Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome to the Cafe!


I've had it in my mind for some time that I wanted to start a book blog. I started a personal blog a few months ago, but hadn't found the right inspiration to keep writing on it. I never wanted a blog to be my online journal, for all the world to know my secrets and my shortcomings. I never felt like my day-to-day was something interesting or worthwhile enough to grace the online world with. I needed a blog with a theme and with a purpose - something worth writing about.

It just so happens that I am an avid book lover. I don't just love to read books. I love books. I love the way they look, all perfectly lined up on the shelf, their covers a smooth and even line just a few inches back from the edge. I love the way they smell (except maybe a few used books - you have to be careful with those). I love the way it feels to hold one in my hand as I curl up on the couch, in the bed, or outside on a blanket. Best of all, I love what is inside. I love stories. I love the sound of words flowing together in rythmns and patterns. I love the characters -  their goals, their triumphs, their shortcomings, their delusions. I love the many paths that I travel as I wander through the worlds described on the page. I love the lessons learned, the heartaches felt, the battles fought.

I love the words of Jasper Fforde who wrote,

"Humans like stories. Humans need stories. Stories are good. Stories work. Story clarifies and captures the essence of the human spirit. Story, in all its forms - of life, of love, of knowledge - has traced the upward surge of mankind. And story, you mark my words, will be with the last human to draw breath" (Fforde, 204).

Stories and story telling are a part of who we are, as human beings. Books and their stories help us understand a part of ourselves. As we read about the struggles and subsequent triumphs of characters in a story, we somehow find greater strength to overcome our own challenges. As we read about suffering and tragedy, we find the comfort we need for our own suffering. As we read about love and romance, we value more the loved ones in our own life.

I believe reading a book is a very individual and personal experience. Fforde writes,

"Reading . . . was as creative a process as writing, sometimes more so. When we read of the dying rays of the setting sun or the boom and swish of the incoming tide, we should reserve as much praise for ourselves as for the author. After all, the reader is doing all the work" (Fforde, 52).

I try to avoid saying that a book is "good" or "bad." A book that I love, another person might not enjoy at all. In fact I know this to be true of many of the books that I consider to be my favorites. My reading and enjoyment of a book is based on my own experiences and perceptions of what the author is trying to portray. A person's mood, experience, and expectations all have a lot to do with how they feel about any given book at any given time. I try, as I read, to remember that even though I might not enjoy a book, it is still loved by someone else, and there is always a reason for that enjoyment. There is always something to learn from a book, even if it's only a deeper understanding of your fellow human beings.

That all being said, this is a blog about my own experience and journeys with the books I read. I hope my wandering and ramblings will be of benefit to someone. If you ever wanted to get to know me better, you are likely about to learn more about me than you ever wanted to know. I believe you can learn a lot about a person by learning about their experiences with books.

Enjoy! Please leave comments and tell me what you think. Please try to be considerate of others (and me) in your comments, but don't be afraid to stir up a little debate and discussion either.

Be aware that my posts will range anywhere from simple summary and review to flat out analysis and religious or philosophical pontification. I'll try to include a break in the post before I start off-roading it too far off the paved and easy to follow trail.



Forde, Jasper. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels. New York: Penguin, 2007.

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