Why I Blog About Books

Just the other day someone asked me, “why a blog about books?” I had a smart answer ready about the blogger set-up screen and form-anxiety. It was a quick answer and somewhat witty but it wasn’t entirely true. The real answer is somewhat more confused and along the lines of another question, “What else besides a blog about books?”

A wise man once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun. Everything is in vain.” That pretty much sums up life: you’re going to die. Death wins. Of course, Socrates-be-damned, I read that in a book. In a world full of lonely people trying to run backwards away from the one end they all have in common, it’s hard to beat writing, for the most romantic and exciting of all our vain endeavors (there is that other thing we do that works too, though). Books, you punch Death square in the teeth.

I’ve been somewhat amazed by the connectedness and sense of intellectual community that comes with reading my entire life. Some people read to be taken away somewhere else. Some read to be other people. Me, I read to feel larger, to remember things, people and places I haven’t had a chance to forget. Things, people and places – ideas – that really shouldn’t be forgotten, that really shouldn’t die.

Even an entertainment, even the purest drivel and doggerel or latest “graphic novel” puts a leg up over the void. It’s amazing.

I’m going to keep blogging about books and reading and somewhat amusing bookish things. And I’m going to keep on being a wise-ass about it. I hope you don’t mind. It’s better than sounding somewhat crazy.

Anyone else have crazy, half-baked notions about reading? You all know I’d love to hear them. Let ’em fly.

21 thoughts on “Why I Blog About Books

  1. This is a great post, Ian.

    I blog about books because I don’t think there’s anything else worth talking about, honestly. I had a job last year blogging about the film industry and about movies, but the older I get the less power visual media has to entrance me. I think it’s because I’m experience more and more movies on DVD, and visual media just isn’t instantly immersive–you need the dark room, the big screen, and nobody chatting on cell phones. At a certain point I lost the ability to be passionate enough to blog like I was supposed to. Fortunately I was able to quit that job to write full-time a few months ago.

    With reading, I need nothing but the words and I’m gone. Books have been my best friends and constant companions since I was a very little girl. When my husband suggested I blog about the books I read, it was a huge “aha!” moment. I mean, of course I want to write about what I’m reading. Of course I want to document my life in books.

    I also love what happens when readers get together. The time just flies by when readers get on the subject of books, and there’s nothing more delightful than when a fellow reader says, “I have a book to loan you.”

    My husband isn’t a reader, though he’s a literate, smart man. It’s just not how he chooses to relax, but we have other things in common so that’s okay.

  2. Thanks, Annie. I just had an awesome “readers get together” moment the other day. It was classic. One in the morning, at the pub, talking about James Joyce (who I’m afraid of reading).

  3. i’m so glad someone out there is blogging about books. its so hard to find something good to read these days.

    half the problem is sifting through the pile of not-so-great stuff in order to find the good stuff.

    i think you should have a ‘currently reading’ part as well as a recommendation of the week/month or whatever.

    just my $0.02

  4. Hey Rabsteen, I’m glad to hear I’m somewhat amusing and somewhat useful. I think I might take your suggestion up and start semi-regularly suggesting some books in sort of the same style I might recommend them to my friends. But with less swearing. And fewer hand gestures.

  5. I don’t believe you, Elliot. Why do you make this comment section a tangled web of lies. Why? Why?!

    …Okay, I believe you. Maybe.

  6. Thanks, Josh, and don’t worry, I’ll keep on truckin’ through musty used bookstores, bookstore bargain sections and (somewhat reluctantly) the local library.

  7. Fantastic… By nature I am a “word”ivore and I enjoyed the superb preparation laid out by you.
    Great post. Mesmerised for a while. Instead of writing about books you should start writing books. Best. Rajas

  8. Thanks, Rajas. I appreciate it. I think I’d do the world a big favor if I just stuck to blogging, though. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be mentally printing out your comment and placing it proudly on my inner-fridge.

    Welcome to Upper Fort Stewart.

  9. Weirdly enough, I’ve spent the last several years maintaining a blog somewhere on the Net, and it wasn’t until late last year that I thought about setting up a blog about books and reading. Oh well, better late than never.

    Reading just makes the day go by faster – that and it helps me connect with people. I love it.

    Sometimes I don’t feel like I can articulate what I think about such-and-such a topic that I read in a book, but at least it does get me thinking.

    That’s the short of it, anyway.

  10. Reading does make the day go by faster, you’re right. But that always winds up being a problem for me. I have no time for anything yet I try and fill it with everything. Reading is usually the last thing I feel comfortable putting on my list.

    …which just means I ignore my lawn and read a book anyway.

  11. “Puts a leg up over the void”! That’s really nice. I don’t generally think it’s a good idea to simply quote a writer back to the writer in a comment field, but, there, I’ve done it! Nice work.

  12. But…but…but, Will! the topic, man! The topic!

    Thanks, Will, I appreciate it.

    And thanks to you, David! I’m thrilled to have someone notice my somewhat amusing writing style (this is the second time now. wow). Thanks!

    Unfortunately, my head must now go on a diet. You take the good with the bad, I guess.

  13. ahhh you make us look so dull Ian!!! 😉 “Things, Places and People… ” thats all there is to know and remember … so true!!

    Ian may be you can start Ian’s book club and recommend books for your readers!! Yes, it’s like a breath of fresh air to read a blog about books, rather than reading a blog about adsense 😉

  14. Yes- another Ian Stuart- the only difference-a slight twist of the vowels .The first grown-up book I ever bought was ” the Ides of March” by Thornton Wilder.I was nine.Fifty odd years later I’m still at it, prowling the endless shelves in Borders, grubbing about in dusty second hand shops.I even WORK in a second hand bookshop from time .I get paid in books.

    A nice quote you might like:

    The best moments in reading are when you come across something- a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things- which you had thought special and peculiar to you. Now it is here, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone who is even long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.

    Alan Bennett- ” The History Boys”

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