Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests





Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Very First Post on July 7. 2009-Why I Started The Reading Life

My very first Blog Post Three Years ago

The Core Theme of my blog is "Books about people who love reading and live, at least in part, a reading centered life"       I have been a constant reader all my life.   Many things have changed in my life over the years but reading has been a constant.    One of  the purposes of my blog is to try to share with those I can what reading means to me.    I expect a lot of the books I read.   


In 1973 I read Gravity's Rainbow and I became convinced that I would never read another novel I liked this much. I stopped reading new fiction at that point and began to read history, literary and royal biographies, and the great poets. I embarked on some large scale reading projects. I read all the novels of Charles Dickens, the complete Boswell Journals, the Diary of Samuel Pepy's, The Letters of Horace Walpole,  most of the Russian classics, and a good bit of Samuel Johnson. Thirty five years went by and almost the only nonclassic literature I read were subsequent books by Thomas Pynchon. Somehow about a three years  ago I got a news alert suggesting Roberto Bolano's Savage Detectives was a great book about people whose life has centered on reading, people that don't quite fit into life in an easy way.   I read the book and I loved it.   I then read 2666 and two other shorter works by Roberto Bolano. I had already began to follow a number of blogs on topics that interested me.      I subscribed to a growing number of book blogs. I learned from them to find 21th Century novels I would probably like.   So far two of those 21th century books read in 2009 are among my very favorite books, The Elegance of Hedgehogs and The Book Thief.      Both of these books dealt with how what I have come to call in my mind "The Reading Life" shapes a person and more largely the world we see.   So I decided to make the focus of my blog books that show people whose life is centered around reading. This has been a powerful theme in novels from Don Quixote, to Madame Bovary right up to the Elegance of Hedgehogs and The Book Thief.


Update July 7, 2012


I have deviated way away from original blog purpose but somewhere under all the 1100 + posts, it is still the core purpose of my blog.


 Mel u

6 comments:

Marg said...

I think it is fine to have deviated from your original purpose. I think one reason that some blogs do die is that their focus is so narrow that they don't give themselves any room to change and grow. I know I would be bored if I was still only doing what I was doing when I first started blogging!

Fred said...

mel u,

I think critters that survive do so because they adapt and change. I suspect blogs that survive, especially those that are not professional blogs, also change over time.

Changes can be in the subject or the method or manner of the blog. Or, as Marg just pointed out, it could be the focus which changes or widens or perhaps even narrows.

I started my blog because of Twitter. A friend persuaded me to join up and after several months, I found myself getting frustrated by the character limitation. So, I then explored the idea of a blog.
The rest is history, as the cliche goes.

I wonder what my blog will be a few years, if I last that long. What do you think yours will be in a few years?

Parrish Lantern said...

Hi Mel, I don't think you've deviated at all, I think that the act of focussing on the reading life has allowed you to constantly re-evaluate what it means to you & evolve following those lines, hence it's not a deviation but a progression. Alberto Manguel wrote in A Reader on Reading " The ideal Reader is the translator, able to follow to dissect the text, peel back the skin, slice down the marrow, follow each artery and each vein, and then set on its feet a whole new sentient being. The ideal Reader is not a taxidermist."

Caroline said...

I had no idea Gravit'y Rainbow had such an impact. I've only ever read the beginning but I thought it was amazing and I should take the time to re-read the beginning and finish it.
I haven't read The Elegance of the Hedgehog yet but I'm looking forward to it.

mel u said...

Marg. thanks for your visit. Yes you need to allow your blog the freedom to develop

Fred. In three years I think my blog will still have the core interests I have now with some new ones I hope.

Parrish. I appreciate your very insightful comment a great deal.

Caroline. It maybe that 37 or so years ago Gravity's Rainbow was the book I needed but I do see it as the best ever American novel

Kathy said...

Hi Mel: So glad you are continuing! You have such a great blog. My blog is nearly a year old and I'm thinking a lot about whether to continue (it is a year of reading my own books - so, as "a year of" I have a built in excuse, if I want to use it). I think I'll continue, but I understand the draw of stepping back too. Kathy