Monday, November 1, 2010

One Stack at a Time

So, here's the first post, which I shan't make too long because I want to start reading as soon as possible! Actually, I should grab something to eat, and come back and type this so that I can kill two birds. Yay, I am back, killing those birds, or should I say cows, because I am eating beef. You'll have to forgive me, when I blog, I am a therapeutic rambler. In this blog, at least for now, I am not too concerned with audience, and what audience might require from me, because when it all boils down, the purpose of this blog is to get me to expand my library, and is not a desperate plea for you to notice me (as I find many blogs are such attempts) or an act of placing myself (or my books) on a pedestal as an all important being.

Before I explain what "The Stack" is (not to be confused with that insanely popular religious book, "The Shack") I do find that many people label people into categories when it comes to reading and writing, many of which I find distressing and I want to address those issues now before I start on my little project. As a university student (almost done, thank the gods) I am surrounded by many developing and somewhat pompous attitudes coming from the need to distinguish identities through "intellectual" ideas. Those pompous (and thus distressing) ideas include (in no particular order):

  • If you don't read, you are stupid, or at least more stupid than those who read AND/OR
  • Reading books makes you MORE intelligent.
  • The more books you own (OWNING is the important key word here) the more intelligent you must be
  • You are better than people if you can read faster than them
  • Reading on the internet or on a electronic device (such as the kindle etc.) is uncool!
Okay, well maybe that can all be simplified down to the fact that some people have very romanticized ideas about what a "reader" is, and what it means if you aren't a "reader". The truth of it is, that I am not interested in labeling anyone as intelligent based on what they do or do not read. I do say "what they DO read" because there are stigmas within the reading community (those who read for pleasure) that I am not fond of either. I have often heard "oh so and so reads ROMANCE ew, they suck" or "people who only read best sellers aren't 'true' readers" etc. Again, I pewpew these stigmas. A reader is someone who reads.

That being said lets delve into my personal project! I read somewhere that one should always be expanding their library in order to be a better writer, and to also read from many different genres in order to better their skills. I am a wannabe writer, meaning that I feel the need to write something in my lifetime, and not just a short story or an article, *although that's also cool for those who just want to write those* but for me, my life goal is to write at least ONE novel. I am not interested (completely) in having that novel be published and gaining fame, but just to start and finish a complete novel. Many factors have attributed to the procrastination of my goal, but I hope that this personal project will help me to move forward, which is why I now bring to the table my idea.

I propose that making "stacks" of literature will keep me on task to expand my library and this further my knowledge and skill in writing. I will be routinely making stack lists, books that I will have to read and complete in order to move on to the next stack. I will then, hopefully, make small book reviews to help digest the information that I have sponged up.

The Stack List (preferably books that I have not read)
  1. One book from my favourite author(s)
  2. One book from my genre of writing or my favourite genre.
  3. One book in a genre that I don't normally read
  4. One biography
  5. One book regarding the process of writing (including grammar etc)
  6. One required school reading (I have to put this in because otherwise I will become sidetracked)
  7. One book of non-fiction
  8. One graphic novel
That being said, I must finish all of my stack before moving on to the next stack. Oftentimes I find myself wanting to read eight fantasy books in a row, or thirteen graphic novels. In order for me to expand, I need to reach outside my comfort zone a little and read what I don't normally read. The only deviation I am allowed to make is if I need to read another book for school, and if this is the case I can try to place it in another category in my stack (for example, if it's a work of non-fiction it will count as the non-fiction book for that stack) because I cannot neglect my school readings as I am an English major (i know, it's sad in this day and age to have an English degree but that is another whole can of leeches) and I think that failing school due to my personal project would be extremely lame.

So that's it. One stack at a time, one book at time, and I can choose the order of books as long as I get them all done before the next stack. I have the first stack all picked out and I have already started reading it. I will make a new blog post for my new stack so that this first post is separate.

Feel free to suggest or comment on what you have read here. Argue my points if you wish. I don't mind. I have heard much criticism on how I live my life thus far including "yah, when are you going to finish that NOVEL you're writing JANIE?" (said in sarcastic tone) or "books are dead, you suck" etc etc. I don't care, that's not going to stop me from wanting to write, and read to expand my knowledge.

- Janie

PS. I should also say because you may be shocked at the books that I have NOT read that I am a late bloomer when it comes to reading. I was a TV freak when I was a kid and rarely picked up a book unless I was being punished and banned from the television. I enjoyed my mother reading to me, but never read for personal pleasure until I was about 20, so there are STILL a lot of books out there that I have not read, which is why it is IMPERATIVE for me to be constantly expanding my library because I am much further behind than the average reader who enjoyed silent reading time in school and read books at recess. I wrote a lot, but never read, and you can tell! My stories as a child were very "tv" like. Very surface and predictable.

PPS. I am also a slow reader! Be patient with me as I go through my stacks. I am slow because I enjoy the process and I mentally side track a lot to random thoughts, which makes it difficult for me to pound through a book. (this is why I especially hate it when people who are fast readers think they are better than slow readers...I will fight you!)


  1. Slow readers are the best readers! Reading slow allows you to savour the language and really sink into the story. That being said, I'm a slow reader and really can't speak for the experience of a fast reader. Anyway, I think this is a great idea and I look forward to your reviews!

  2. Thanks Naomi. I am not sure if this is the Naomi that I know personally, regardless, thanks for following my blog!