Remember how I did so well posting in December? I sure thought it would last, that I had my blogging mojo back, but then the winter blues set in and, every time I opened the laptop, I found I didn't have it in me to write anything just then. Luckily, today was a glorious day in Seattle and I've felt happy and productive all day. Therefore, I'm taking this chance to start playing catch-up with reviews.
The first book I read this year was The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller. It got me started on my goal to read more non-fiction this year and it also helped to remind me why I choose some of the books that I do and how I should go about choosing what I read in the future.
The premise of Miller's book is that he had pretty much stopped reading much and/or anything of quality and so, for self-improvement and a change of habit, he made a list (originally thirteen books) of books that he had always wanted to read and that he thought he should read ... because, in a lot of cases, he had already told people that he had read them. This book follows his journey through those books and also delves into his thoughts on reading, Dan Brown, book clubs, and more.
|"However, what I really got from reading was this: it was the one thing at which I truly excelled."|
I loved the parts of this book that told how Andy developed his love of reading as a child and the stories of the times he met Douglas Adams. I enjoyed hearing about how he finally fit reading back into his life after he became a parent. I also found it useful when he explained his process of how to chose which books to read. I've only read 9 1/2 (stupid Moby Dick) of his list of fifty books and only intend on reading 4 or 5 others but he doesn't advocate that everyone read the exact same books he did. He thinks (as I do) that a list like this is personal. You don't have to read books that are uninteresting or distasteful. Instead, read the books that you have always meant to get to, the ones that will fill in the gaps in your own web of literature.
The second appendix of this book is a list called The Hundred Books Which Influenced Me Most. I love this idea and am planning on assembling such a list of my own. If I ever get it done, I think it will make it obvious which books I should place on the next list -- Books I Still Intend to Read. I've tried in the past to co-opt other lists (e.g. 1001 Books to Read Before You Die) but I start feeling guilty as I mark books as "will never read" because they are simply ones I have zero interest in. To make my own list, one that changes as I change and as I read more and more throughout life (and as more lovely books are written, of course), seems far superior to giving in to the tastes of others.
Also reading dangerously,