“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.”
To me, one of the most enjoyable things in the world is chatting about books. I just love comparing notes about a book I’ve read or hearing from someone about a book they’ve just read and are raving about. Just recently, a friend loaned me a book that she’d enjoyed and that I’d read some great reviews about. Some time soon, she and I are planning a chat about it over coffee.
My adorable and accomplished sister Steph and I talk about books all the time over the phone and whenever we get together. Since Steph is a seasoned editor with a fabulous sense of structure, I always love to hear her take on something I’ve read. Since she reads everything with a sharp editorial eye, she’s always analyzing how and why a piece of fiction works or falls short, so I learn a lot from listening to her — it’s a little like taking an editorial workshop! Steph is also an endless source of ideas for my ever-growing book list, since she reads widely and voraciously.
There’s also a lot of book chatting going on at my house as well. There are books everywhere, and David, Alex, and I are always reading something. For some reason, we’ve all suddenly become hooked on Raymond Chandler. Just recently, Alex was reading aloud some descriptive passages to me that he was totally enjoying and we both end up marveling at our boy Raymond’s fabulous character sketches, which are truly miracles of economy and brio. Then we started talking about how effective the first-person narrative is in conveying Philip Marlowe’s personality — and we were off and running.
Here’s one big benefit I’ve discovered about book chats, especially impromptu ones: Not only can they stoke your appreciation of great writing, they can also be incredibly motivating — especially if you’re feeling a bit stymied by your own work. So why not chat up a book some time soon — and see where it takes you? And write on.
Living in a lovely rural spot is wonderful but also isolating, and though I rarely chatted about fiction when I lived in the city I find literary blogs a good substitute!
When I used to edit an Arthurian journal I tended to talk about non-fiction titles when I met up with like-minded people once a year or so. Since then I have never really thought about joining a book group — maybe I like ‘spontaneous’ discussions and book groups to me seem a bit of an artificial situation!
Thanks so much for your note. Yes, literary blogging is surely a most rewarding way to discuss books and ideas with kindred spirits! I always enjoy your insightful, fresh-minted comments and savor the spontaneity of communicating via cyperspace. I do belong to a book group, but it has an interesting angle: we are all writers and meet together every 4-6 weeks to discuss authors from a style-and-craft perspective, which is fun. Right now, we are reading Madame Bovary, a book I admire greatly.
Write on, Karin
Write on, Karin
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