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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

The Book Chooses Me

If I read three books before January 1, 2011, I’ll have read 30 books in 12 months. This would crush my previous record of 23. Asia suggested I read a few thin books — some Julian Barnes or John Banville — and I had thougth the same thing. But there’s a problem with this plan.

The books I read choose me, not the other way around. There’s something about a book that grabs me because of its words, its title, the author, even the cover or the size (not to mention the first paragraph, which I always read before I read the back-cover blurb).

I’ve read 27 books this year because I’ve liked the stories and their authors. Several of them were LONG books (The Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin, to name two 200,000+ word books), and a few were short. The link between the two is quality, of course, but a further connection is how the books found me. I have often said how I have to be “in a the mood” to read a certain book. That, I believe, is true. It took me three tries to read Proust’s Swann’s Way, and I’ve begun Dickens’s Bleak House four times but have not gotten further than page 150.

Did these examples of success and failure “choose” me at the time of the earlier reading attempts? I don’t think so. I was pushing, trying to hard, or reading “because this is a book I need to read.” Jesus-Maria … if you’re going to begin reading on that note, a big hurdle lies ahead.

So… what has chosen me on this Dec 1, 2010?

Peter Ackroyd’s English Music is the story of a man who holds the power to see art and literature as “music.” The book is 400 pages. Three more books in four weeks? No problem. If I’ve read 27 in 11 months, 3 more in one seems a breeze. Hell, all I seem to do is tool around Prague from one end to the other.

Of course, I’ve written four-fifths of a novel this year, too. 😉

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