I keep wanting to write reviews of all the books I read, not just the Classics Challenge ones, but finding the idea too daunting. It’s not the quantity of books I read that worries me, but the quality of the reviews. Having produced about 5,000 words a week for three years for my degree, and then the post-degree review-writing that I do at Quadrapheme, I’m not at all used to the idea of just writing a couple of paragraphs of reflection and then letting it go. I have this odd notion that unless a review is deeply considered and profoundly analytical and aspiring to be worthy of the London Review of Books, it is just not worth writing.
This notion is clearly absolute bollocks, of course, but it’s persistent.
Anyway, my point is that I’m going to try and start writing reviews of as many of the books I read as possible. They’ll be brief, they’ll be personal and probably quite opinionated, and I doubt I’ll quote much, but at least they’ll get me started. The Classics Challenge reviews will still, probably, read like earnest undergraduate essays, but that’s kind of the point of that challenge, for me.
The next book that I’m reading, unfortunately, is for me to review over at Shiny New Books, so I can’t really write about it here until that review is published in March. But there will be something here soon. (The book, if you’re interested, which of course you are, is The Well by Catherine Chanter. It is about a family that moves from London to the country and discovers some rather horrifying truths about the land that they’ve purchased. I love anti-pastoral, and this looks to be a strong contender in that field. Drop by SNB at the end of March and read what I think of it!)