Friday, May 23, 2014

Holly West on "Nine Book Experiences You Should Have Before You Die" at Do Some Damage, and a few of my own

I came across this POST by Holly West over on Do Some Damage a couple of days ago and thought it might be a good one to link to in the absence of a review here. But I've been too busy to even do that, until now. I liked her list a lot, and should probably add to the list in her comment field, but I'll just do it here.

Book reading experiences I think you should have before you die:

Slog through a book to the bitter end before you decide whether you love it or hate it. (Don Quixote, I'm looking at you. By the way, the progression was: hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate...wait a

(That's Picasso, folks. Because it takes a Spaniard to know a Spaniard)

Read a book in the wee hours of the morning when you're really supposed to be doing something else--like studying for a final. My aunt sent me a copy of Pride and Prejudice at a really inopportune moment in my academic career, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

My professor Mary Holmes said that the reason library stacks should be open and not closed is that it's never the book you're looking for that grabs you, it's the other one.

Always give at least a look at books that seem to come to you in an extremely random way. I was delighted to have read John Krich's Music in Every Room: Around the World in a Bad Mood when I was in Southeast Asia, for instance. Someone had left it on a table. Apparently just for me.

And if a book literally jumps off the shelf at you, stop what you're doing and TAKE A LOOK. Even if you just open to a random page.

Somewhat contrary to my first piece of advice, every once in awhile, give yourself permission to just stop reading something. If it's really worth it, it will probably come back round your way again.

Read a book in the company of friends. I know some people look down a little on book groups for a variety of reasons. (Personally, I think one of the reasons is misogyny, as for various reasons it seems to be more of feminine activity than a masculine one.) And sometimes I get tired myself of reading what other people want me to read. But reading and discussing together is a great bonding experience, and even if half the time you're talking about your kids or pets, there's always at least some time you're talking about the work of literature itself. And putting your minds together to talk about a creative work is a wonderful way to get to know other people and how they think.

Trust me.


  1. I've only recently become okay with putting a novel down permanently when I just can't get into it or don't like it for some reason.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Holly!

    I got around that dilemma fairly early on because I tend to read several things at the same time and don't always even notice when something has fallen by the wayside. I always assume I'll get back to it but often I don't.