Tuesday, July 10, 2012

As the Page Turns

I read a lot and I forget a lot, so I can reread a book a year later and find it new all over again. This has some advantages:
  • It saves money - don't have to buy the book again
  • It's a known good -- I wouldn't have kept the book if I hadn't liked it
  • It's convenient -- don't have to try to find something good to read
On the other hand, I kind of feel it's a waste of time and an indication of my decline. Usually about half way through the second reading, I have recalled enough of the story to make it pointless to plow on.

As a way to hammer a book into my memory, I've begun writing book reviews on amazon. com. I have now climbed to the staggering rank of 50,172 in Amazon's ranking of top reviewers. I find that when I reread  a review I've written, it brings the book back to mind. And it's kind of fun to watch the ranking numbers climb while collecting comments and "helpful" tick marks. My reviews are pretty brief and superficial, mostly about why I liked or didn't like the book -- not much meaningful analysis. I tend to focus on a critique of the writing with enough of a glimpse at the story to bring it to mind.

What have I read lately, but not yet reviewed?
  • Freedom   by Jonathan Franzen. This is a second reading because my book club has chosen it for this month and I can't recall enough of it to discuss. 
  • Another Kind of Cell by W. Paul Jones. Recommended by fellow book club member Sharon Harmon, a strange and compelling account of the relationship of a murderer and Roman Catholic monk.
  • Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges. A very intense and fascinating discourse on how we have come to delude ourselves and the consequences of those delusions. Convincing, powerful, and frightening.
  • The Good German by Joseph Kanon. Twice I have bought and read part way through this book, only to lose the book before finishing it. I don't normally lose books (yeah, I misplace them for a while, but they always turn up).  Both times I was traveling and the book was left behind and irretrievable. I tried to tell myself it was an omen; I wasn't meant to read the book. But, I couldn't shake the feeling of unfinished business and an intriguing story, so several years later, I broke down and bought a third copy, this time on my Kindle. I'm glad I did.
  • Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. When I'm really desperate for something simple to read and feeling overburdened by heavy thoughts, I turn to Maeve Binchy. She always offers an Irish holiday from the cares of my world. Her stories (and her writing style) are pretty sappy, but they serve the purpose.

No comments:

Post a Comment