I haven’t paid much attention to the lists feature on Twitter since it was first introduced, but randomly the other day I took a quick peek at the ones that I’ve been included on by other tweeps. After getting over the initial bewilderment that accompanied the idea of people actually having any interest in the things which my keyboard produces, I couldn’t help but notice the rather eclectic nature of that grouping of lists. Maybe I’m blind to my own attributes, but while not necessarily inaccurate descriptions none of them are really things I’d personally have used to categorize myself.
With the exception, of course, of the “avid reader” because acceptance is good for the soul and I’m pretty sure I have an addiction. Seriously, though, I grew up with a firm appreciation of all things literary. My grandmother is a reader of epic proportions and she’s done her level best to impart this trait onto all of her offspring. Of all of her grandchildren, I’ve lucked out the most in this because my father is without a doubt her biggest success in the category of well read. Between both of their personal libraries I always had some book to fall back on if I ran out of a stash of my own and considering how often the library and used book store were visited that is saying something. I’m vaguely sure that my grandmother would attempt to provide me with a full year’s worth of reading each Christmas because it was never complete without the obligatory BAG of books. Once for my birthday she took me shopping to pick out books and I was so overwhelmed believing I should only pick out a handful or so and desperately trying to choose. Nanny was having none of that; she walked up to a shelf, stuck her arm behind the stack, knocked it all into my arms (well, mostly the floor) and announced that we were taking the whole lot to the clerk behind the counter.
So, it’s hardly surprising that decades later I’m still reading away. I admit, I spend a good deal of hard earned cash dollars American buying books and were it not for the local library, bookswap, and lending from friends I’d most assuredly spend even more. In fact, I have to limit my exposure to AbeBooks and eBay because cheap books are my kryptonite.
However, I have discovered that all this reading is really only fun if you can do more with it, which is why I’ve taken up two things that allow me to learn and grow, both as a reader and beyond. One was joining a new book group. I’ve had some very bad luck with book groups in the past. Mostly, they just don’t bother to really talk about a book. (Contrary to popular belief “it was good” is not a critique.) But this particular one was recommended my friend Grace, on whose opinion I sincerely trust in this regard, and she vehemently endorsed their willingness to discuss the books they read. I’m quite happy.
The second is probably more obvious to those of you who’ve happened upon this blog for any amount of time: blogging of book reviews. Or possibly more accurately “rambling about books on my blog.” Book blogging was the second big thing that I really focused on when I began blogging. (The first would be Dolly and guide dogs in general.) It kind of came about sort of randomly back when I was still a slave to LiveJournal. I saw a good portion of my friends’ list posting movie reviews or pontificating on a specific episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought: “I could do that!” And I did. But for as much as I enjoy me some good TV and the occasional flick, it very quickly began to feel like a chore. Then I happened across a book review website and voila! there was my niche. Not from lack of interest, blogging about books has become somewhat lax of late. No surprise considering my whole avoiding my to be read pile and other subsequent distractions (*ahem*). Whether others may have noticed the absence is irrelevant because it has been very obvious to me. And this is not only due to the growing number of ARCs and free giveaways that are begging to be rambled about.
I don’t really subscribe to the idea of New Year’s resolutions; I feel that self-evaluation and goal-setting can and should happen all year. Last year, I made the effort of whittling down my to be read pile be my resolution and goal. (Which was a fail/success depending on how you look at it — I go with success.) By extension this year my goal will be to more actively review and blog about those books which strike me as worthy of such. I’m not setting a specific number or frequency because that will surely kill all the fun. I’ll let the books and my mood decide for me.
By the way, you need not worry about Yara. She and I have an understanding; she’s really the star of this blog and I have been made fully aware of this.