a fascinating post discussing changes in how she reads since she started blogging. Her post really got me thinking about how, or if, or in what form this blog has changed my own reading habits. Here's what I came up with: This blog hasn't so much changed how I read as it's changed what I read. (We've already been over the fact that the blog has sped up my reading in terms of books-per-year.)
Here's one major example: In my entire 32 years of life before starting this blog, I'd never willingly read one of those interconnected-short-story novels. And the only one I had read — rather unwillingly in college — was Winesburg Ohio. Those types of novels have always been turn-offs for me. Given my preference for longer books — staying with characters and story for hundreds of pages — these tales-told-in-snapshot just weren't appealing.
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders — a National Book Award-nominated collection of interconnected stories about life in Pakistan. Soon after that, I agreed to participate in a blog tour for Colum McCann's Let The Great World Spin, a National Book Award-winning novel of stories about New York. And then, earlier this year, based on about 153 blog-comment recommendations, I read Tom Rachmann's The Imperfectionists, a novel of linked stories about an English-language newspaper in Rome. There's no two ways about it, all three of these novels are phenomenal. I loved 'em!
And now, I'm almost through Jennifer Egan's A Visit From The Good Squad, which I'd avoided, despite the facts that I'd very much enjoyed the three novels-via-linked-short-stories mentioned above, and that it comes highly recommended by The Reading Ape, and that it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and that it just won the Pulitzer.
The lesson here: I'm nothing, if not a stubborn reader. A Visit From the Good Squad is fantastic as well, and so having avoided these types of novels my whole reading life, now I've read four really, really good ones in the past 12 months. Amazing, right? See, it pays to get over your hang-ups and try new things! And it's almost all attributable to conversations via this blog.
And now that I'm over that hang-up, what can you recommend in the way of other great novels told as linked short stories? What are some of your favorites?