As anyone who knows me at all, knows very well (and often to their chagrin) I love to judge. Among other things, I judge shoes and grammar, dietary choices and punctuality (I see many of you nodding in agreement). Mother Teresa I am not.
However, I am not too good at judging culture. I tend to just know that I liked something, or I didn’t, and the reason for that is well, inexplicable. I am not one to fear derision, so I have to assume either I am too lazy or insufficiently thoughtful to have fully understood the reasons behind my value judgement.
And I do sit in fora where such judgement would normally be expected. I am a member of two book clubs. But luckily, they both let me get away with this approach for two very different reasons. The first book club isn’t really a book club at all – it is a group of friends, who read the same book (usually) and get together regularly to talk about everything but the book. The other one focuses on scoring a series of attributes, such as plot and characterization (a far easier task) and less on demanding descriptions of why you happen to feel that way.
So this project is a bit of an anomaly for me. Because it demands that I judge culture, and do so publicly. It also demands that I think about the book while I am reading it. This has changed my reading behaviors a little. I normally fly through books, squeezing them in between other activities. But I now have to take a leaf out of William Henry Davies’ book and take some time to ‘stand and stare’. This does not come naturally to me. And it means I read much more slowly, which is unfortunate, given quite how much reading I have to do in a very short space of time.
This is in no way an apology for not meeting my reading deadlines. I am, in fact, ahead. It is simply what I am thinking about the project today. As many of you will also know, I don’t have much of a verbal filter, so thought I should share this.