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Introducing: A Most Particular Compendium

January 12, 2012

I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, brought on by fibro brain no doubt, and thus don’t actually have any newly finished books to blog about today (I could tell you about how I gave up on Death Comes to Pemberley after a hundred stilted pages, but that would just depress both of us). :o On the plus side, this leaves me with room to mention a new feature I’m planning. It’s inspired by a bit in The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, in which Jacobs explains that he never likes to answer e-mails asking for a list ‘must read’ or ‘classic’ books. Instead, he enjoys it when someone tells him some of their favourite books and asks for more recommendations. Cue lightbulb lighting up over my head.

Doesn’t that sound like fun?! A little bit like a themed reading list, only the theme is another person’s taste. Of course, the only way I could do this feature is if I had participants interested in sharing some of their favourite reads and getting said recommendations. I should add in disclaimer that, unlike Jacobs, I’m not a lit professor and have no academic background in either literature or library science. I’m a total amateur, and this would just be for fun. But I have read oodles of books over the years, most of them good ones! ;)

Consider this a feeler post, then. If I did start the feature, which I would call A Most Particular Compendium, I’d probably do it once a month. Maybe twice if I was ‘overwhelmed’ by participants (unlikely, let’s admit). Here’s how it would work: you would e-mail me five to ten of your top books of all time, preferably with a brief annotation (think twitter-like brevity) for each title, as well as a short little description of yourself. I would then do a post in which I’d include your mini-biography and annotated favourites, then share my five to ten recommendations (also annotated; everything’s better with annotations). If that sounds like fun, please let me know in either a comment or e-mail! And if you already know you’re interested, feel free to e-mail me your bio/list (astripedarmchairATgmailDOTcom).

P.S.: I recently wrote up a little copyright policy page. Pretty much the sole purpose of said page is to tell anyone interested that

if you feel inspired by any of my blog features/post formats/review directories/etc. (so basically, an idea or blogging approach), definitely reproduce it on your own blog however you like! A credit link the first time you do it is nice, but you certainly don’t need to credit me every time. I take a ‘more the merrier’ approach to blogging stuff like that, so don’t feel you need to e-mail me/leave a comment seeking permission. I would enjoy seeing your interpretation, so feel free to leave me a link to your post. :) The one caveat is that if you want to do a similar series to one on my blog, please choose a different name (i.e., not Assembling My Athenaeum) so that they don’t turn into memes.

So, if you’re a fellow book blogger and you love the idea of doing this on your own blog, go for it! And be warned…if you do start a feature like this, I’ll probably be e-mailing you for recommendations. :D

48 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2012 6:10 am

    That does sound like fun! Hearing about people’s favourite books and book recommendations are both great things. Looking forward to the feature!

  2. January 12, 2012 7:58 am

    I think this is a great idea. I’d participate but right now am doing CB James’ TBR challenge, so no new books (they have to be on my shelf already).

  3. January 12, 2012 8:30 am

    I finished Death Comes to Pemberly, because I preordered and paid full price for the Kindle version. Can’t waste that kind of money! But I don’t blame you one bit for not finishing.

  4. January 12, 2012 8:57 am

    I think this is a brilliant idea. I’m all for the exchange of book thoughts and reading suggestions.

  5. January 12, 2012 9:03 am

    I love this idea! As for Death Comes to Pemberley, I’m impressed you stuck with it through 100 pages – I couldn’t make it that far, abandoning all hope after the first 50 or 60 pages.

  6. January 12, 2012 10:51 am

    Oh fun! I’d do that. And I think I’ve maybe decided to never read another Austen sequel again. I was surprised to see that James had jumped on an already overloaded wagon.

  7. January 12, 2012 10:53 am

    Ooh, fun! I love this idea. I would definitely want to participate if you got that feature going!

  8. January 12, 2012 11:19 am

    This does sound like a fun idea and I would be interested in participating. Choosing the top five of all time is quite a challenge though.

  9. January 12, 2012 12:09 pm

    This sounds fun Eva! I’d definitely participate :)

  10. January 12, 2012 12:15 pm

    It’s a really cool idea! I am very curious about what you would recommend to me because from the visits at your blog I’ve gathered that you have a wonderful, inspiring, diverse taste in books although your favs and non-favs (books you liked less or not at all) hardly overlap with my own… So you should definitely expect an e-mail from me soon ;)

  11. January 12, 2012 1:00 pm

    What a great idea, Eva. Especially since you seek out books that aren’t being pushed as hard by the mainstream publishing industry; I bet you’ll be able to point people toward some good choices they hadn’t heard of previously. Looking forward to it! :-)

  12. January 12, 2012 2:21 pm

    That sounds fun! Count me in as a participant, if you’d like :) As a neuroscience freak I definitely trust that you would come up with some great recommendations!

  13. January 12, 2012 2:58 pm

    This sounds like a really fun idea! I’m looking forward to following along.

  14. January 12, 2012 3:39 pm

    Just adding my voice to say that this is a wonderful idea for a feature! I look forward to seeing your recommends for people :)

  15. January 12, 2012 3:44 pm

    This sounds like a fantastic idea! I’m definitely interested in doing a bio/list, and I can’t wait to see what other people send you–or what you recommend to them. :)

  16. January 12, 2012 4:12 pm

    Eva, I think this is pure brilliance!

