Monday, May 21, 2007

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sara Nelson has written the perfect hardcover book blog, a book that I enjoyed from cover to cover. Nelson's basic premise, to read one book a week and to explain why she chose the book and how it impacted her world that week, is basically what many book bloggers aim for themselves. It was fun to see that Nelson experienced many of the same things that bloggers experience: TBR lists that seem to grow rather than shrink over time, books coming out of nowhere and demanding to be read immediately, periods in which it is difficult to find an appealing book despite being surrounded by books, etc. As I read the book, and got to know so much about Sara Nelson and her personal world, I found myself wishing that she actually did write a book blog because she would be a wonderful addition to the book blogging world, someone we would all enjoy knowing.

But let me let her speak for herself. The following quotes are a few of the ones that I found particularly interesting and appealing:
“Woody Allen once said that the advantage of bisexuality is that it doubles your chances of finding a date on Saturday night. Having a bifurcated reading brain – one part that likes “junk” and one that reveres “literature” – is the same kind of satisfying. You don’t have to be any one thing and you don’t have to think any one way. And should you happen upon different kinds of people in different situations, your pool of conversation topics is twice as deep.”

“Explaining the moment of connection between a reader and a book to someone who’s never experienced it is like trying to describe sex to a virgin. A friend of mine says that when he meets a book he loves, he starts to shake involuntarily. For me, the feeling comes in a rush: I’m reading along and suddenly a word or phrase or scene enlarges before my eyes and soon everything around me is just so much fuzzy background…I have to read and read and read, all the while knowing that the more aggressively I pursue my passion, the sooner it will end and then I will be bereft.”

“It’s always dangerous to reread the pivotal books of your youth. Like discovering poetry or journals you wrote as a teenager, revisiting your adolescent feelings about books can be at best embarrassing and often excruciating

"Allowing yourself to stop reading a book - at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end - is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult. I can make my own decisions."

"I believe that an unreturned book between friends is like a debt unpaid. It can linger, fester, throb like a sore wound. The best preventive medicine is the simplest: Return All Books."

"It's exciting and familiar at the same time, a pretty great combo. Which, I guess, is the main reason people reread in the first place: they like going into a book knowing what they're getting at the same time that they can discover a line or a character or an attitude they missed the first time around. They like, in a world full of bad feelings and surprises, to know that the book they're reading will offer up none of the above. They like, in other words, returning to the known."

"...reading is organic and fluid and pretty unpredictable, based as much on mood and location and timing as anything else. If a book is good, that doesn't mean you'll want to read it, and if it's bad, that doesn't mean you'll pass it by. I only have to glance at my original list to see that, in spades."
Beyond a doubt, Sara Nelson is speaking to us in So Many Books, So Little Time. This one is fun and I recommend it to all the book lovers out there. You know who you are.


  1. Some great quotes. I agree, Sara Nelson needs to write a blog. I had no idea that someone could write a book filled with the things we write and think about each day on our blogs.

  2. She definitely has the book blogger mindset, Matt. It was a fun book, for sure.

  3. I wish this book would be one of those that come out of nowhere and demand to be read. I've had it on my wishlist and it's just not magically appearing in my mailbox. I might have to actually BUY it, because I'm dying to read it.

  4. Good luck, Dewey...patience is a virtue, after all.

  5. Ha!- Thanks for the great review Sam. I won this one in a book drawing and its sitting on my shelf begging me read it!

  6. Maybe I'm the only one, but I found her writing to be trite and her conclusions obvious. I don't think she breaks any new ground at all and indeed goes over the same territory that others (including some bloggers) have done better.

  7. I don't particularly think that she breaks any new ground either, Becky. But I like that we, as a blogging community, have so much in common with her and I enjoyed the way that she worked her reading reflections into and around events in her personal life. I guess I just found her book to be so much like a blog that I felt very comfortable with it...