Monday, October 27, 2014

To beautify thy triumphs and return,

Like MacArthur to the Philippines, I have returned. I took a hiatus of sorts; not from reading, but from writing this blog. There are probably a million reasons, but most importantly, I seemed to have lost my motivation.

I'm still eager to read through this list of 100 books, but I seemed to have lost my desire to write about it. I'm sure there were probably several reasons for this, but the most likely was I'd just run out of things to say, especially when I'd been bogged down in a book as I was with the most recent read, A House for Mr. Biswas. There are only so many things you can say about reading a 500 page book for close to four months. 

Then something happened. This past summer, I started a book club with a group of buddies. In late August, we met at a restaurant and talked about books we'd enjoyed reading and books we would like to read, all while feasting on steak and washing it down with wine and whiskey. We decided that day, that reading books wasn't the problem, but finding a date when everybody could attend was. As a compromise, we decided to meet quarterly, and read three books each quarter. Our next meeting, which in effect is our first meeting, will take place in November.

Despite not yet having met again, the guys have already started talking about their reading progress, what they're liking, and what they're not. What it did for me, is reminded me how much I love talking about books. That is what got me started writing this blog almost five years ago. But somewhere in my mind, I'd always felt that this blog might not be the proper forum for writing about other books; it started as a blog about reading a specific list of books, and perhaps it was supposed to remain that way.

Sure, I'd written about non-list related things from time to time, be it my visits to other libraries, my love of non-fiction, or my fascination with book covers. But I always tried to keep that "off-topic" discussion to a minimum.

When I finished my 76th book, Mr. Biswas, a couple of weeks agi, I didn't know what to say. Having been away from the blog for so long, it felt like I was hiding something if I just posted my review, didn't mention my hiatus, and continued as I had before. In a couple of weeks, I'd just hit the same wall, desperately trying to think of something to write, and viewing this project as more of a burden than a joy.

But in the week since then, I've come to realize two things. First was that I love to discuss books, and blogging is a great way for me to do that. Second, I realized there are no rules for this blog, it can be about whatever I want. And I want that to be about books, but it doesn't have to be solely about the list.

Of course I'll continue to talk about the list books, in fact it will continue to be the focus, but I'd also like to spend some time talking about other books I'm reading or have read, things I see happening in the book world, and other book-related discussions. At the end of the day, I was going to finish this list at some point, and would either have to change the focus or shut it down. Why not start to change the focus a little right now, and perhaps never shut it down?

What all of this means is that I think I've found my passion for this project again, and I look forward to writing on a regular basis once more.

So what about my thoughts on Mr. Biswas? I'll post that tomorrow!

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