Overachieve much?

October 12, 2009 at 8:44 am 5 comments

This article in the Times about a woman who reads literally a book a day and then blogs about it caught my eye today. At first read, I was wowed. But then I actually thought about it. While it is admirable that she prioritizes reading in this way and sets such a good example for her three sons (all three of whom read widely, according to the article), I think there is something annoyingly trendy about taking something you love and making it into a break-neck sprint. Like to cook? I know! I’ll cook all of Julia Child’s recipes in 365 days! Like to read? I know! I’ll read a book a day for 365 days!

I’d like to blame Julie Powell for this trend, but it may have started before her. Why is the internet so recently peopled with those blogging at a sprint? And doesn’t doing everything at such a pace ruin any enjoyment you might have of it?


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , , , .

On Your Shelf? Inkheart

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. KT  |  October 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I can’t imagine that her posts would be terribly insightful. I mean, it’s great that she reads and it’s great that her reading encourages her kids…

    …BUT I am old-fashioned enough to believe that books should be savored slowly, and that sometimes it’s necessary to take more than a day with a book. I can’t imagine I’d get very much out of a 500-page novel if I had to read it in a day.

    On a side note, I did enjoy the Salinger reference in the NYT article ;)

    • 2. Corey  |  October 12, 2009 at 5:19 pm

      Totally agree. I also think that she’s actually limiting herself by reading a book a day. She mentions in the article that she can only read relatively short, relatively “light” books. Would she choose those same books if not under the same time constraints?

      Cooking a recipe a day is one thing (you have to make dinner anyway), but rushing through world literature in this way doesn’t seem particularly worthwhile. You’re only short-changing yourself.

      • 3. KT  |  October 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

        Maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d rather do the book a week thing and focus on classics. I feel like there are so many I haven’t read that I could spend a year reading a book like The Inferno or Anna Karenina or Ivanhoe (or even On the Road or For Whom the Bell Tolls) a week, still feel enormously challenged, and feel as though I’ve accomplished something really worthwhile.

        Plus, imagine how useful it would be to have read 52 more literary classics! Not only would it do wonders for conversation, it’d be a nice foundation for an advanced English degree.

        Now I’m seriously tempted. Hmmmmm! That would certainly be a new direction for my blog posts to take! :D

      • 4. Corey  |  October 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm

        That actually sounds pretty cool. Take some time to really get to know a classic a week, no matter the length. You could get pretty intimate with some plays in that time. :)

  • 5. Happy Birthday, LT! « Literary Transgressions  |  November 12, 2009 at 12:51 am

    […] honor of this occasion, I am announcing the First Annual LT Classics Challenge! Inspired by this post, I’m making the¬†commitment this month to read at least one recognized major literary classic […]


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