Phil Gyford


Wednesday 19 February 2003

PreviousIndexNext Books read and to be read

Lists of books I’ve read each year, what I’m reading now and what’s sitting on the shelf waiting to be read. An aide memoire for me. There are a few gaps unfortunately, presumably resulting from years when I wasn’t quite so embarrassingly anal about chronicling my life. I must catch up on writing my reviews.


I've never been too fond of book lists. Seems to me that the book lists for courses just get longer and longer. I remember doing one course where the book list was so long, you were tempted to just bin it. I thought at the time that it would take me years to get through that list. One of the problems with providing long book lists to people is that they might take them seriously. In an effort to get at least part way through them they try and digest them, stop enjoying books, and stop reading them carefully. It doesn't stop there, if you kill someones love of reading, it can take years to get back.

I've been rereading books for years, many of my favourite books I've read more than ten times. I spend more time rereading than I do reading new books.

Its nearly 20 years since I finished by last literature course. Over two years and four terms I must have read 40 great works of American literature. The routine of reading a book a week, then discussing it in a group, is a good one. If you know you are going to talk about a book with people, it gives you an extra motivation. In the intervening 20 years I've had many interesting conversations with people about one or more of these forty books.

I don't go to libraries any more. I've got used to the kind of browsing that doesn't involve craning your head to one side. Amazon has replaced my library, a sign of affluence I suppose.

"The earth teaches us more about ourselves than all the books in the world because it is resistant to us"
I read that in a book.

Posted by Richard Hyett on 20 February 2003, 10:38 pm | Link

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