Friday, September 23, 2011

what kind of books do you like to read?

about a month ago, i registered with Goodreads. i once started an account for daily-spress, but it didn’ t really fit with their categories of “what are you reading”, “planning to read” etc.

so now i am on goodreads as reader & author (you can find me here), found and friended some other readers and authors i know - and also, found some good reads through the book notes there. it’s one of the great things about Goodreads, this casual finding of titles that you normally don't come across in the usual bestseller / must-read lists. for example: "A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary" by Alain de Botton, found through Fiona Robyn. i read Alain de Botton's "Art of Travel" a while ago, but didn't know about his Heathrow Diary, which turned out to be a beautiful reflection on life and travel in the modern time.

another book i picked due to goodreads is "Mexican Lives" by Judith Adler Helmman, found through Rose Hunter - it hasn't arrived yet, i ordered it earlier this week.

on the same day, i came across a wilderness book in a blog - like the other 2 books, it's a non-fiction book : "Fire Season" by Philip Connors. i forwarded the link to a friend, which in return brought a note on a related book, and an interesting question:

"when I was younger I read some of Gary Snyder, who did this fire tower job. what I like about this review is the notion that there are books that every man should read. I think it true but I am not sure that there is one list that applies to all men. ... what of women? is there a book you think all women should read?"

good question, i thought. it also made me think of the question in Goodread's reader profile that sounds like it should be easy to answer for someone who loves books: "What Kind of Books Do You Like to Read?"

it probably would be easier to answer this if my bookshelves were sorted by theme, and not by date. but then, some connections aren't obvious if you just go along general themes. (and the whole theme of sorting books is an own peculiar question anyway, see here: A to Z or how do you sort your books?)

what i did today is: trying to lay out a collage that includes books i read in the last months, together with some favourites, in an attempt to answer both questions, in form of a video:
what kind of books do you like?

of course, the collage is just a "crop" of the sum of all books i read this year. but it gives an idea. i just scrolled through my virtual bookshelf, and realized that missing in the collage are new German books and poetry (poetry is included in the anthologies, though, and in the small book with the Paul Klee cover, which is a handmade chapbook with poems from the river of stones). what's also missing are art books and photo books. maybe in winter, i lay out a larger version. might be interesting.

and of course, now i am curious: what kind of books do you like to read? 

(& it still feels odd to hear my own voice in a video. and sorry for the audio, which isn't all clear. will try to figure out how to get a better audio when recording)


Parmanu said...

Another piece of the puzzle - the voice!

This is an interesting collection, and I haven't read most of them. So, thank you for sharing.

Marcus Speh said...

enjoyed the video & hearing your voice: so much more personal! I must start vlogging...glad you're goodreads, so am i & thereby you know what i read: too much, too diverse. right now i'm still enjoying d h lawrence (women in love—see my mini review) and a new one (for me) by flann o'brian (the third policeman). also, i've begun "the 90 day novelist" by alan watt, which i found to be much better than i thought it'd be: sound advice to budding novelists. i read a lot of classics like lawrence and early modernists like o'brian. it's my literary staple diet. otherwise...not so much, though i do get new authors published by dalkey archive & i often download sample chapters of new novels (but rarely follow up). big exception lately. john minichillo's wonderful debut novel "the snow whale"—i was honored to read an excerpt from the book for the site. thanks for asking, doro!

E♦B said...

Dear Dorothee:

As per the other commentators, thank you for the video – and it is wonderful to hear your voice. I have been either working with you or following you for at least a few years now (no?), exclusively by email, so it is indeed a treat to *hear* from you.

As an interesting side-note (but related): I had been working with a colleague of mine, Prof. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, for many years (at least ten) on many journal and book projects entirely via email, and it was only earlier this year that I finally met him! The story reminds me of something from a nineteenth-century novel.

In your video, I see how you place Dillard at the center – I agree wholeheartedly, and know that when I first read that book in the 1970s, it changed me/my outlook. I am not familiar with all of the books you mention (btw, thanks for the Battle Runes plug), but they seem to deal with literal journeys or journeys of self-discovery (in line with the title of this blog).

I am not on Goodreads, alas. But to answer your question about what I am reading: for my current project, mostly moral philosophy and brain/evolutionary science.

One book that has really altered my world view is Arthur Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation. I read him in the late 1990s, and I still carry and work with his ideas.

Sincerely, GFT

Dorothee Lang said...

Parmanu, Marcus, Gregory: thanks for your notes and especially your feedback on my voice!

the voice of a person - it's true, it's an own dimension to words. it made me think of an inversed version of the situation: when i saw a radio moderator for the first time in TV, after hearing his voice regularly on the radio, it took a bit to actually match his voice and his actual look.

and books: so interesting, those peeks into bookshelves of otheres. that's what i really like a lot about goodreads, this suprise staples of books in the profiles of others.

Linda H. said...

I like to read a variety of books. Last week I finished The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. It is about a group of women who meet in the park and start a writing group.
It follows their literary and life challenges thru a year.

Last night I finished The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (winner of the Bellwether Prize for fiction). It is about a bi-racial girl's life after a family tragedy.

Carol Apple said...

Visiting from the She Writes Blog Hop and enjoying your innovative blog! I am a member of Goodreads but have not used the website much. Your post makes me want to go back and check out the possibilities I am missing. I am always happy to meet and talk with fellow readers!

Dorothee Lang said...

Hi Linda, hi Carol - good to see you visit.

About Goodreads: from my experience, the place starts to get interesting when you connect with some friends there, which creates a "book notes from friends stream" with interesting titles and notes and comments popping up.

Michelle Elvy said...

I am immersed in New Zealand poetry at the moment, Dorothee, and I find myself reflecting on the question of voice so much lately. Going to Auckland for some readings soon -- nervous about my voice not being an actual Kiwi voice, though I feel myself changing, my allegiance to this landscape growing stronger the more I stay... My voice in my writing is growing attached, stronger... and yet I don't sound very Kiwi, not at all. Interesting for me to ponder, anyway. The voice is so important... and now I know yours, too. Thanks for sharing all this here at your site.