Sunday Salon: May days are here again

This week, I finished three books: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Othello, and Cranford. I joined yet another reading challenges. I wish there were support groups for reading challenge addicts like me. We would probably end up making more challenges and finding more ways to cross post our selections.

Today, I am reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Yes, it has been months now, but it’ll be finished soon (hopefully). I still have Gilead on hold. This week, two friends lent me books. I received Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose which I think I will start in the next couple of weeks. The second book is a collection of Tolstoy’s short stories in French. I am unsure when I will get around to that one, but it should be one of my French reads this year. I should start The God of Small Things soon as well. I also want to start The Tempest and Shakespeare’s sonnets soon because the Shakespeare challenge is almost over. How time flies.

I have been cleaning this weekend, and I won’t be finished for awhile. I am trying to clear away things I’ve had for years. I am at a loss for what to do with all the textbooks that I was unable to sell during the school years. I should probably sell my philosophy books too. Hmm.

Salon has an article on “Personal profiles, faves, lists, snobbery, books.” It purports the idea that we are not what we read, and that culture has become where some books (such as self-help books) are scoffed by those who consider themselves truly literary. As a result, favourite lists on profiles have become definers that say “I like this = I’m like this”. This is why I never provide those details online; we are creatures of judgment to be sure. I can say that I know the books that I like, but others may not. My literary tastes do not necessarily define me. I do admit that I have read a self-help book or two. Do you feel that your preferences in books defines you in some way? Do you admit to reading self-help books; are they so shameful? Thoughts?

Literary Links:

Petrona has a discussion on the Sunday Salon.

Baby Got Book” – To the tune of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby got back”

20 Science Books Every Sci-Fi Fan and Writer Should Read – While I don’t read a lot of scifi, this is actually a pretty interesting list.

5 comments

  1. Andi says:

    I guess I tend to think that the books I like represent me in some way, but I’m not ashamed or don’t poo-poo liking certain books. I’ll be the first to say that Good in Bed is one of my favorites and I got an advanced degree in Children’s Lit when the majority of “serious” scholars think it’s a waste of time. It still says something about me as a person that I enjoy it so much, I think.

  2. Ann Darnton says:

    I don’t have any problem in people knowing what I really read. Being, I hope, a fully rounded person, there are different facets of my personality that need feeding with different types of books. if anyone has a problem with a Doctor in English Studies reading ‘Harry Potter’ it’s their problem, not mine.
    By the way, when you come to read the Eco you might find you don’t want to be reading anything else. There are some very complex ideas being explored and I know that when I read it, even for the second time, I would have got hopelessly lost if I’d being trying to read anything else.

  3. Julie says:

    What an interesting question. I’ve never thought about that before. Absolutely, my preference in books defines me. How could it not? I view the world through fiction-colored lenses. Certain books have had a huge effect on the way I think and act; often, in a dilemma, I find myself thinking What Would [insert favorite character] Do.

    I was going to say that I don’t have a list of favorites on my blog, but then I realized that of course I do — the image in my footer. I chose those books very carefully. And now that I think about it, I included it precisely so that people would know what “kind” of blog it is. Of course that’s not the same as saying what kind of person I am, but it’s not entirely different, either.

    Yes, a very interesting question!

  4. JLS Hall says:

    Interesting. I think it’s probably true that a person’s favorite books do say something about his/her personality or character. But personally, I know that my list of favorites has changed over the years – books I was crazy about when I was twenty are not necessarily the books I love today. So I don’t believe a list of favorites is absolutely defining. I don’t mind admitting that my taste in reading matter tends to be eclectic and not totally consistent. Humans are complicated beings, after all. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t always judge a reader by the books he reads. But the main thing is to keep on reading!

  5. dew says:

    If my preference in books defines me then I must be schizophrenic! I never list favorites either, not for music or books or films or any of that, because I love so many varied choices that I wouldn’t know where to start. And since people DO decide something about you based on what you love or hate, and I don’t believe those judgments would be accurate, making a favorites list seems pointless. For example! I hate Moulin Rouge. SORRY! But if I tell Netflix I hate Moulin Rouge, it assumes I’d hate all sorts of good stuff I actually love. Moulin Rouge is an anomaly in my taste, I guess.

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