One of my goals for this year — which sounds sort of grandiose, but is better than calling it a resolution, I suppose — was to record the books I read on Goodreads with at least a few words about each one. This wasn’t about public consumption. I wasn’t planning on writing the type of reviews that would help other people choose their books. I just wanted to remember the books I read.
Side note: what a weird word “read” is. Same spelling, two different pronunciations depending on tense. I actually reworded a sentence in that first paragraph so the two different pronunciations wouldn’t happen in rapid succession, because it felt so disorienting. English is a lovely language in many ways, so flexible, so rich, but it is so strange sometimes. Ahem. Back to our previously scheduled discussion…
Obviously, it sounds pretty brainless not to be able to remember the books I read. Is it even reading if six months later, I retain nothing of the story? But when I’m on a roll, I can read two or three books a day, and three hours of mild entertainment does not necessarily stick in long-term storage.
But my goal hasn’t been easy to accomplish, mostly because the last few books I read (or didn’t read, as the case may be) would have gotten reviews that might have seemed scathing. One of them started great. I might even have paid for it after reading the Look Inside. But four chapters in, I was forced to concede complete and utter boredom. I wanted to sleep more than I wanted to read, and it wasn’t night time. That… is not a nice review.
Another one I finished, but mostly because I kept wondering whether it could get more stupid. Answer: yes! It could, it did. It was the “everything AND the kitchen sink” marathon of romantic cliches. (The author, incidentally, is a best-selling indie and probably phenomenally wealthy by this time, so who am I to judge?)
A third was readable but about a third of the way through I was pretty sure that the mystery was going to turn out to be the painfully obvious “teenage girl was being sexually abused” and by halfway through I was sure of it and so I skipped to the end. I was right. As a plot device, the discovery that the teenage girl was an abuse victim is so unrewarding. It’s the justification for everything, anything, and it’s never a surprise.
Those reviews are exactly the kind of content I’d like to keep with the books’ names, so that when I see the books again in my Kindle cloud, I can refresh my memory of what my experience with the book was. But I don’t want to post them publicly because they’re so personal. They’re about my experience with the book, not thoughtful, well-reasoned, articulate assessments of reading material for someone else’s edification. For all I know, on another day, I might have been much more tolerant of books 1 and 3. (Not 2, I would never have liked that one. But lots of people apparently do, so hey, good for them. All reading is good reading, IMO.)
Anyway, I’m not sure where I was going with this, except that I wish Kindle had better tools for keeping private reviews. I sometimes make notes on a book’s cover or first page, especially when it’s a DNF, but then I have to download the book again to see the note. Hmm, and it just occurred to me to wonder whether the drive-by Dresden fan who only reads authors who agree with their precise taste and politics is subconsciously influencing me, despite my intellectual disdain for their attitude. I might have to think more about that.
Either way, though, I’m failing in my goal to review more of the books I read, and I’m going to try to do better. As soon as I finish writing the book I’m writing. Four chapters to go, I think, but they are, of course, big ones. And I might sneak another one in there, just because it would be fun.