What Does Your Booklist Say About You?
Periodically posts pop up about what people are reading or have read, most recently fellow Bee Kevin Pashuk. We all see them. What’s on your nightstand/eReader? People, myself included, reply with a wide variety of answers. As I read through the comments, I find myself making assessments about the commenters based upon their reading selections.
“Likes business books. Must be very serious.”
“Interesting collection of mystery novels. Bet she’s great at solving problems.”
Of course, then there was my list. “All over the place. Must have too many weird voices in her head.” That might or might not be true. The reply from the author of the post about my list was far kinder. He called it “eclectic”. (For what it’s worth, this book personality quiz agrees with him. I’m an “eclectic reader”.) It got me wondering, what do our reading choices really say about us?
There have been a great many posts out there making assessments based on what your favorite book is – often unkind assessments. Others are less judgmental, but not much. I don’t know that I even have just one favorite book. A favorite since high school is Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. All-time favorite fiction? Either To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner. (My love for Faulkner probably explains a lot of my loathing of Hemingway and Steinbeck.) Non-fiction? Probably His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis.
At least one person stood up for the eclectic readers though. Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge readers by their books.
There is also considerable concern if your bookshelf is messy or unorganized. I might be in even more trouble since my books are currently organized by the Tetris method – how can I arrange them so that I can fit as many as possible in the limited amount of space available in my condo. The books on my nightstand? They are in order of read priority. Periodically, one gets bumped up or down in the order.
There is at least one online social network just for book lovers, Goodreads so that you can keep up with like-minded readers or us nutty eclectic ones. I love Goodreads, though I have a hard time keeping up with up it. You can find great book recommendations and reviews, as well as occasionally raising your eyebrows at your friends’ book choices. (And yes, anyone who lists the Fifty Shades of Grey series on their booklist gets a raised eyebrow, not because of content, but the atrocious writing.) Goodreads is nowhere near current because I can’t even remember all the books I’ve read in my lifetime. I suspect that most people who’ve joined such a niche social network are the same.
At the risk of exposing my own neuroses via my current reading list, here’s mine (to read, in progress, or most recent read).
- Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, Jon Meacham – In progress
- The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm, James Napoli
- Night, Elie Weisel
- Catherine the Great, Robert K. Massie
- The Survival Handbook, DK Publishing and Colin Towell
- Six Frigates, Ian Toll
- My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams, John and Abigail Adams
- If by Sea, George C. Daughan
- Founding Brothers, Joseph J. Ellis
- Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith (Audible book) In progress
- Bounty: A Novel, Michael Byrnes (Audible book)
- Elements of Style, Strunk and White (Kindle) (a constant re-read)
- How to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn, Steve Blakeman (Kindle) (recent read)
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King (Kindle) (recent read)
- Transform: Dramatically Improve Your Career, Business, Relationships, and Life: One Simple Step at a Time, Jeff Haden (Kindle) In progress
- The Innocent (Will Robie Book 1), David Baldacci (Kindle)
- Scrum Product Ownership: Balancing Value from the Inside Out, Robert Galen (Kindle)
- Mirror Sight, Kristen Britain (Kindle)
I’m not sure what this list actually says about me other than I’m all over the map. There’s naval history, American history, murder mysteries, fantasy, writing, work-related, survival guides, even one self-improvement book, which I don’t normally read… Maybe there are too many voices in my head.
What do you think?
Do you have an “eclectic” booklist? Or are you fairly predictable (not a bad thing, by the way)? What do you think your booklist says about you?
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All thoughts and opinions are my own. They do not represent those of any current or former employers or clients.