Friday, January 1, 2010

Call me Macumbeira, and welcome to my reading diary.

As I mentioned in an earlier version of my profile, when I started on 29th March 2009, the blog’s main purpose was to collect and order the numerous snippets of notes, website prints and book annotations, which were piling up on my night table, gathering dust under and around my bed and as a rule littered the house.

I succeeded in this and our place looks much tidier than before.

Another objective was to “get some structure in my reading notes” and there is quite an evolution there too. Structuring my notes invariably led me to write some kind of  appreciations. These short texts could, without additional work, be posted as reviews on Librarything. In the beginning, these texts were nothing more than simple blurbs, but encouraged by kind reactions, I tried my hand at longer reviews, first of about 500 words and then excited by the challenge, I came to write full-blown reviews of around 3000 words. These reviews are accessible either by clicking the authors name on the left hand side or through the link review, where they will appear chronologically.

I have always been sensitive about the aesthetics of my blog. The “look and feel” of the pages has to be agreeable and a reason for visitors to linger a bit longer on the site. From the start, I was careful in picking a telling illustration for my posts. In the beginning, they were not more than a stamp-like image in the left-hand corner of the text, but since the summer of 2010, when attaching Turner images to Golding reviews and the result looking real cool, I have switched to full width illustrations. This is nicer. My reader’s blog can now double up as a “Musée imaginaire”, a collection of illustrations, paintings, drawings and pictures, which have appealed to me and which I want to keep close at hand. It is under this heading of “Musée imaginaire”, that I collect the different artists whose work I chose for the illustration.

For the smaller notes, I have replaced the too general “musing” by a classification under text, note, quote, review, trivia, list-mania and study.

“Review” is obvious as a heading. Under text, I collect full pages of writings which appealed to me for one reason or another. A note is a side-step, an additional piece of information I penned down when I was reading a specific book. Quote again is obvious, study are the more school-ish types of notes while list-mania are the lists which were funny or interesting enough to keep for later reference. Trivia is the rest, mostly personal stuff.

Hope you enjoy,


- addition 29 March 2012 -

One of the advantages of keeping a detailed reading diary is that it allows statistical feedback . I read approximately 25 books a year, which is two a month with the exception of the holidays where I can tackle one book a week. I am keeping track of the numbers of books I read with the posted reviews. A small correction is needed here for not all the books I read are reviewed. Therefore, I’ll add the tag RBNR (Read but not reviewed) under the label “Posts” and illustrate it with a visual of the front page of the book.. Adding both numbers will be a more accurate indication of my reading.

The tag "Study" is likely to become more important. Reviews lead to better “deep – reading” and “deep – reading” leads to interest in literary criticism. To keep track of this I have added a label “study on…” under which I will organize different labels on criticism. 

- addition 13 August 2017

While my reading has not slowed down, the number of posted reviews certainly took a dip the last years. The lower quantity is the result of my efforts to improve the quality of the writing. In a few instances I even got the assistance of editors who helped me to improve my work. A few of my reviews, The Brothers Karamazov, The Magic Mountain, The Double tongue, We and a passage to India were published in 2015 by the Running Girl Press, Portland Oregon. ( ) as part of a collection of reviews : A Fabulous Opera by the Tropic of Ideas. 

I even had the honor to write the introduction.