Thursday, 3 July 2014

Day Zero Project: Record books mentioned in other books & add to To-Read List

This probably sounds like a really bizarre thing to aim to do. It probably requires a bit of an explanation.

Do you ever read a book and see another one mentioned? I don’t mean the list of other books by the same author at the end of the book you’ve just finished reading; I mean the book that’s mentioned in the Acknowledgements, the one that’s quoted in the Preface, the little quotes at the beginning of chapters.

I read a few books, about Tolkien back when I made this list and I couldn’t help but notice the same titles cropping up over and over again when Tolkien’s influences were mentioned. So I started keeping track of them. I added a tab at the back of my Book Journal named ‘To Remember’ and made a note in it whenever there was a mention of a book which I might like to read.

Probably the books which gave me the most mentions were Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath since each chapter begins with a quote from a book. I looked up quite a few of these and added them to a wishlist on Amazon. Some of them were familiar, like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, others are books which are German children’s stories and I struggled to find copies of them available in English.

I’ve not done too badly about reading the books I listed as well. One of the first I listed was Moby Dick which I tackled last year. Man, that was a long book! Two of the first I listed from one of the books about Tolkien were Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, both of which I read last year; the former for my course, the latter because it had earned a mention in my course book and even though it wasn’t being studied.

Other books that I listed and have read since include: The Veiled Detective, The Wind in the Willows, The Lord of The Rings, Treasure Island, Watership Down, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Northern Lights, Mortal Engines and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Several of these were on my required reading list for my Children’s Literature Course and others (like Lord of the Rings) I would’ve been rereading anyway. But it served to put a bunch of books on my radar that I may have overlooked otherwise.

I continued it when I did my course, though not with a specific page in my Book Journal. Every time a book was mentioned, like Alice in Wonderland, I noted it down and made a little bit of effort to read it (if I didn’t have anything else to read). That’s how I came to read The Pilgrim’s Progress.

It’s been interesting, and I’d say it’s been quite worthwhile. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of books that I might not have otherwise considered, but due to their being mentioned by authors I like, or otherwise being linked to authors I like, I discovered that I liked them.

I think it’s something I’ll continue to do one way or another. Even if it does mean that there’s the likelihood of my To Read list growing exponentially every time I crack open another book. It’s likely not so good for my bank balance either, but that’s why they invented libraries!

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