09 February 2015

Reading the World

This article both inspires, interests, and frustrates me. It certainly reminds me how much I've neglected this blog, for instance. As I've been trying to figure out my job/life situation, I had intended to try doing more writing here as a way of, well, trying out other kinds of writing. But I haven't devoted much time to that, in large part because I continue to (try to) work on academic research. And aside from a handful of translations and a few free reviews for other websites, I haven't done much in the way of actively trying to pursue other kinds of writing.

I have been grousing about the growing popularity of books about books; where people set themselves some kind of arbitrary reading list and then chronicle the process of completing it. This is partly because I am more interested in reading the books themselves, rather than some random person's impressions of them. What makes their thoughts so interesting, eh? It doesn't help that their reading lists are often fairly random or insipid. But of course, what I am probably more frustrated by is that they're doing it (and getting paid to do it) and I'm not.

The thing is, Ann Morgan's project -- reading one books from every country -- really appeals to me. It's not just that it's a more interesting variant of the books-on-books theme: it actually seems like a worthwhile and thought-provoking exercise in its own right. What is more, her blog, A Year of Reading the World, is well-written, and uses the discussions of particular texts and springboards into all kinds of fascinating questions, suggesting that her thoughts might be very interesting indeed. Her book, she explains, is not a pithy summary or review of each book, but an exploration of how the book changed her way of thinking. To quote: "I wanted to explore how reading the world can remake us as people and challenge the assumptions that we all grow up with, wherever we’re from. And I wanted to examine why storytelling matters to us and how it has shaped the lives of many of the people I encountered during my quest." This is a description that actually makes me want to read the book. And it's also the kind of thing I would love to think and write about. It scratches at all my contemplations of what kind of writing I really want to do in life, not to mention what kind of writing I'm actually good at. To top it off, the article I link to above discusses the kinds of community that Morgan found while working on the project, and the opportunities that came her way because of it, and it all just makes me very, very jealous.

Harrumph. I wonder if someone would at least pay me to review the book...

2 comments:

cbk said...

Are you saying that my book idea for an anti-Godardienne to plow through JLG's entire oeuvre isn't a good idea? I think there might be an audience of people who would rather be spared this slog of watching them all themselves, even among bona fide Godard fans.

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