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Writing about Books and Librarything

By 20/02/2009books

I have talked about reading before, and I love the way Susan Sontag defines its place in a writer’s life:

“A writer is first of all a reader. It is from reading that I derive the standards by which I measure my own work and according to which I fall lamentably short. It is from reading, even before writing, that I became part of a community—the community of literature—which includes more dead than living writers.”

Over the years I’ve read books, scores of them. A few of them I remember in their entirety, I remember the essence of others, and still others I’ve forgotten, and the only thing I remember is scattered images. They’ve gone down into me somewhere, all these books, become subsumed, distilled. Maybe they flow in my veins, who knows.

I’m not sure I can go back to reading everything I’ve read before, or even the ones I really liked. There are too many good books I haven’t read at all and am dying to read. So many books, so little time. Even when I finish 2 books a week, I’m only able to read 8 a month, and about 100 a year. Not really enough. Well, I sometimes finish a book in a day, or two , but then there are spells when I can only get in a few lines seated on my throne in the morning, or a chapter at bedtime.

So books once read stay that way. But now I’ve discovered Librarything, and once I’m done posting into my virtual library, I’ll put up its widget on my writing blog, so I can get reminders on what books lie on my reading shelf. I can look at books I’ve read, but are no longer with me, and maybe decide to buy them again to put on my tottering, real-world bookshelves.

What about you? How do you relate to books–the ones you have read and ones yet to read?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • mrpister says:

    I’ve tried getting my reading sorted out through Goodreads but I’d have to say I’ve only been half successful at that. I used to just randomly pick books to read from the library. From that, I gradually developed my taste for which authors & genres did it for me and which didn’t. Nowadays, if I stumble across a book from an author I’ve never heard of or from a genre I normally wouldn’t follow, I will stop reading it and move on to something else if I’m not immediately captured by the words from the first few pages. There’s too many great books out there and I hate wasting my time with a book that ends up being forgettable.

    mrpister, thanks for your visit and the long comment. I know what you mean, I tend to give romance and vampire stories a wide berth. But otherwise I read pretty much everything, by author known or unknown. Yes, I will never finish a book if I don’t feel like it just because I started it, dunno if that is right or wrong.

    Hope to see you back again!

  • There is so little time to get all the reading and writing done anymore. Oh to be a kid again.

    Thanks for the link.

    I know, for me I want to regress into childhood for this one reason, cos am otherwise pretty happy with my adult life!

  • DarcKnyt says:

    Now … if there were just enough hours in the day to do all the reading and writing I wanted! 😀

    I feel the same way!

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