I’m sure it won’t come as a shock to anyone here on Goodreads/Cannonball that many of us love to keep track, one way or another, of what we read, not to mention write about it. So I was expecting a bit more, I must say. Bob (or Book of Books), is a dated list of what Paul has read. But that is literally it. No authors’ names, no plot summaries, no ratings, no impressions, no thoughts of any kind about each book. Sure, there a lot of them you’re going to remember, but thirty plus years in? That’s an impressive feat of memory if this list is more than just a headcount. I’m basing this off of the title page picture, because there isn’t much information otherwise.
But it was her shock, when staying with a French family as an exchange student, that people actually read for fun that helped me understand. “Students who read even when their grades didn’t depend on it. Teenagers who could assume their friends also read – for fun, and not just “fun” reading.” Because that was not at all unusual to my generation. Maybe you read Nancy Drew. Maybe you read The Boxcar Children. Maybe you read fairy tales. Maybe you read comic books. Maybe you read Tiger Beat. But pretty much everybody read something. Because, as a young person, what else were you going to do? You had limited TV options, and they went off air about 11PM.
So I can see the careful chronicling of look, I’ve read this stuff, without any interaction. Because if you don’t have friends to share the good stuff when you find it, or talk about the crappy stuff even, what you read seems to sit in a sort of vacuum. I guess that is why she went on to become the editor of the New York Times Book Review, because sometimes you’ve got to share. Even if only as a list in Bob.