Sunday, March 04, 2007

Redirection and Reintroduction

I've decided to redirect this blog, since it wasn't getting much use as a "real life" blog, and convert it into a book review blog. Basically, I've started reading again, after a long dry spell where I thought that I couldn't reconcile Reading For Fun and Higher Education. Inevitably, Higher Education would win out, and I'd spend the school year studying, and thinking wistfully about all the books accumulating in the library that were just crying out for someone ( to read them. It was making me flat-out sad, to the point where the whole "libraries calling my name" thing eventually won out and I caved and got a new library card.

I've been reading for as long as I can remember, really. My parents taught me how, back when I was three - ostensibly because that's what Indian parents do, try to have their kids out-prodigy one another. I knew better; it was really so they wouldn't have to put up with the incessant "Read me a story!" commands coming from me. Because, of course, when I was growing up, there were innumerable television campaigns about the importance of Reading To Your Children and how Books Are A Gateway For The Imagination1, and I watched those campaigns and believed. My parents just rolled their eyes, and told me, "You know how to read, you don't need us to read to you."

I'm not really sure where my bookworm gene comes from, to be honest. My mother claims to love to read...books, she says. But I've only ever seen her reading magazines, and I'm just snobby enough to not allow those to count. Trashy romance novels? Totally count as reading a book. But the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens? While it's a fine publication, it's not a book, or even a collection of short stories.2 At least my dad is open about his dislike of all things literary - he claims he's "allergic" to the printed word, and flat out refuses to read anything - book, magazine, newspaper - unless required. So I think he's been completely stumped by his daughter, the one who won "Class Bookworm" awards all through elementary school, the one who not only likes to read, but will willingly re-read books.

As to what sorts of books I read - anything goes, really. As long as it's fiction, that is, although I make exceptions for humorous personal memoir types and the occasional biography. I go through phases, as well, generally depending on the time of the year - if it's during the school year, I prefer reading something light, something fast. Whereas if it's vacation time, I don't mind going for something more dense, that might take me more than a couple of days to finish. Because that's a bad habit of mine, you see, if I like a book, I have a hard time doing anything else until I finish reading it, so I won't get my school reading done if I get caught up in a longer, slower read. And, quite frankly, at this point in my life, I think enough with all my schoolwork, and I have to take a break from all that brain activity some time.3 Reading War and Peace is not going to give me that break, as much as I know that I probably should read it. Maybe one day I'll get around to it, but it's not going to happen anytime soon.

I also feel like I should make a disclaimer here: I don't write fiction. I feel like most avid readers are also writers, and I've tried (and I still try occasionally), but I was always more into the reading than the writing aspect of things growing up, and it never really occurred to me to put the stories that were floating around in my head down on paper. And it's hard to get into that habit and make time for it when you're older and set in your ways and have other things occupying your days. So it feels a little weird to be reviewing books without writing anything myself and being on the receiving end, and I guess I wanted to explain that a little bit.

Anyway, I think this is a pretty long introductory post, so I'll leave it at that. I'll try to put up at least one review a week; we'll see how well I can stick to that schedule.

1 - I capitalize because I love. And agree.
2 - Like I said - I'm a snob. Sort of.
3 - Med school is a lot of reading, parsing, and memorizing, for hours on end, at least in the first two years anyway.