Monday, January 4, 2010

"Reading deliberately" - a concept I can get behind!

Several of the book blogs that I follow (The Book Lady, e.g.) are promoting an idea that they call "reading deliberately" in 2010. As I understand it, this means reading with a plan in mind, being mindful about what you read, and not just reading the light, fluffy stuff that goes in one eye and out the other. It's an idea that appeals to me.

In 2009, I read 81 books. I know because I kept track of them on Goodreads. I never actually kept track of my reading before, but I'm pretty sure I never read 81 books in a year before. Looking back over my list, I can't say that there are any that I wish I hadn't read, but, if I had really thought about it more, perhaps I could have made better reading choices. It's a case of "so many good books, so little time" and do I really want to waste my time reading books that, in the great scheme of things, are worthless?

The first book that I read in 2010 was such a selection. It was Killer Keepsakes by Jane K. Cleland, a cozy mystery featuring the owner of an antiques shop. The characters were flat and uninteresting and the writing was pedestrian. I didn't learn anything from the book.

Now I love cozy mysteries and I don't plan to give them up. After all, Miss Marple books are cozies, as are the various series by Elizabeth Peters or Alexander McCall Smith, but those books are well-written and they have something to offer - interesting characters, well-plotted stories, humor, intelligent writing, and odd bits of information that I didn't know before. In future, I hope to be more selective in choosing my cozies, as well as all my other reading.

Just now, I'm reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, the Man Booker prize winner for 2009. There's nothing light or fluffy about this book! I expect to learn quite a few things I didn't know before by the time I finish traversing its 500+ pages.

2 comments:

  1. I saw the post on Hey Lady, too. She definitely has the right idea. For me though, I'm going to try to read more of the things that I want to read, without the pressure of recommendations and reading challenges. The challenges that I've joined this year are more centered around my personal reading tastes. We'll see how that works out for me :)

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  2. Reading the things you WANT to read sounds like you've made a very mindful and deliberate choice, Susan. I think the "Book Lady" would approve.

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