Tag Archives: books

Reading without obligation

I’ve mostly loved my 2012 reading year. Have there been some not-my-favorite books? Well yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Only two books I’ve read so far were sent by the publisher. (Well, I actually just finished another that arrived unsolicited, but still. Very small number.) And since I was oh-so very choosy, those books weren’t a burden to read or to review.

Of course, I haven’t read all that many books, either. (Current tally: 36. Well shy of the 70s to 90s I’ve averaged the past five years.)

I have read several titles for my personal challenge with Amy — I’m nearly done with that list! — but otherwise I’ve just been reading books from my own shelves, as and when I want to.

And it’s been bliss, I’m here to say. It was actually kind of like my reading was before I started a blog, except that before I started a blog I didn’t have a bookcase full of unread books …

I’ve reviewed very few books, and while I’m OK with that for this past year, overall, as I’ve already said, I miss blogging and hope to get back to talking about the books I read, as I read them.

Have you tried to recapture the way you used to read? Were you successful?

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Ibid by Mark Dunn

Since Ella Minnow Pea is one of my favorite books of all time, it only makes sense that I would search out other books by its author, Mark Dunn. (I’m embarrassed to say how long it actually took me to look it up, though.)

When I did that, I found that Dunn has written several other books. So far, Ibid: A Novel is the only one I’ve read.

Here’s the setup: After his editor’s son accidentally drowns the sole copy of his latest manuscript in the bathtub, the author decides to publish that biography — of three-legged circus performer-cum-deodorant magnate and humanitarian Jonathan Blashette — through the only part of the text that survives: the footnotes.

Point the first: I don’t think any other author (that I’ve encountered, anyway) could pull off a fictional narrative consisting wholly of footnotes. Dunn did it, and did it well. So very clever.

Point the second: I was laughing out loud for the first half of the book or so. I found it quite humorous.

Number three: The laughs trailed off as the end of the book neared. With biographies, fictional or not, I guess we generally know how they end? Not that thrilling. Or exciting. Or funny.

Overall, totally worth it, but I was somewhat disappointed in the end. I’m just not sure how justified my feelings on that subject are. Maybe it was unavoidable.

4.5 stars (out of 5)

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

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