In 2005 my sister gave me a blog subscription, which became A Work in Progress. What began as very short musings on whatever happened to be of interest at the moment has morphed into musings on something I’ve always loved—books. I currently work full time in an academic library and previously worked in a small family run independent bookstore, so I’ve worked with a variety of books for a number of years.
Although I’ve always loved books I’ve never formally studied literature. I have also never worked in a formal capacity as a book reviewer and do not consider myself a writer. I consider A Work in Progress a sort of online book journal to help me remember what I’ve read, interesting information about authors and their works, and a way to think about how books fit together in the larger literary picture. If you are looking for professional book reviews or critical analysis there are a number of excellent literary blogs where I would be happy to direct you, but that is outside the scope of A Work in Progress.
Although I like to think I read widely, I tend to be fairly predictable in my reading choices. However, I am very willing to try something new. You can always find a mystery or crime novel on my night stand. I also am currently very interested in interwar fiction and domestic novels (what would be considered middlebrow fiction), but not to the exclusion of other types of books. I am always trying to read more classics, short stories and works in translation. The books I choose to read at any given time depend on my mood at the moment.
My blog is a hobby, not my life. I work to live and buy books (and pay bills) and reading is meant to be an enjoyment and a pleasure. This blog is also meant to be a pleasure, not work. My enjoyment of it comes from bookish discussions with other readers that my posts might generate. I tend to be a forgiving reader and can usually find something to like in the books I read. I don’t necessarily love everything I pick up. Reading is a very subjective experience and we don’t all like the same things. I welcome comments and discussion and you need not agree with me, but I do ask that comments remain civil.
When I do have free time and I’m not reading I also am a needleworker and will occasionally share my creative endeavors here.
I like to keep this quote by an "old-school" academic in mind when reading:
"[the literary critic's] aim should be to interpret the work they are writing about and to help readers to appreciate it, by defining and analysing those qualities that make it precious and by indicating the angle of vision from which its beauties are visible. But many critics do not realise their function. They aim not to appreciate but to judge; they seek first to draw laws about literature and then to bully readers into accepting these laws..."
books, needlework, altered art, walking, travelling, museums