Thursday, March 5, 2009

This is not a post about non-fiction

Here at Fine Print, we stick to fiction. Occasionally, you might see someone veer off into the non-fiction realm, but I'm new here and am not quite bold enough to do so. As such, I will not write about Shakespeare Wrote for Money, Nick Hornby's brilliant new, incredibly funny collection of "Stuff I've Been Reading" columns chronicling...well, the stuff he reads. I will not mention that this is the third such collection, following The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. The Dirt , all three of which you should, if you like reading at all, reserve right now. (Just click on the title of the book and then click "request." No, really. Now. I'll wait...)

Instead, I'll mention that keeping a book diary can be a really great way to track not only what you've read, but also how reading one book can lead you to three others that may or may not be related, and which you otherwise might never have thought of reading ("reading begets reading" is the Hornby quote I would use if I were discussing his non-fiction books, which I clearly am not).

Book diaries are also really great for seeing how the books you read influence your life. Case in point: I was recently trying to figure out why I had such a case of the blahs. When I looked at my reading history on the WCPL website (I promise I'm not being paid extra to promote that -- it just really is that cool that if you opt in, it automatically keeps track of what you've checked out and lets you rate each item), I got a hint about why I might've been feeling a little more down than usual. In the past month, among the books I've read were: More Than It Hurts You by Darrin Strauss (subject: Munchausen by Proxy syndrome), We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (subject: a school shooting),the Big Read selection Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (subject: a school shooting), Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (subject: a dying man ruminates on his life in a letter to his 7-year-old son who will grow up without him), and Inferno by Dante Alighieri (subject: Hell). All of these were very good and I would highly recommend reading them, but they aren't really light-hearted. So, I've decided that the next few books I read need to be light, interesting, and humorous. I hear there are some funny columns that were just published in a new book...

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