  17. January 12, 2012 4:16 pm

    That’s a wonderful idea! It will be very interesting to see what kind of lists you come up with!

  18. January 12, 2012 4:35 pm

    Love this idea! Maybe I’ll email a list to you sometime in the future–first I’d have to sit down and really narrow my favorites down. I’ll be looking forward to seeing the first recommendations post in this feature!

  19. January 12, 2012 4:36 pm

    Sounds good! I haven’t a clue what I’d list, but I’ll have a go regardless!

  20. Jillian ♣ permalink
    January 13, 2012 3:03 am

    I think this is an excellent idea! :D

  21. January 13, 2012 3:17 am

    Brilliant, brilliant idea. I was on the verge of emailing you immediately. But then I remembered about my 2012 resolution to read determinedly from my TBR and realised I should hold back until I can act on your recommendations! I soothed my disappointment by thinking that based on my favorite reading – long, historical, medieval – you might have recommended me The Long Ships, which I can read this year, as I already bought it on your recommendation last year. :-)

  22. January 13, 2012 4:26 am

    Always good to hear what other people think – admittedly, mostly so that I can judge them, but it’s still good ;)

  23. January 13, 2012 4:45 am

    Absolutely, I’m narrowing down as I type, might take me a while though.

  24. January 13, 2012 5:16 am

    great idea Eva ,all the best stu

  25. January 13, 2012 7:58 am

    This sounds absolutely lovely. Your own little “Dear Eva” practice :) I would love to participate. I’ll draft the email this weekend :)

  26. January 13, 2012 8:13 am

    Such a great idea and I want to do this! Begins thinking.

  27. January 13, 2012 11:31 am

    This is such a great idea, and one day I’ll definitely join in – some big deadlines coming up in the first half of this year but once they’re out otf the way, I will defintiely head to you for some recommendations. In the meantime, I will enjoy reading others’ choice lists and your selections for them.

  28. January 13, 2012 11:32 am

    I love this idea, too.

  29. January 13, 2012 2:48 pm

    This sounds like so much fun and I’d love to participate… I just don’t know if I could pick my 10 favorite books. I will have to mull this difficult task over and if I manage to limit myself, I will certainly avail myself of your good taste!

  30. January 14, 2012 2:38 pm

    This is a great idea. I think you’re going to be overwhelmed with emails.

  31. January 15, 2012 7:26 am

    Fabulous idea! You did such an INCREDIBLE job recommending me new tele series, I totally give the two thumbs up and a bowl of mac&cheese for this idea. I’ll definitely be e-mailing you within this month and there’s no rush. You get to the rec’s when you get to them. Especially since the universe knows I have tons of books in the house to read.

  32. January 15, 2012 10:39 am

    I’ll be emailing you!

  33. January 15, 2012 12:26 pm

    I LOVE this idea! And you tend to read books I haven’t heard of but sound incredibly interesting (and usually are upon reading them) so this would be super fun for me. I would definitely love to participate.

  34. January 16, 2012 7:50 am

    I would LOVE to participate. I am sure you will be flooded with participants though, so I will patiently wait in line :)

  35. Rhian permalink
    January 17, 2012 3:35 pm

    I love this idea – I will be emailing you (abd joining the line) – just as soon as I have narrowed down my choices, and annotated them (it’s the “brief” bit that will floor me!)

  36. January 18, 2012 12:07 pm

    I’d be interested for sure!

  37. January 18, 2012 1:13 pm

    Well clearly you’re getting all the good feedback in the world :) but I’ll throw mine in, too. Sounds like you’re offering a reader’s advisory service – that’s what librarians call it, if you weren’t aware. You might be interested in Joyce Saricks’s work in using “appeal terms” rather than subject headings in reader’s advisory; I’m a fan of the concept. (Look for her books; as a reader’s advisory librarian I’ve found them really wonderful. I was also lucky enough to take an online class from her.) Please do it!! I think it’s a great concept for a meme, and I look forward to reading your entries. I would also love to take advantage of the service! I’ll get you an email in the next few days. Keep up the good work!

  38. January 19, 2012 7:55 am

    Great idea, Eva! I also really like the badge you created. I look forward to reading the lists you compile. :)

  39. January 19, 2012 9:00 am

    I’d love to participate! This sounds like a wonderful idea.

  40. January 19, 2012 6:03 pm

    Great idea!

  41. January 22, 2012 11:10 am

    I’m extremely late in replying to this post, I know, I’ve just been so incredibly busy. But I wanted to let you know that I love your idea and I would certainly send you my own list and see what recommendations I get!

  42. January 22, 2012 2:35 pm

    I love this idea! I will definitely be participating. I’ll have to come up with a good list :)

  43. January 25, 2012 10:57 am

    This is a wonderful idea, Eva! Looking forward to following this series.

  44. January 25, 2012 11:36 am

    That’s something I would definitely like to do. I’ll start trying to narrow down my list to make it managable. Since you are getting so many of us wanting to be part, you might consider some smaller catagories; best I read last year, best African; best memior; etc.

    Thanks for coming up with this idea.

  45. January 31, 2012 9:51 am

    I definitely think you would be inundated with people wanting to participate :D I’m interested for sure.

  46. February 13, 2012 11:37 am

    If you’re still going ahead with this than I’m interested


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