Extreme Bookworminess 

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I spent much of my night trying to write two blog posts. I was in such a writerly mood but everything is half-baked, weak and sterile.

Starting off with the usual bloggy autobiographical thing, I grew frustrated that my life came up with no conclusion with which I could end. I then succumbed to an overthinking headache.

Matt suggested I write about semen sales. For a few minutes I was on a roll. Yeah, why not inflate the importance of sea urchin cum to that of bull? A mad scientist extravaganza in the making. Then, the sheer grossness of my invention made me wonder if I weren't being silly. My post seemed just slightly too imbued with the shades of incest and rape. I'll save it for a later, less sinister mood.

I really want to get to sleep tonight, yet until I get the writing bug out of my system, it'll gnaw at me all night. I've decided to write now, just about this day's minor obsessions. Books, as usual.

This evening, after work, I returned to my favourite teahouse for an hour of Perdido Street Station. After I drained my second pot of tea, I returned home to a great book review by Hebdomeros, on Gus Openshaw’s Whale Killing Journal by Keith Thomson. Zing! It went onto my book recommendation wiki!

This book recommendation wiki, last week's invention, was to be my magnum opus. I added myself and my friends, emailed them with excited invitations to start adding away their recommendations. I foresaw us saying to ourselves, why here's a book Bobby Jo would just love - better add it to the wiki.

In 24 hours, however, we'd exhausted our recommendations. It now sits quietly, like my long-defunct book club blog, MaikoPunk and my discarded magazine enterprise, and the Espresso Stories endeavour, with which we were as close as sending out our press release.

For eleven years, I have kept a list of all the books I've read. Recently expanded to include unabridged books consumed during commutes, my list puts me at around 140 books since 1995. Few are worthy of showing off.

I do want to improve, to add my conquests to my list and to talk more about what I read. I even briefly joined a real book club for half an hour and liked what I heard. Unfortunately, their tastes soon forked off from mine. I want to be recommended books, but I don't want to be recommended bestsellers.

Cleaning up earlier tonight, I found a scrap of paper with librarything.com on it.

It sounds like what I am doing already in a one-stop shop:
  • Catalog your books online or keep a reading list.
  • Show everyone your library, or keep it private. Find people with the same books as you. Get recommendations from readers like you.
  • Sort by author, title and many other fields by clicking on the name of the field.
  • Import your Amazon wishlist.
What is holding me back is the daunting task of taking off each book from the shelf and typing in the title. Even worse, I have a huge collection of books in Romanian, Japanese and Chinese, with a few in Arabic, Hungarian, Slovakian, French, Spanish, German and Italian thrown in. The cataloguing of the three representatives of non-Western scripts really frighten me.

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