It’s been a bit of a love-in as far as reading goes around here. Turns out the internet – oft decried as the antithesis to long form reading – is largely responsible for my ravenous consumption.
Reading has always been a solitary pursuit. It is the perfect introvert pastime. But it turns out Oprah was onto something with her Book Club (newly resurrected) There is something to the shared experience of a good book.
It started with Infinite Summer. A collective online reading of David Foster Wallace’s imposing masterpiece. Weighing in at over a thousand pages it’s an unlikely book to want to re-read. It’s the world’s largest book club collectively dissecting every piece of this sprawling novel, articulating things you’ve had on the tip of your tongue and throwing curveballs out from left field. It’s ooey gooey, old school English Lit good. If you get around to tackling Infinite Jest it’s the perfect accompaniment.
Then there’s the podcast “Books on the Nightstand” which I didn’t think I’d like. Who wants to hear about books I’ve never read? A list that can only grow with each broadcast – creating a low level anxiety as my to-read list grows. And yet I love each pint sized episode featuring a wide range of topics such as; what books do you re-read, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels, book covers and more. Already thanks to their recommendations I’ve finished and thoroughly enjoyed The Sense of an Ending, The Orphan Master’s Son and Wild
Of course it’s only natural there’s some sort of online social presence for readers. That’s where Goodreads comes in. It’s great seeing what everyone else is reading and even better when they offer up some insight into what they thought of it. Sacre Bleu, Bossypants and Super Sad True Love Story have all been Goodreads friend recommendations. At the very least it’s an effective running collection of what I’m reading.
Naturally the next step is an honest to goodness Book Club – though I’m hesitant as I tend to selfishly guard against adhering to someone else’s book schedule. Besides, the last thing I need is to hang with the neighborhood mommies as they discuss Shades of Grey in detail.