After reading Moorish Girl‘s blog , I went to Borders to buy How To Read A Novel. Although there are mixed reviews on Amazon ( something I looked up after I bought the book), I like the book so far. Sutherland speaks so true about the way in which we read books. He talks about how it doesn’t take a lot for one to be rendered an avid reader. Here is a passage at the beginning of the book:
” It is not that life is too short to read carefully: the task is too great to be done attentively. One simply cannot keep abreast, any more than the sorcerer’s apprentice could. The signals emanating from the bookstore (super store or online variety) are confusing, coercive and culturally deafening. Hype, celebrity authorship, high-pressure sales tactics (‘3 for 2’,’10%off”, ‘NYT #1 Bestseller’) billboard advertisements…-all combine to induce consumer automatism. This, of course, is precisely what the industry wants.” (p. 7)
I have to say, I am a culprit of the same thing that Sutherland is talking about. I buy books and there are a lot of books that I have read, but there are so much more in my library that I haven’t read. I want that to change. I have often made a promise to myself that I would stop buying books and read all the books I own– yet still I buy more and more books. I feel cheated and also feel like a hypocrite–pretentious even.
Upon seeing my books, friends are often impressed by my collection, I on the other hand know that a lot of those books were bought out of compulsion and were often skimmed then placed on a shelf.
Well, no more! I am making a proclamation today ( albeit a weak one), I will not buy a new book all year until I have read at least 75% of the books I own. So I will finish Sutherland’s book and then continue with the books that I began and did not complete and move on. Wish me luck!