As with all things, the blog and I go in waves. Sometimes I love doing it, sometimes it feels like a chore, and sometimes (well, like recently) I just don’t bother at all. At the start, I used to force myself to blog, but then I did some thinking and I realised two things:
- This is a hobby. I do it for fun. There are enough things in life I have to do (e.g. work) or feel super guilty if I don’t do (e.g. run) – I should allow myself to be a little more lackadaisical. I won’t lie, as a structured overachiever, I still struggle with this, but I am trying to allow myself to be a little lazy, from time to time
- I need to be inspired. If a book doesn’t inspire me to blog, it probably isn’t that good. And I do mean ‘good’ in a somewhat literary sense. I recently read Catching the Sun by Tony Parsons. I read it in my cosy chair, on a wet weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have verbally recommended it to others. But did I have anything to say about it? Did it stir any deep emotions or make me reconsider pertinent issues? No it did not.
The latter point, more than my new acceptance of occasional laziness, has led me to reconsider my blog. Instead of blogging about everything I read (because how much do you really want to read about books I hated, or more frequently, about books I think are just a bit meh?) I am only going to blog about books I would recommend, for one reason or another (NB. no, pedants, this doesn’t apply to reading projects. If I try and blog the whole Man Booker List again this year, you will get my opinions on all of it warts n’ all. But please judges, I beg: no. Will. Self.)
Having thought a bit about it, a book must be one of three things to be worth a recommendation:
- It must make me think. The best marker of this is that I usually want to chat to others about it
- It must be beautiful, and / or (usually and) evoke emotion in me (this doesn’t mean actual tears, we have covered this earlier) but I must care about the characters
- I must lose myself in it. If hours pass, and I don’t answer my own name being called, I am onto a winner
Some books have all three of these things, but must don’t. I think one is probably enough.