“For most people, what is so painful about reading is that you read something and you don’t have anybody to share it with. In part what the book club opens up is that people can read a book and then have someone else to talk about it with. Then they see that a book can lead to the pleasure of conversation, that the solitary act of reading can actually be a part of the path to communion and community.”
― Bell Hooks
I love to read. I’ll read anything and wish I had the time to read everything. Most of the books I write about are just whatever I happened to have finished reading most recently. I’ll write about anything just because I love to write.
I borrow books from friends and the library. I buy books in dusty little used book dens and dig through stacks of them in thrift-stores. Sometimes I even go buy new books. I give books as gifts for all occasions. My bed room is more of a library with a slab of foam on a table to shelve myself.
My first introductions to interacting with a text came through church. There’s a lot I had to throw away when I left that church of my childhood. But I kept the habit of reading with a pen in hand and marking up anything (that I don’t have to return to someone else.) At one point we had an interim pastor who was a breath of blessed fresh air. He dared say the Bible was only a book and could be interacted with rather than passively accepted or used as a cudgel. And, because it was so different from the rest of the experience, I even remember most of a sermon from when I was perhaps ten years old. He spoke about Greek words and translation not always working out, specifically about different words for love and other ways of understanding love. Funny how one sermon can change a life. I’ve been transfixed by words and texts, translation and contexts ever since.
I really miss being an English major. I liked having people to talk about books with. I liked writing about books. I liked being pushed to read outside my comfort zone and introduced to more ideas about how to read. My parents taught me the basics of reading with context in my toddler years. Books were always a part of my childhood. We read a lot of historical fiction and biographies; explanations of the time and place of the story went right along with bed time.
I’d love to hear suggestions for books to read and write about. If you’ve written a book and want a review email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and arrange to send me a copy. If I hate it I will be honest and try to be gentle. If I love it I will be honest and not gentle at all.
I try to maintain a somewhat academic perspective but all books I write about I write about with my opinion. It is only an opinion. I always think it best to go read for yourself. Don’t let me (or anyone else) form your thinking for you. You won’t know for sure what’s in between two covers unless you read all the pages with your own eyes. I’ve pushed myself through more than one tedious long hard read just so I would know for myself what it was all about.
For a list of books I’ve recently read and reviewed, click here.