When I first began this blog, I thought I was attempting to convince other people to read brilliant books. But, after years of purposefully not promoting the blog, of not mentioning it to friends, of not talking about it even with family – in short, of not using the blog to convince anyone of anything – I realize that sharing books can’t be the actual reason I write here.
After six years, I don’t feel like my reading is complete unless I write. A book someone else has written is not over for me until I write two paragraphs about it afterward. Like a small, personal, post script. A way to figure out, at least partially, what I thought. I now read with the practice of filing away vague thoughts and feelings to analyze later in front of the screen. If I didn’t make those fleeting thoughts concrete, I fear they might just fall away, forgotten. I can hardly distinguish books in my memory before I started this blog. Now, I have my opinions quantified and on-hand if ever I need them.
More even than a thinking tool, this blog is a diary told in the guise of reading experiences. It is a memory enhancement device that I reread periodically, perusing the emotions and lessons of this or that time through the tone I use in each piece. You probably wouldn’t be able to pick out specific life events by reading entries (since I systematically delete what has to do with my personal life), but they serve as a reminder to me. My posts are coded pieces that link each book to myself at that time, because you can never read (or write) without bringing yourself to the page.
I’m not going to lie anymore. This blog is clearly not for the reader; it’s for me. Part thinking tool, motivational technique, diary, writing practice. If you do choose to read a book after stopping by, you are more than welcome to it. But be aware that my recommendations are colored with personal experiences, and the reviews are far from unbiased.
So, here’s my reflection on the past year of reading, in the form of categories and awards:
Most Recommended: Neapolitan Quartet by Elaina Ferrante
Most Enjoyable reading experience: Purity by Franzen
Personal Favorite Post: Marry Me by Dan Rhodes
Most Humorous: The Martian by Weir
Most Earnest: the life changing magic of tidying up by Kondo