About

I’ve read a lot of books in my life (upwards of 400, by my calculations). I just love reading, and I’ve been reading almost nonstop since I got my first library card. There are many stories I could share about my love of reading as a child, from that one Halloween where I dressed all in pink and called myself a “bookworm” (to the confusion of many of the neighbors) to the time in school when I got so absorbed in my silent reading book that I didn’t realize the class was leaving until I looked up and everyone was gone.

So I’ve done a lot of reading over the years, but it wasn’t always what you might call great quality. Sure, being obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club and Nancy Drew is fine when you’re a kid, but really they’re only a starting point. There’s a whole world of literature out there, and I want to find the really great stuff. The problem is knowing where to start, especially for someone who’s fairly new to the world of adult literature. For me, that’s where the list comes in. It’s like 1001+ recommendations, books from all over the world, from every time period. And that’s just one of many good reasons to follow the list.

The list I’m talking about is the list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, from the book of the same name edited by Peter Boxall. I say 1001+ because there have been three updates since the original version, and each one has made changes. Some books have been removed. Others have been added. Many books on the 2012 version of the list hadn’t even been published yet when the first list came out in 2006. I follow all of the lists, which I’ve mashed together to make one big list of 1306, of which I plan to read 1001. That means I can do a bit of picking and choosing and not get stuck with books I know I’ll hate (or those few on the list that haven’t been translated into English).

I started following the list back in 2010, when I began posting to a thread on Librarything, which has a whole group of people following the list. You can find my thread at this link.

As you can see if you followed that link, I have other reasons for wanting to follow the list, one of which is that I want to be an author someday. I have found that my writing has gotten better since starting, which I think is at least partially due to the influence of all this great writing. I’ve more than doubled my original total of 16, and my number now stands at 61… which leaves only 940 more! It’s a good thing I’m still young!

Other Miscellaneous Info

A list of books included in the 1001 can be found here.

I try to be fair in all my reviews, but I rate books based only on how much I enjoyed reading them. My system goes from 1/2 to five stars (no zeros!). My most common rating is a three, which represents an average level of enjoyment. It goes up or down from there, 1/2 being reserved for those few books I actually hated, 5 being for those few that I absolutely loved. Usually, if a book gets five stars, it also means that I either want to or actually have read that book multiple times.

All photos on the blog were taken by me, although some pictures are drawn by my sister. See “About My Sister”.

Any post whose title ends with an asterisk, like so: “Title*”, contains spoilers. These posts can only be found through links on the homepage or through the “Spoilers” tab. I’m careful not to include any information that might be considered a spoiler in any of my regular posts.

And finally, please feel free to leave me comments anywhere! I love getting comments, and I also love knowing that people are reading some of my older posts along with my newer ones. Enjoy!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. iarxiv  |  September 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Hi,

    Perhaps this is helpful.

    I got interested in your blog after reading your article About My Sister and how she convinced you to start a blog. I followed your blog after I read your ‘About’ page because I liked the idea of this reading journey you were on and thought it would be cool to track your progress.

    I also acknowledged your post “Becoming a Better Blogger (Hopefully)” by liking the article. I wanted to be supportive since I know how important it is to me (and still is) to know that I’m doing something right. However I did not offer any advice, or answer your questions because I did not feel that I could contribute anything valuable. But upon seeing your latest ‘Zero Comments’ post I decided that perhaps I could say something that might be a tiny bit helpful after all…

    I don’t know how many blogs you follow. For example – I’m not sure you follow mine (not that this is relevant). But when I started following a large number of blogs, I found it to be hard to track everyones posts all the time. I try to, but it’s not easy cause if I don’t check the Reader at least once a day, I struggle to get through all the new posts… This leads to ‘filtering’ – I read the posts that seem most interesting and that I fancy most given my mood, available time, etc.

    I usually look at the first few lines of a post (which the Reader helpfully displays) and decided based on that whether to click and read on. To be brutally honest, I’ve discovered the forgotten art of reading books without knowing anything about them beforehand. (I even wrote about this on my blog ‘Reading the old-fashioned way’.) This kind of means that I stopped wanting to read reviews or comments about books that I haven’t read which includes 99% of the ones you’re talking about… Thus, I haven’t actually read any of your posts on books (though, I did read, say ‘My Bookshelf’ because that seemed like it wouldn’t talk about any particular book).

    But you see, I’m not sure how I’m being helpful in telling you this, as it’s not necessarily anything you’re doing ‘wrong’ that’s making me less of a dedicated reader, but a personal discovery that seemingly clashes with the purpose of your blog…

    To answer your questions:

    “When I started this blog I envisioned myself as a storyteller slowly building a dedicated audience.” – Slowly is the key word…

    “I imagined hearing the voices of those audience members via the comments as they responded to my writing.” – Writing comments takes time. It’s much slower than slapping a like. It’s not easy to know what the motivation for a like is, as you point out, but it’s a way of acknowledging the existence of your post, your blog, and that you’re headed in the ‘right’ direction. For example – I will never get back the half an hour I spent writing you an in-depth comment, but I am motivated to do so because you clearly care about this issue and I wish someone had pointed certain things to me a few months ago (and I still want advice!)

    It may help in the future, if you see a site that is doing well, and has a similar topic to yours, you might want to ask the author a direct question or for a piece of advice on their comments page… that will make them feel good, but it might also give you some good hints.

    “I imagined posts being inspired by questions asked or interests displayed on a certain subject. I imagined people offering suggestions as to what book I should read next or sharing what they had thought about the books I post about.” – I’m sure that will come with time… but it’s tough unless you’re an internet miracle worker, semi-celebrity, or have tons of online friends.

    One last thing: because of the ‘filtering’ I suspect on average one in 10 readers reads a post when you put it up (unless you’ve got friends and family following). If someone’s liked a post, but not followed you, chances are they might not come back (unless you track them down and engage them on their site). Further I suspect again on average one in 100 readers will comment on a post, if at all. This is from my experience. (Your blog might be different and better when it grows slightly!) Which means that you need LOTS of followers before you can expect an answer to your question, lots of likes, comments and just generally traffic…

    Perhaps I’ve said way too much and none of it is helpful. If so – I’m sorry.

    iarXiv

    Reply
    • 2. dste  |  September 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      This is very helpful! Thank you for taking so much time to comment. I really do appreciate it.

      I might be a little pie-in-the-sky. I really know very little about blogging, but I’m trying to learn. It’s especially helpful to know why you became interested in my blog and what you said about “filtering”, writing comments, and your experience with people reading and commenting.

      It’s completely understandable that not everyone thinks or does things the way I do (Personally, I follow just a few blogs, adding more as I discover ones I like. Of those I follow, though, I read most or all of the posts from the time I start following.), but I had little way of really knowing these kinds of things. Your comment really helps clear things up. Thanks again!

      Reply
  • 3. deweydecimalsbutler  |  August 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I nominated you for a Liebster Award!

    Reply

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