Friday, August 26, 2011

Yes, I have gained my experience.

When I started tackling this list over 16 months ago, my goal was to expand my reading horizons; to explore books that I wouldn't otherwise tackle. And for the most part, I would say it's been successful so far. I've been able to experience books I loved but had never even heard of, such as The Sheltering Sky and Lucky Jim, and I can now say that although I didn't enjoy them, I have indeed read To the Lighthouse and Infinite Jest. Without a doubt, I'd say I'm the richer for it. But as I near the halfway point (on schedule too I might add), the experience has done so much more than just introduce me to titles or authors I didn't previously know.

This summer I was fortunate enough to talk about these books on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC radio. Not only was it a fun opportunity to discuss something I enjoy, with others, on the radio, but it was also very educational. Prior to being on the radio, my reading habits as far as this list was concerned were fairly straight forward. I picked a book, read it, wrote a blog, and moved on to the next one. The order or the speed weren't really paramount to anything. And since I was only blogging about them, I could simply spill my thoughts out onto the page and was done.

Being on the radio forced me to not only read quicker, doing a book a week, but also to pay more attention to what books I was reading. I had to make sure I was reading books from different kinds of authors and of differing styles, so as not to bore my listeners with the same thing each week. I also now had to answer other people's questions about these books; no longer was this a one-man show. This offered me a lot more insight into what I was reading, and offered me the chance to see this project from somebody else's perspective.

But most importantly, this reading project has allowed me to become more involved in the book community with people who share my passion for reading. I’ve met others who are reading and blogging their way through this same list (most notably Robert and Matt), and I’ve met people who are simply following my journey because they find it interesting, and hopefully a little educational.

I’ve also now become involved with WordFest, Calgary’s annual literary festival being held in October, as their Festival Blogger. This will give me the chance to work with other avid readers, and expose me to the world of publishing. I’ll be blogging about my experiences at WordFest, offering a behind-the-scenes look, and talking to authors from around the world. It should be a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to it!

It also means that I have a few more books to read. While I’ll still be continuing my journey through The List, I’ll also be exploring some of the books from WordFest. I’ve started with Funeral for a Dog, the first novel by German author Thomas Pletzinger. Also attending WordFest will be Lev Grossman, author of The Magician King and literary critic for Time magazine. He’s one of the guys who put this list I’ve been reading for the past year and a half together. I can’t wait to talk to him about it.

As for an update on said list, I have indeed started reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, which will be my 44th book. Again, I don’t know anything about it.

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