Girl With A Pearl Earring
By Tracy Chevalier
Please allow me to apologize. You see, I have lured you here to my blog under false pretenses. You have, most likely, come to my blog in search of a review of Tracy Chevalier's charming novel Girl With a Pearl Earring. And while it is most assuredly the most recent novel I have finished, I have very little to say about it that hasn't already been said. It was, after all, a New York Times Bestseller and hardly needs my help as a reviewer. It was a fine novel. I enjoyed it. You might too. Read it. If you only came here for the review, hopefully the above words have satiated your need for literary criticism. I suspect they haven't and therefore the apology. I don't care about this book, but I care about you because I'm hoping you might help me. Please bear with me as I explain.
See, my blog has a certain consistency to it. Every single entry save two (Year in Reviews) have been posts pertaining to the book I have most recently finished. I read one book at a time and blog about it after I finish. Each post title is the name of said book and it is accompanied by an image of the cover of the book and I try to write something witty along the way. I like the consistency. I've been doing this for almost two years now and I've never stopped along the way to introduce myself or explain exactly why my blog is the way it is. It would have ruined the continuity. I don't intend to break that so I've been waiting patiently for a book to come along that prompted minimal feelings for me. I planned to co-opt that book's blogpost and use its space as a way to ask a question to all who visits.
That blogpost just happens to be Girl With A Pearl Earring. Fine book, like I said.
Anyway, enough about all that. I have an agenda today and I need your help. So let me get right to the point:
I'm thinking about changing the name of my blog.
When I first started this blog I was totally unaware that there was an entire world of book bloggers out there. In my blissfully ignorant mind I was a pioneer! I would be the first person to read books and write about them when I finished. I was going to bring literature to the unwashed masses of the Internet. When Blogger asked me to type a name, I did so without much thought and barreled forward toward posting. I had a mission, people, and it did not wait for a witty title! My Life in Books. Good enough.... moving on!
Since then, of course, I have discovered the multitude of wonderful book blogs out there, I realized how entirely inadequate both my blog and my blog name really was. My Life in Books? Atrocious. I aspire to greater creative heights that that! The name simply has to go.
Worse still is that it doesn't reflect what I do here, which is read any and all books that I can get my hands on.
For those unaware, I live in Taiwan. I'm neither Taiwanese nor ethnically Asian. I'm Canadian by birth and identify myself as such, but I live here nonetheless. How that came to be is a decidedly longer and more personal story so it may have to wait for another book that elicits zero feeling in me. I promise, however, that I will write it at some point. Rest assured that it's not important to our task at hand.
Taiwan has very few English bookstores or libraries. Most of the few are relegated to the largest urban centers: Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung. I do not live in any of those cities. I live about as far away from those cities as one can on this island (Hualien if anyone is Google Mapping it). The closest city with an English bookstore is Taipei, three hours north by train or 2.5 hours by car... if the road is open. There are no English bookstores in my town. Imagine that.
There are, however, English speakers in my town, many of which read. So there is a good collection of novels that have trickled down to my town via current and former expat residents as well as books left behind by tourists making the circuit of the island (it pays to befriend the owners of local hostels!). A lot are cheap romance novels, a fair amount of science fiction and way too many Penguin classics. So finding books in my town isn't impossible, but you rarely find exactly what you want.
I do go to Taipei a couple times a year and always buy books. I get shipments of books from my family back home a couple times a year, which is really sweet of them to do and I have a Kindle which means I can get books online. So, if I really want something, I can get it. It will just take more time (this is why I tend to read books that are a bit older than the books most other book bloggers read). I do miss browsing book stacks, though, and I develop fits of jealousy when I see other book bloggers blogging about their trips to bookstores, book shows or libraries and showing off their stacks of new books. I miss that a lot. For those counting, I have seven unread books on my shelf right now. That number will get much smaller before it gets bigger. But don't cry for me or anything. It's not as bad as it sounds. Just different.
I need a new name for this blog!
I would like a blog name to reflect my circumstances but I have not, as of yet, thought one up. This is disconcerting to me because I pride myself on my ability to be creative and yet...
I have been toying with the name Just Reviews to reflect my affinity to posting reviews only (and my attempt to be honest about everything I read), but it's just not capturing me. I thought I'd open up to everyone who visits to see what you think and whether you have a name suggestion. I can't promise I'll use it, but I'll take each and every suggestion seriously.
So, what do you think? Please take the time to offer your comments or suggestions. I'd greatly appreciate it...