Reading list

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

As part of the general revitalization of my blog for NaBloPoMo, I’ve been trying to update the reading list on my site, which has fallen so far behind what I’m actually currently reading as to be laughable.

Rather stupidly, instead of just writing a blurb on my site every time I’ve finished a book, I’ve written a rough blurb in a text file with the intention of sprucing it up and then posting it to the site. Of course, the “sprucing up” rarely happens in reality, so I’ve been left with a text file containing a mess of book titles and half-blurbs, some of which now make very little sense because the books they relate to were read months and months ago.

My books list was originally meant to be just a “currently reading” list. I always intended to write longer reviews of the books, at least the ones that I really enjoyed. Back when Wordridden was still just a “personal site” and not a “blog”, some of the earliest things I wrote were reviews for books like Corelli’s Mandolin and longer articles about authors ranging from Umberto Eco to Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey (all of which were written in 2000, despite what the dates on the pages themselves say). And there have certainly been books I’ve read since my site made the transition to blog-hood—books like Lempriere’s Dictionary, the His Dark Materials trilogy and, goodness knows, my beloved Baroque Cycle—that deserved much more attention than the throw-away one-sentence blurbs I’ve given them. But somehow, I never got around to writing those reviews, and now I’ll have to go back and read the books again before I could write a review that would do them justice (and I fully intend to do just that).

I also always intended to keep the list up-to-date so that I could see exactly what I had read when (no, I don’t really know why—I’m just compulsive like that). I did okay with the first books on the list which I added back in 2002, but at some point, I stopped “reviewing” books on my site as I read them and instead wound up posting my mini-reviews in blocks of three or four. Yesterday alone I posted five little reviews, and when I finish posting up the reviews I still have left (there are 16 to go, not counting the book I’m reading right now—though I have a nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten one somewhere…), it will look like I managed to read about 20 books in the space of one month. I do read fast, but not that fast.

But even though my original, rather anal-retentive plan for my books list fell by the wayside long ago, I’m happy to have a chronological if not properly date-stamped record of all the books I’ve read since I started to keeping track five years ago. According to my records, I’ve read 89 books since May 2002. That figure counts trilogies (e.g., Lord of the Rings, the Baroque Cycle) as separate books and takes into account a few books mentioned in the mini-reviews themselves which I didn’t write separate reviews for (like Experiences in Translation, which I mention in the review for Mouse or Rat), but it doesn’t count all the academic books I had to read while doing my master’s degree between 2003 and 2005. Bearing in mind that some of the books I read were really long (according to Amazon, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel has 1024 pages, London: The Biography has 880 pages, and the entire Baroque Cycle is pushing 3000 pages), and some were just really hard (The Elegant Universe, I’m looking at you), I guess that’s not too bad.

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