Yesterday I had a conversation with a fellow Ruster who touched upon a theme which I will explore here and now.
He was given a book by a friend who enthused over it.
The Ruster, who readily admits to being no bibliophile, wondered whether I knew the book in question which I did not.
The point however is what to do in these circumstances as my co-Ruster felt obliged to finish the book though he had less enthusiasm for it than the donor.
People can sometimes give a book, or recommend one, based more upon their own interest in the subject matter than the recipient’s.
This occurs in book clubs and in the book programme A Good Read. Reading is a huge pleasure and taking up time on a book you are not enjoying is a penance.
How then do you source a new book?
One resource is the book review.
Book reviewing is poorly paid and often done by authors less successful than the one they are reviewing.
Some reviewers prefer to display their own knowledge of the subject of the book rather than a consideration of whether it is worth reading. For these reasons I often reject a review.
I am presently reading Resistance by Halik Kochanski. .
I would be hesitant to recommend it as, though it is an admirable work of research into the Resistance movements in France, the Protectorate of Bohemia, Norway and Poland in World War Two, it is indigestible in its detail and runs to some 1,000 pages or 18 hours of reading.
I have only recommended it to one friend who achieved a first in history at Oxford and has visited the Resistance museum in Norway.
My own approach is to download on my Kindle books that I think I will enjoy.
Some I never read and others I start but do not complete.
Before Resistance I read Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan in anticipation of the Netflix series but – for me – it was a bit of a cop-out as the story of a privileged toff politician abusing women does not require too much creativity for a political journalist.