the evening, that's probably my favorite reading time, but that can also be social, family time, so i don't always get to indulge in that.
what are you reading right now? and what will you read next? will you consult a list?