Friday, August 16, 2013

When thou reviewest this, thou dost review

I love reading, and I love talking about reading, and I love writing about reading. It only stands to reason that I would also love to read about reading, but I'd never sought anything to fill this void. That is until recently, when I discovered a couple of great publications; bookmarks and The New York Times Book Review.

Naturally I was aware of the Book Review, but for whatever reason, I'd never picked up a copy and flipped through it. As for bookmarks, which dubs itself as the magazine 'for everyone who hasn't read everything,' I'd never heard of it at all.

Both offer a review of books coming out, interviews with authors, and general information on the book industry. I'm lucky that I'm able to stay up to date on many happenings in the book world through my work, but it's always nice to add as much research as I can.

So now that I've discovered these gems, I've slowly been making my way through past copies available at the library. While I haven't read many of the books found within the pages, this list keeps me from reading too many new books, I am able to gain some basic knowledge of what many books are about, and how they've been received. And to be honest, that will be the extent of my relationship with 99% of the books out there.

But I bring these two publications up for one particular reason; The Grapes of Wrath, my most recent list read. In the summer preview edition of bookmarks, The Grapes of Wrath was mentioned as a book worthy of a revisit this summer, as it is a classic that is as relevant as ever. The more I've thought about this book, the more I realize what a fantastic read it was. It was simply outstanding, and a book that really stands the test of time, as any great book should. I enjoyed having my opinion confirmed by people from another country, whom I've never met.

Meanwhile, in a June edition of The New York Times Book Review, there was an interview with author Khaled Hosseini, who when asked what book has the greatest impact on him, mentioned The Grapes of Wrath. Here I feel fortunate that I'd already read the book, as Hosseini mentions the final scene in the book and how much it moved him, but fails to precede his thoughts with "spoiler alert." I really am glad I hadn't read that quote before having read the book, as the final scene is so impromptu and, for lack of a better word, shocking, and I doubt it would have had the same impact had I known about it beforehand. This might have changed my perception of the book entirely.

On a side note, Hosseini also mentions that if he could meet any character from literature, it would be Dr. Manhattan from Watchman; one of the list books I have yet to read. I am now curious to meet this character when I get to that book down the road.

As for #67, I'm about 10% of the way through The French Lieutenant's Woman. So far, so good!

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