Does anyone remember this post, where Ashley announced that another person would be joining her in her merry online book exploration? Well, the absentee delinquent that she introduced would be me. Ashley isn’t crazy, I do exist! After some technical difficulties and a severe lack of anything resembling time, I am here. The offer she extended—to contribute my thoughts on books—was too appealing to ignore or turn down. Ashley, I humbly thank you for the invitation, and I’m sorry I’ve been so slow on the uptake.
My presence on this blog is serendipitous. Ashley and I live in two different cities, so we only get to talk every other week or so, and most of our chatting is done via Skype. No matter where or how we chat, however, the conversation always ends with books; what we’ve read recently, what we’ve purchased and where, something we’ve heard about, etc. Books tend to follow when we share the same mental space, which is why I’m tickled to be able to talk about books with her in another forum. I don’t think she ever expected to blog about books, and I never expected to be asked to join her in such an experiment.
Myself (the delinquent time-starved friend), I’m a book lover and a reader with an appetite for books that can only be described as monsterous; I welcome recommendations from just about anyone if the pitch is good, I read whenever and wherever possible, and like Ashley, I always have a book in my bag—even if it’s a five pound beast. My book predilections are for those that deeply affect my world view, blow my mind, and/or appeal to my writing aesthetic. I can’t switch off while reading; I’m constantly turning over all aspects of the text, looking for something more. The way something is written can be just as important to me as the plot or characters, if not more so. It depends entirely on the book.
I work occasionally as a book seller for an independent book company, I grew up in libraries and always had books always lying around the house, plus I’m an artist; book culture is naturally an explosion of curiosities for me. I don’t think I’ll ever be short of material to discuss. Books follow me through my daily life (my friends are all involved with them somehow, I can’t go through a day without interacting with books, and even my vacation time involves exploring bookstores and hunting down good deals) so book culture has become a touchstone for my academic passions for lo, in case it wasn’t obvious, I am a book nerd.
But a book is never just an academic endeavour for me. The power contained in a story and the ability of a good writer to touch on something important and distinctly human are things I seek whole heartedly as both a reader and a writer. My favourite authors create stories I connect with in ways I can’t fully articulate (and when I attempt an account I shame myself with inadequacy). I’ll get into that more as the reviews roll out.
For now, it’s a pleasure to join you. I have to apologise though—the first novel I’ve reviewed also has the honour of being the novel that broke my mind completely. That’ll teach me to read gigantic novels with mind-altering properties. Yes, this does mean that I’ve finished Infinite Jest, and the review has suffered from a case blather and bedlam. If that doesn’t sell the work of David Foster Wallace, I don’t know what will.