t’s been a weird sorta a year. Maybe it’s because my site pulls in about 200 readers per blog (not many, but I’m proud of the hits). Or maybe it’s because I’ll chat about books and reading at work and over at the model train club. But I’m known as a writer and a reader, and suddenly this year I’ve been buried in loaned books.
Last year it started with The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, two monster books you can use to chock a car’s wheels to keep it from rolling. And then the deluge happened. The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. The Big Over Easy. The Historian. Shades of Grey. Tonight I just knocked off My Tank is Fight! but I still have The Eyre Affair to knock off. Oh, and Seven Eves. And if you go through my book review listing to the left (which presents my books in order of review-postings) you can see that I tend to read about two books between each book loaned to me (hey, I have books I’m interested in, too!). So that gives you an idea of my rate – a book a week, not bad (sometimes some of those books are shorties, but that’s the review game, you know?).
And what have I loaned out? I bought my hairdresser Flashman but then she moved to Portland and I never learned how that came out. And I loaned out The Scar and that person retired from my workplace. And that’s about it. Still, I do get back comments that people read suggestions off my reviews so I guess it’s not as one-way as I’ve bemoaned.
I guess one thing comes to mind out of this stream-of-conscious blog: remember, if you loan a book (i.e. force it into someone’s hands, babbling about how great it is) then it should be a common courtesy to stand on the cliff of potentially tedious reading, look out over the drop, and say, “Oh, and, is there something you’d like me to read?” After all, it’s only fair.
But hey, don’t get me wrong. I love reading off people’s recommendations. There are a number of books I would never have looked at twice that I really enjoyed (pretty much the entire list presented above, actually – they were all super books). But yes, it’s only fair. After pushing, you should open yourself up and ask the person you’ve dumped on for their own private passion.
You might be surprised.