Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Associative Reading?

I've spent the past few days immersed in book blogs; entering a world where a passion of all things books runs rampant.  The bloggers are from all ages and backgrounds and choose to spend their time blogging about what they are currently reading, what they have read and what they plan to read.  About where and how they store their treasures.  About "bookish" days where hours are spent perusing book stores and of course, buying books.  They also blog about the self control needed not to buy books and many have signed up for the TBR challenge to help reduce the amount of un-read books. And there are muses about preferences: male vs female authors, e-book vs hard copy, write in books or not, etc. etc.

While overwhelming, it is exciting to find a group of like-minded people...who love and appreciate books.  Who learn from them.  Who want to broaden their horizons.  Who like talking about them.  They seem to be a safe and welcoming group.

One blogger is reading A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel.  I found her post and quotes from the book interesting so while at the library, I picked it up and another book of his, A Reading Diary.  I started this one first as the purpose of the book intrigued me.  Essentially he re-read his favorite books over a year and kept a diary of his thoughts.  It is interesting to see how this well-read reader was reminded of other books, settings, characters, quotes while reading, creating his own "mini" anthology.  He also wrote about how the characters, themes or setting related to his life and/or current events.  I jotted down references to over 30 quotes from this small book.  (I am one who writes in books and was forever having to restrain myself from the usual dog-ear, underline, margin writing.  I need to buy this book!)

He likes lists, as do I, and after writing down the 10 books that were by his bed, he wrote:

"Each of these books capriciously influences my reading of the one next to it.  Is all reading associative reading?"

YES, I say to myself and out loud.  I am the perfect example.  I have been "listening" to book lovers talk about books on their blogs and now I want to read what book lovers have written for their fellow book lovers.  And one perspective is not enough.  Which is why I have a whole list of blogs that I peruse as each person has their own "voice", preference and perspective.  Taken individually, it is a bit "thin" for lack of better word but taken as a group, wow - enlightening, enriching, interesting.  It is like a smorgesboard where I can pick and choose - what I like.  What helps.  What I agree with.  What I can learn.

My own list of books checked out on the same day bears witness that for me, reading is associative.

A Reading Diary by Alberto Manguel
A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel
Leave me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan
the bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Every Book It's Reader by Nicholas Basbanes

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, I'll have to check into the books by Alberto Manguel.