Saturday, April 20, 2013

Literary Connections

The journey all started with a goal of reading 100 books in a year.

After graduating from college and finding my first full-time desk job, I felt the need to continue some sort of study outside of work. As taxing as the 9 to 5 can be, it felt important to stretch my mind in other pursuits, particularly those that fulfilled my love of literature and reading.

So, I established the goal of reading 100 books on my own time. Goodreads, where I had had an account for a while, was an enormously helpful tool in listing the books I wanted to read as well as the books I had. It counts pages, authors, books, and more, and I became more and more excited as I saw my goal tangibly increasing with each checked-off book.

As I progressed, I realized that the missing link in my initial goal was communicating my thoughts about the things I read and the act of reading itself. As my goal had been to simply read 100 books, I found that there were interesting things I could say about each book but that I was not utilizing any forum to do so.

Something that I don't often find expressed about reading is the importance of discussing it. Reading 100 books is all well and good, but what is the point if you can't find connections between your literary choices and learn from others views as well? I missed the community of readers that I found in my classes in college and the occasional book group.

Another observation that startled me somewhat was how connected all literature is. I tend to add books on my 'to-read' list very randomly. I have no procedure for deciding what books I like to read; I run across them in 'best of' lists, recommendations from friends and authors I respect, and more, and I add them knowing that at some point I will revisit them whether I will remember why or not. It amazed me how many seemingly unconnected texts from authors of all locales and time periods were sharing similar styles, ideas, and more.

This year, in addition to continuing to read more (the goal is page based instead of book based, in the hopes that I will take the time to tackle more difficult and longer works instead of simply tallying books) I am hoping to create a space where I can connect the books I'm reading and the ideas they present and begin to parse out my logic in reading them and the ideas/connections between them that I glean along the way. I hope you will join me in exploring the incredibly vast world of literature out there, and perhaps even to participate in a conversation about it. If anyone has recommendations or thoughts, please feel free to comment - I am always looking for new texts to explore!