Well, here we are. I now have a literary blog. My friends may recall I used to write a lot of book reviews for goodreads. Then amazon bought out goodreads and I left. Maybe it was an overreaction but amazon seems to own too much of the literary world these days. They have plenty of people writing reviews for them. I decided they weren’t going to have my work. I had started writing those reviews simply for fun. One of them, I thought was rather good and I posted it on facebook. To my surprise, people were appreciative and encouraging so I started taking it more seriously. However, I still did it primarily because I enjoyed it. That’s what I plan to do again. All my old goodreads reviews are here. One of these I originally wrote on amazon when I was just a lad and hadn’t started disliking that company. Another was adapted from an old college paper. I’ll be posting new book reviews here exclusively from now on. I do it for fun and to share with friends. Would I love more recognition? Welllllllll…
The title of this blog comes from St. Augustine. I first read of it in an essay on Shakespeare by Jacques Barzun. The Latin phrase means “Take up and read!” Augustine said he heard a voice speaking these words, urging him to read the Bible. Barzun used it as the best piece of literary advice I’ve ever read. There is far too much over-preparation and close-mindedness about literature these days. I suffer from it too. However, I have been trying to get over it and just pick things up, read them and see what I think. If I have a higher goal here, it’s to encourage that kind of thinking.
This blog will, naturally, reflect my own passions and tastes. I love poetry and drama. My favorite genre, by far, is horror. I also enjoy reading history and historical fiction. My heart seems to belong to an idea of the pre-Romantic era but often strays elsewhere. Victorian literature draws me but primarily in its less familiar manifestations. Sorry Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens, but I’m more interested in Marie Corelli and Arthur Machen. The heyday of American pulp magazines (for me the 1920s to the 1950s) is, in my opinion, an unsung golden age of short fiction. I’m heavily into opera, classical music and classic American cinema (the very late 1920s to the very early 1960s) so books on those topics will appear somewhat frequently. These are my favorite areas but I am not limited to them. Please suggest books to me! At times, I also hope to communicate my love of the physical book.
So that’s my little introduction. Pretentious? Probably a little! But I hope you’ll enjoy these reviews, from time to time at least.