...and what to do with Citizen Reader? Those are the questions.
If you were here on Monday, you got to witness the slow burn of my continuing midlife crisis, which mainly involves me not knowing how to best spend my time. Mostly I don't know how best to develop my professional self, which is a problem for a whole other blog (or therapist, or something). But recently I have faltered even in my one hobby: my reading self.* And, by extension, my blogging self. So, what to do?**
I want to make CR something different, something fun, something useful. So here were some things I was thinking about doing.
- A very slow, very intense nonfiction book club meeting. Like there's this great little book by Garret Keizer (he of the teaching memoir Getting Schooled) titled Privacy that I would love to read and discuss. Mainly because I find the subject interesting, but also because it's not the kind of book you can just pound through for fun. I've read parts of it before and put it down because I wanted to return to it when I had more time to savor it. So maybe a weekly book club meeting where we discuss one or two chapters of a specific book a week?
- Just pulling out favorite quotes from books I'm reading and posting those, letting you make your own decision based on the writing, if it's a book you want to read.
- Something like "An Education in Nonfiction." I'd love to mine this blog for some of my favorite and, I hate this descriptor, but here goes, "life-changing" nonfiction I've enjoyed. Nonfiction books that really shifted my thinking or shed a lot of light or just really taught me a lot about the world in one simple reading. Not a list of best books. Not a list of "should read" books. More like a compilation of my Nonfiction Greatest Hits, and what they meant to me. And asking if any of you have read them, and what they meant to you.
- Oooh, I almost forgot, how about Year of the Essay? Where we read and discuss just one essay by various authors throughout the year? I know essays are popular, but I don't think they get their due, either on review blogs or in the library worlds of collection development and readers' advisory.
- Some combination thereof.
What do you think? What would you like to see us read and talk about? I do think I'd like to return to the major emphasis being on nonfiction. I read a lot of fiction too, but man, I read a lot of crap fiction that I don't make it all the way through, and a lot of the stuff I do make it all the way through, I just do because I'm hate-reading it. Besides, everyone else talks about fiction. After many years of chasing reading and book headlines, I know this: I CANNOT PRETEND I CARE ABOUT THRILLERS OR THE LATEST NEW THRILLER JUST COMING OUT anymore.
Do let me know what you think we should do. I'd love to increase commenting and readership because that's really the most fun part of this entire endeavor anyway. We all need a bit of connection, and I'm no exception, even if I am introverted and grouchy and misanthropic and I don't really like Neil Gaiman. It has been an honor all these years to share reading connections with all of you. (Thank you again for that.)
*Once I filled out a questionnaire on which I was supposed to list hobbies or things I enjoyed doing. So I listed "reading," and then I had to stop and pause. I thought about writing "cooking" or "baking," but then remembered what I really like to do is read books about cooking. Ditto gardening, and ditto music, ditto everything, really, including travel, although I do like to actually travel, it's just that my time and budget constraints don't really lend themselves to travel right now. So I just left it at "reading." Yup. I made myself sound REALLY exciting on that questionnaire.
**This post is about how I want to change Citizen Reader. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I also want to change how I blog at The Great British TV site. Namely, I'd like to spend more time writing there. Because if there's anything that comes close to matching my love of reading, it's my love of watching British TV.