Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Non updated websites

A reader has gently chided me and asked whether I am a "slow reader", due to the fact that (he claims) I have had the same three books listed in the "What I'm reading" section in the sidebar on the left for the entire time he has been reading the blog.

That is not entirely true. Over the 18 months or so the list has been there, quite a lot of books have appeared and then vanished. These are some of the books that I have actually read in that time. (I do read a substantial number of books). However, there is something of a problem. When I started the list I had eight to ten books sitting on a table next to my bed, and these were the ones I put on the initial list. I had at least started all of them - in some cases just having read a page or two. Since then, most of the books on the original list have vanished as I have read them, but the remaining three have stubbornly refused to be read. Mostly this is just that I haven't got round to reading them, but they haven't really grabbed me either. "Gangs of New York" seems quite good, and I will no doubt get to it at some point. "Tea From an Empty Cup" is by Pat Cadigan, and Cadigan writes intense and dense books that require a lot of concentration. To be properly appreciated her books need to be read within one sitting or within a couple of days at the most, and I haven't really managed to sit down for such a sitting. "The Seduction of Place" is the one really problematical one. It's a book about architecture containing lots of interesting information about how certain cities got the way they are, but it is rather tiresomely ideological, and ideology in urban development and urban design usually leads to bad places. (It is also a rather rare thing - a book I read because it had a really good title - summarising the buzz I get out of seeing and visiting new places - something I practically find necessary for survival).

Some would suggest that I should remove the books from the list if I have gone so long without finishing them, but that would be an admission of defeat somehow: an acknowledgement that I never will read them. And I think somehow that I should read them. The longer they stay up the more I feel so.

The trouble with this though is that the list then doesn't summarise my taste in books very well. Stuff I find hard going stays up, and stuff that I enjoy and read in one sitting stays up for a much shorter time, if it even gets up at all. (Also, there is a feeling that if I put a book on the list I have an obligation to then read it quickly, and that is perhaps not fun). In recent months I have been reading books, but I have not updated the list.

So the overall rule is the more I enjoy a book the shorter the time it spends on the list. Oops.

Perhaps it is the way the list is structured: I update the blogger template. This takes longer than just making a blog post, and doesn't keep a proper historical record.
Or perhaps I have just grown lazy.

But I am not going to delete the feature for now. I think I will try to update the list properly, and I may make a rule that all books stay up for at least a week, even if I have already finished reading them by the time I put them up. In fact I think I shall put up some more books that I am either reading or I have just read right now.

Or I could switch to actually writing reviews of the books I read. But that sounds like work.

But the three books are staying up until I have actually read them.

No comments:

Blog Archive