On Studying the Objects We Love

Last week, I posted about how reviewing has changed my reading habits. I wonder now, after reading reactions to the post, if this isn't the case for anyone who treads too deeply into the waters of studying the thing they love most. Greg of The New Dork Review of Books commented that he once fancied himself a sports writer, but found that writing about the thing he loved ruined it. Jay of Bookrastination mentioned in an email that working in publishing, and therefore working with and on books, changes the way he views them.

And then I started listening to Steve Martin's latest novel, An Object of Beauty, and stumbled into this little gem: "When Lacey began these computations, her toe crossed ground from which it is difficult to return: she started converting objects of beauty into objects of value." (p. 16)

Unlike Greg's sports writing, I don't find that writing about books has ruined them for me. Blogging and reviewing has only strengthened my position as a bookworm. Just as how I read has changed, my valuation of a book has changed. Not for better or for worse, but it has changed. Where as once I read for pleasure, for education, for distraction, now I read also for writing. Books are objects of value, objects to be studied, analyzed, and discussed. They are objects of decoration (see my article on furnishing my home with bookshelves). They are objects of lust. They are objects of temptation, objects of beauty, objects of wonder. They are, in their own way, objects of value.


Stay tuned for a review of An Object of Beauty this week.


  1. Blogging about books has changed the way that I read-and it is not just the writing about books that has changed me. It is also reading other book blogs, and taking part in the conversation (through comments). But the biggest change has been the conversation that goes on in my head as I read-I am thinking about how I will write the review, even as I read.

  2. More than anything, blogging about books has changed the way I write. It's also exposed me to even more books than I could possibly afford or have heard of without all the friends I've met online!

  3. It's true for me too - writing about what I read and how I read has changed boy how I read and to an extent how I write. It's different from analyzing the substance of novels and stories for university because it's still for pleasure and growth rather than seeking a specific someone's approval. That's an excellent quote - I think writing about what we read enriches the reading experience itself, adding instead of detracting from the value.


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