I am writing a book blog because I read -- or listen to -- a lot of books.
I usually have at least three books going at a time. One of my great joys is listening to a good book while I do other things such as wander through the grocery store, drive to work, or fold laundry. I usually go through three to five audio books a week and I thank the Goddess of Good Reading for my local library that has a great collection of MP3 and WMA books.
Awhile back, I acquired an e-reader. I chose a Nook really for just one reason. I am profoundly uneasy with the idea of getting all my books and other reading material from a single source. Even if that source sells or otherwise provides everything that can be sold or provided. For reading, we must always have choices.
Unlike most of my bookish friends, I liked the concept of e-readers the moment I heard of it. For about the size and weight of a small notebook, I can have with me dozens, even hundreds of books to satisfy a momentary whim or look up a favorite quote. I can haul my entire library to the beach and never break a sweat. With that realization, it took me about three seconds to get over the book-in-my-hand-smell-of-the-paper thing.
Recently, I listened to Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson. I expected the book to be what a friend calls "oomi goomi" (I think the term is self-explanatory). It was not. It was full of genuinely good, concrete ideas for generating more good ideas.
One of the things I learned is that people in the 1800s read several books at a time and often kept notes on their readings in a kind of unrestrained, disorganized way with random thoughts flung helter-skelter over the page and often with a sprinkling of personal observations, shopping lists, and drawings. The unusual juxtaposition of ideas and disjointed thoughts - basically, the clutter of the page - actually inspired some great new thoughts, ideas, and inventions.
WaHoo! I am the Queen of Clutter and I am sure I can clutter up a page as well as anything else. I have started keeping a thoroughly disjointed notebook with great expectations. With the Nook enabling my inclination to read several books at a time, I can always have whatever I want to read right at hand. Bring on the ideas!
In my blogs, I plan to make it clear if I am listening to a book or reading it. The experience is different and, I think, significant. For example, I got hooked on Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Lady Detective series about an African woman who becomes the only lady detective in Botswana. The stories are enchanting; the characters are engaging, the incidental cultural insights are enlightening. What's not to like?
I gave sets of the books to friends who, by and large, were not able to work up much enthusiasm for them.
I think the difference was just that I listened to the stories as they were read by an accomplished actress with a lovely lilting voice who pronounced the name of every person and every place exactly right. The overall charm of the stories, I think, was greatly enhanced by the listening experience.
I like listening to fiction and seldom go back to listen to a fiction book a second time. That is not always true, but often enough that I am happy to use the library for fiction.
On the other hand, I like to read or listen to non-fiction books a second time and some times, several times. They are, therefore, generally a good investment.
So, I am blogging to share my thoughts on some of my favorite books. I hope this will be a place where other readers will come to share their comments, thoughts, and favorites as well.