Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why I started The Reading Life-

Why I Started this Blog

This is my very first ever blog post,  from July 2009-I am reposting  this(slightly edited from the original) so that people who began reading my blog in 2010 can see a bit of my reading life background and so longer term readers can see how my blog has evolved.   When I first began  my blog a very experienced blogger told me in time if I kept it up my blog would somehow take on a life of its own.    My blog has taken some big side trips through Japanese Literature and Katherine Mansfield but the anchor of my blog will always be about the literary treatment of  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.   I traveled around the world alone for years.      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 and I try to give them my best efforts in return.

In 1973 I read Gravity's Rainbow and I became convinced that I would never read another  contemporary novel I liked as much.    I stopped reading new fiction at that point and began to read history, literary and  biographies, and the great poets.   I read many philosophical works from the western canon and some of the wisdom books of Asian.    I also pursued my interest in 18th century history and culture to a world wide perspective.

  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, most of the Russian classics, and a good bit of Samuel Johnson. Thirty five years went by and almost the only non classic 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 lives were 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 was asked to become a contributor to Vegetarian Wednesday which was my first experience as a blogger.   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 Hedgehogsand The Book Thief. 

 Mel u


Suko said...

It's interesting to learn about the beginning of your wonderful blog, and I do think your blog has taken on a life of its own.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reposting. You have a wonderful blog and congratulations on a year and a half of keeping it running.

StephTheBookworm said...

Hey, this is great!

@parridhlantern said...

Funnily enough Bolano was my route into the world of the literary blog, and Savage Detectives was the book, like you I worked my way through the classics whether English, European or American, got sidetracked & lazy, ended up reading just thrillers & their ilk on the way to work, picked up Savage by accident, also at the same time discovered H. Murakami, the rest as they say is history.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm so glad you decided to start blogging. I've loved reading your posts and I hope there are a limitless number of good books still in your future.

Mel u said...

Avid Reader-thanks-one of the great things about book blogs will turn out to be the ability of people to one day look back in detail on a life time of reading

parrish lantern-I would say we do have similar tastes in books-

Step the Bookworm-thanks very much

Man of La Books-thanks so much

Suko-thanks as always