As the World Wide Web opens the floor for anyone’s voice to be heard, literature is not exempt. This post is the first of a to-be-regular feature I’m calling “ProfoundNet.” Each post in this category features a blog post about literature or books, and each one has something to add (theory, practice, reflection, or scholarship) to the conversation.
For the first “ProfoundNet” selection, I have chosen the post “Moving On” from the blog “Of Books and Bikes.” In this post, the author muses about different methods for picking what to read. Is it impulse? necessity? recommendation? Is there method in the madness?
Unfortunately, the “top 100 books” list is no longer sufficient because there are so many of these lists. This post also raises interesting questions about reading multiple books at a time: should they be complementary? contrasting? drawn from a select number of genres?
And, most interestingly, the author asks what is at stake in the choice. Here’s a snippet:
I rarely find the choice easy. I make too big a deal of it, I know, but it sometimes seems that choosing a book is like making a statement about who I am. If someone comes along and asks me what I’m reading, what will they think of my choice? What will they assume about me?
I can empathize. When I take my car in for routine repairs, I usually take a book along to read while I wait. My choice of books is deliberate. If there are other patrons in the waiting area, I know that I will receive different glances if I am reading Harry Potter or Brothers Karamazov. So the big question becomes, am I the young adult in Rowling’s cult following or the intellectual snob today?
In less public situations, my method is fairly straightforward. Using a combination of recommendation, top 100 lists, and local availability, I keep a one page, two column list of books “To Read” in a MS Word document. I usually have one heavy and one light read going at a time. I like to jump from genre and time period to give myself some variety in style, but I also firmly stand by reading on a whim–if I have a sudden urge to read Alexandre Dumas, then Alexandre Dumas it is.
Thanks, Dorothy W., for a thought-provoking post.