Archive for May 13th, 2010

Reading, Have Read, To Read

May 13, 2010 @ 8:02 pm | Filed under:

Regarding I Capture the Castle, I’m aware I haven’t yet done more than gush about how much I liked it, without saying anything of substance about what I loved and why. If anyone wants to get the ball rolling in the comments of yesterday’s post, I’ll chime in when time permits.

(If you’ve missed that combox chat, the consensus seems to be that those of us who haven’t read Dodie Smith’s original The Hundred and One Dalmations are missing a real gem, and that the Disney movie can’t hold a candle to the book. So, yes, one more for the TBR Tower of Pisa. Yay!)

But tonight, instead of talking about the book, I’m going to talk about talking about the book. Hee. A funny thing happened with I Capture the Castle, and it gave me much to ponder about the slipperiness of a casual remark on the internet. Melissa H. commented:

Ironically, I bought this book last year during a trip to Powells in Portland based (I thought) on your recommendation. Now I’m realizing that I think you mentioned this book on your blog which got it on my list of books to buy/borrow but I hadn’t realized you hadn’t read it!

Melissa H. is not alone. Between the comments here and on Facebook, I think I counted half a dozen people who said the same thing! I had mentioned the book here as a book I was interested in reading—mentioned that more than once, which is probably what made it stick in people’s heads as a book I had recommended. Thank goodness I Capture the Castle IS a very good book. Imagine if I’d mentioned one that turned out to be a stinker, and all these nice people were reading it thinking I’d been enthusiastic about it.

Pondering the mixup, which I find both amusing and unsettling, I realized I run an even greater risk of unintentionally misdirecting folks with the book log in my sidebar. I (gasp) don’t like all the books I read. I only log the books I actually finish reading, but there are some novels I’ve stuck with doggedly just to see how the story turned out despite clunky writing or lackluster characters. But I wouldn’t say that in a post. I’m a writer and reader, not—decidedly not—a book reviewer. I post about the books I enjoy, or books that teach me something or make me think. I almost never write about a book I didn‘t like. Then again, I don’t have time to write about all the books I do like, so my silence about a title that appears in the book log can’t be read as a tacit thumbs-down.

Well, what I decided today was to move the book log out of the sidebar onto a separate page. If I manage to write a post about a book on the list, I’ll link to it there. (And there’s a link to the new page in the sidebar where the book log used to be.)

I’m also going to try to go back to writing my Booknotes posts, where I talk about what I’m in the middle of reading—somehow that kind of writing-about-books feels most natural to me. I’m reading something and thinking about it and that’s when I’m bubbling over with the urge to talk about it with other people, hear what they think. After I’m finished reading it, so often the urge is to hold it close, so to speak, in a sort of tender and protective embrace. (This is why I’ve yet to post about Otherwise, or Mockingbird, or Mare’s War, or The Perilous Gard, or The Gammage Cup, or American Born Chinese, or…oh dear, you see what I mean?)

It’s while I’m in the thick of a book that I long to gab, gab, gab. Of course that means there is the risk of getting people fired up about a book I ultimately feel meh about. I’m okay with that, though, if it means we can go on chatting about the books that grab us, even if sometimes we don’t stay grabbed.

(All those books I mentioned above? I stayed grabbed.)