One of the endearing characteristics of the book-blog world is its chumminess. Maybe readers feel embattled, or maybe they are just good communicators and enjoy building networks. Possibly this is a blogger thing rather than a bookish thing, but the fashion and cooking blogs I follow don’t seem quite so… enmeshed. (The cooks come close, though, I have to say.)
So every now and then, somebody invents a clever community activity, like the above: the New York Review Books Reading Challenge. It was cooked up by Mrs. B. of The Literary Stew and Honey of Coffeespoons. All you have to do is read one book from the incredibly enticing NYRB list, and post a review between November 7 and November 13. If you’re already blogging, put your blog link into a comment on either of the above blogs. Otherwise you can use LibraryThing or Goodreads. Honey and Mrs. B are judging a little competition — the prize, naturally is A BOOK! Honey and Mrs. B will blog about the reviews which I guess makes this a meta-blog event.
It‘s already been entertaining to see what other bloggers are choosing, even before they start reviewing. I’ve picked out William Dean Howells’ Indian Summer, which NYRB calls “one of the most charming and memorable romantic comedies in American literature.” That seems like a stretch, considering The Rise of Silas Lapham, but I’m always ready to be charmed. (I also realize now that I was influenced by the gorgeous John Singer Sargent watercolor on its cover. Covers are always a strong suit with these NYRB selections.) I also fell for Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Summer Will Show, set in Paris in 1848, and Caroline Blackwood’s Great Granny Webster. That’s apparently an auto-biographical novel about growing up as an orphan among English aristocrats. Blackwood is part-Guinness, so who could resist?
Want to join me? Get that order in to Amazon now and your books will be ready on your “to read” stack by Monday. (Or, in my house, gathering dust by November 7, but that’s another story.)