Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blog Overload

If you haven't yet done so, would you do me a favor and vote in my poll on what I should read next? I'd like to keep this a regular thing - letting friends help me decide what to read next. If you're reading this in a reader, you'll have to take the extra step of linking to my actual blog and clicking in your vote at the top right of the screen. I know it's a lot to ask, but I appreciate it. Also, if you have other suggestions for what I read next, please leave them in the comments below. Input is appreciated!

Lately, I've been obsessed with reading other blogs. I've subscribed to a whole bunch in my reader, and it's my task every day to try to get through all of them. I know I have to limit myself and the blogs I read, because there's no point in rushing through blogs like they are a task. It takes the enjoyment out of it, and I'll miss things - possibly important things. But there are so many great ones! Most of them are book and publishing related blogs, but I have found several legal blogs I like as well.

After a couple weeks of reading all these blogs, though, I've lost some confidence in myself and I'm slightly embarrassed about my blog posts. No one really reads this blog who doesn't know me personally, and that's fine. My goal here is to keep a sort of record of what I read (and sometimes what I watch) and to remember my thoughts about each item. I'm not trying to get national attention or get a book deal or anything. But some bloggers are just intimidating, and it's difficult not to compare myself to them. When I do, I feel lame.

For one thing, I thought I was a big reader. I know my reading has tapered off over the past few years while I've been in law school, but I still read way more than anyone else I know (except one of my classmates and possibly my brother). Then I find out that some of these bloggers are reading 5 books a week, 20 books a month, or more! That is crazy! I suppose it's true that reading is their job - they get paid to write reviews - and so maybe it's not that crazy, but to me it seems nuts!

There is no way I can keep up with those people. I'm not even going to try. And there is no way I can participate in all the reading challenges I've heard about in those blog posts. But there are a few things I've taken from these blogs. These are my Reading Resolutions for 2011.

First, I will make a reading plan and try to stick to it. Sometimes, despite the fact that I love to read, I end up watching TV for hours and afterwards I wish I had spent that time better - by reading. If I have a plan and goals, then I'm hoping I'll be more likely to make reading more of a priority. I'm not yet sure what the plan is, but I'm making a plan to make a plan.

Second, I will be better about documenting what I read. That includes this blog, but it also includes keeping a spreadsheet or some sort of diary listing what I read, when, and what I thought of it. This will help me remember which authors I have enjoyed and wish to read more of, and it will help me remember who and what subjects to steer clear of. No one can read everything, and this kind of data will help me (I hope) make better choices.

Third, I will allow myself to stray from my reading plan whenever a good book thrusts itself into my life. I will make a point to shop at more bookstores (and used bookstores) without a list or agenda. There is nothing better than the joy of discovering a great book. I will not get so bogged down in my plans and resolutions that I lose the joy of reading.

Finally, I will not make number-oriented goals. I love to read, but I'm not a fast reader. I'm slow and methodical. I like to enjoy and savor the language and the story. To me it's not usually a good thing to be able to read a book in a day. I like the idea of reading a couple chapters a day and thinking about the story, characters, and themes throughout the next day. I like the feeling of mourning the end of a good book - being sad that my time with those characters has come to an end.

I guess the main goal I have is to make better choices about which books I read and to really savor the choices I make.

By the way, just as an aside, I watched the movie "Phoebe in Wonderland" last night, and it was "wonder"ful! Phoebe is a quirky, somewhat troubled child who gets the opportunity to play Alice in the school production of Alice in Wonderland. It is beautifully acted and wonderfully written. It is dreamlike and yet is so real and heartbreaking that I cried about 6 times. I love it when a movie (or a book) evokes an emotion without telling you that you are supposed to be feeling it. I love it when things are not spelled out for me, but I understand everything each character is feeling. If I had to explain this movie to you, I couldn't. But you will feel every frustration, fear and every moment of joy in this film. Please watch it!

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