A quick question on the “What I’ve been reading lately” posts


You’ve probably noticed that, in among all the politics and TV reviews and suchlike, I have several long-running intermittent series on the go: detailed Paul Simon album reviews, Desert Island albums, the annual What I’ve Been Listening To posts — and What I’ve Been Reading Lately.


None of those posts get a lot of comments. In particular, the WIBRL posts seem to mostly drop into a void. I wonder whether in part it’s because I tend to talk about ten or so books at once. If I posted shorted WIBRL entries — say, three books each — do you think they would be easier to read and engage with?


14 responses to “A quick question on the “What I’ve been reading lately” posts

  1. Try it.

  2. In my case, I don’t do a lot of reading: much to my chagrin, but my attention span is just too I can’t quite finish this sentence. And I don’t really like Paul Simon much, but I’m aware that I’m on thin ice considering some of my musical tastes.

    I might comment if you wrote about video games, especially RPGs. Obviously by “comment” I mean “argue”.

  3. I frequently pin them for later reference. You’ve definitely piqued my interest in Agatha Christie!

  4. Good to know, Roger.

    Vometia, I just don’t play enough video games to have much to say about them. I did play 350 hours of Skyrim, but I have nothing to compare it with, having played nothing else in the genre. (That said, I do have post about Quake in the works.)

  5. The main problem with Skyrim is that it sounds like a brand of toilet cleaner. I did enjoy it, though I preferred Oblivion, which sounds like a brand of cheap cider.

    I vaguely remember Quake (which sounds like a brand of baked beans) from many years back, though I never really played it much as I seem to recall it’s one of those multiplayer things and I’m the sort of person who even manages to be agoraphobic online.

  6. I think you should keep them as it is. If I haven’t read or listened to something you wrote about, I won’t comment, but I might find your review interesting, sometimes even enough to pick it up myself. Of course, I probably won’t come back to comment afterwards. But having more items in a single review increases the chance of someone having knowledge about it and the chance that they will comment.

  7. Our boys played Oblivion endlessly before Skyrim came out; I never played it myself. (I resisted Skyrim for several years, too, correctly fearing that if I started playing it would eat a good chunk of my life.)

    Quake is primarily a single-player game, like a much better Doom. It does have a multi-player mode, but it’s of no interest to me.

  8. I usually read diagonally through the reading list posts. My reading list is packed even though curated obsessively, so not much opening for me.

    Also, usually the books do not really pique my interest (no offense), albeit I read all of Poirot’s when I was younger and have fond memories of it, but I do not see myself returning to it any time soon.

    On the other hand, I like the music posts very much. I usually listen to all the highlighted track, and usually give the desert highland albums a try. I ended up adopting Fire of Unknown Origins :) I don’t have much I could say in a comment however.

    As for video games, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I won’t even advise you to go with the celebrated titles, because some of them flat out don’t interest me. If you’re open to recommendations, I’d recommend Bastion, which is a short colorful game that is fun to play but still touching. And the Max Payne series is a long-time favourite of mine.

  9. As is. They are my favorite of your posts, and they have given me a lot of ideas for future reads.

  10. I like the “what I’ve been reading” posts, I just rarely have anything to say about them!

  11. Thanks to everyone who’s commented. I think the consensus is that I should pretty much keep them going as I have been, so I posted part 19 just now. (Feel free to comment on it! :-) )

  12. As probably one of the more frequent commenters on your reading posts… I don’t have much to say (and i shouldn’t have much to say) about books I haven’t read.

    I ran into this last night- a Chinese friend of mine is translating Schama’s ‘History of Britain’ and is quite annoyed by it. I also find Schama annoying, but for different reasons, I suspect. At any rate, I can’t tell if my friend’s criticisms are valid or just a matter of being Chinese. I haven’t read the whole book.

    And that’s sort of my point- I don’t have a lot to say about books i haven’t read.

  13. Late to this, but my contribution… Your WIBRL posts are my favourites, and I’ve had hours of reading pleasure as a result. If they were shorter I would get less value from them, as I’m not intereseted in quite a few (the Agatha Christie’s for instance have nothing for me). So my vote is for Status Quo!

  14. Thanks, Chaz, good to know!

    Tagore, there is always one interesting thing to be said about books you’ve not read — that is, comments on books you have read that are in the same category. For example, it’s only a matter of time before I re-re-re-read the Narnia books and write something about those; I’d consider it more than relevant for someone who has not read them but has read His Dark Materials to comment.

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