There’s a whole bunch of stuff I do that I don’t broadcast online. Partially because my daily routine is grotesquely boring (I spend a surprising amount of time conjugating verbs) and in other cases because I believe certain types of content should never be blogged about in the first place. For example, if I wanted to know about what you had for dinner, I would be reading about it in the Guardian because your name would be Jay Rayner. If not, eat in digital obscurity. There. Someone needed to say it.
However, one of the things I do a lot of is reading, which I think has some relevance here. As does going to arts events and otherwise hanging around Ireland and New Zealand’s creative whānau. As does (conjugations aside) my quest to learn two languages simultaneously, perfect another one on top of that, and use the four of them in my daily life. I call it the Polyglot Project and it might make an interesting chronicle for those interested in doomed enterprises and the folly of an Irish-Te Reo Māori dictionary (the book that every home has been waiting for?)
So I’m going to start posting about what I’m reading, weekly. They are not strictly reviews, because down that rabbit hole lies an anxious questioning of my own literary judgement, and other readers’ judgements of my judgements. What you can expect of my non-reviews are a lot of spirited reactions, unjustified statements, and flowery affection, and a complete avoidance of nouveau-reviewer faux-pas. On this page you will find no –
- Stars and Ratings – more reductive than instructive for the reader.
- Comparison to other authors – I magpie my books from a very wide range of sources, which means I don’t know half of what you mean when you tell me Beckett is to Ionesco as cream-cheese is to sorrow. If I’m reading Lolita, it’s likely because I found a copy of Lolita in a bin on Tuesday. If Spot The Dog is found in the same bin as I pass it on Thursday, then I shall duly read that, too. I’d like to say I don’t compare writers to other writers because it seems alienating to the non-literatti (which it is) but mainly it’s because I’m not well read enough to use the language of the literatti. Probably because I spend my time rummaging through refuse.
- Lambasting of literature – My sensible-self maintains that the phrase ‘that wouldn’t be me, now‘ is far more useful a perspective than ‘the absolute hack of that book‘. I’m training myself to see what’s not-for-me in a book, as opposed to what’s ‘bad’. It was a tough lessen I learnt at the hand of The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair. After all, it’s wildly popular, has won multiple awards and has been translated into 32 languages. It is, by all accounts, “a good book”. Who am I to call it a putrid offensively-lazy colostomy bag of cliché? Who am I to judge?
- Correct Spelling. I do not have a pocket sized copy editor.
- Posts over 500 words.
How word-counts fly.
I hope you enjoy them, anyway!