I’m no critic.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I analyze and critique a lot of things, especially for my day job, but I’m certainly not a literary critic. I’ve said this before.
Reading is education and entertainment. I read to learn history, business, science. I read to experience other people’s stories and situations and struggles. I read to be exposed to new ideas and arguments. I read to learn about craft, about plotting and structure, about words and sentences. I sometimes read because a certain book will look great on my bookshelf. I do not, however, read to criticize.
I have opinions about what I read, of course. I use those opinions to influence my own thinking, my own actions, my own writing. But different books appeal to different people for different reasons. What I love about a book, someone else will hate. What I hate about it, someone else will love. That’s a silly game. Sure, I could try to objectively pick it apart or glorify it based on technical merit, but who selects books based on their technical merit?
So instead of critiquing or reviewing books, I’m going to do the opposite. Is it the opposite? Maybe not. Instead of telling you about a book after I finish it, I’m going to tell you about a book as I start it. I’ll tell you why it appeals to me. I’ll tell you why I grabbed it off the shelf. Maybe I’ll tell you its history (i.e. how long it sat on my shelf and why). If a book I mention seems interesting, don’t wait for my opinion about it. Read it yourself and form your own opinion. If you’ve already read it and have an opinion, feel free to share.A great book can change your life, but not all books are great. Does that make the less-than-spectacular books worthless? Of course not. The beginning of every book is the start of a new adventure. Some adventures are better than others, but most of them are worth the journey.
Also published on Medium.