Yes, I’m starting a new blog, just about my reading habits. Habit? Is it a plural habit? I do read more than (way more than) one thing at a time, so perhaps it is. Anyhoo, I wanted to start a new thingee for the new year, and this is it. I have probably an average of 30 books checked out from my library at any one time, and that’s just on my card. On my daughter’s homeschool card, we’ve usually got another 50. Do I read them all? Well, yes, sometimes.
Other times, like now, I feel like I’m in a reading slump. I’m still reading, but nothing is grabbing me. I’ve started a few books and thought, Meh, and put them back down.
I only received one book for Christmas this year, which, frankly, feels quite bizarre. My family has always loaded up on books for Christmas, not just for me, but for everyone. In fact, I did give everyone else books for Christmas (except for my librarian, for whom I got a mug that says “Keep Calm and Ask A Librarian”).
The book I received is really interesting so far, so I’m not complaining. I’ve wanted it for a while now, like over a year, and my library didn’t have it (the horror!). It’s called The Economy of Prestige by James P. English, and it’s all about cultural prizes. Some are literary and some are artsy, but all are part of this popular culture economy that we’ve created. The Nobel Prize was created around 1900, and it was really the first and only big prize. Since then it’s exploded. English is not taking a stand on them being bad or good, just examining how they all came into existence and what’s that meant for our culture. Maybe it sounds very dry to you, but I’m interested in the prizes. I mean, haven’t you ever wondered? There have been times when I wanted some good recommendations, and thought I’d just go look at some prize lists, but there are literally hundreds of them! What are they all for? Best in terms of what? Who judges them? I have a friend who’s working through both the Hugo and the Nebula winners because he loves Sci-Fi (actually we’re in a sci-fi book group together), but he’s finding the lists very uneven in terms of quality.
Over the last year, I’ve gotten my most reliable reading recommendations from Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, of the podcast Books On The Nightstand. I do love to listen to reading/bookish podcasts, and so I’ve tried a lot of them. This is my favorite one. It’s weekly, the podcasters are two friends who work in the publishing industry, so they know a lot about books, and it’s only a half hour long, so they get in and out fast with no blather. I’ve gotten to know their tastes well enough that I know I’m pretty much going to like something if they recommend it. I also became a subscriber to Audiobooks.com because of their recommendations, and I like that they talk about which performers are good at audiobooks, because a rotten narrator can really ruin a story, whereas a good one can really bring a book to life. One of my favorite audiobooks is Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Lenny Henry, a comedian by profession, performs the book, and I wish he’d do more, because he is hilarious to listen to, the way he does all the different voices. Another favorite is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, performed by Stephen Briggs. Again with the variety of voices. Now whenever I think of certain characters, they are forever tied to those wonderful performances.
Then Michael and Ann did an episode with Simon Savidge, who was smart and funny, so I recently started listening to a couple podcasts he’s in: The Readers with Thomas and Gav, and a book club discussion, Hear…Read This, with Kate, Gav, and Rob. Simon also has a reading blog, Savidge Reads. These are all a lot of fun. Simon laughs a lot and I love that, he’s very joyous about reading.
So instead of reading like I usually do, I’m OD’ing on podcasts about reading. I think I go in cycles like this. Anyone else do this?